ONE: THOU Magnus
There is a deep tradition of heavy, slow, dirty music that has originated from Louisiana. From the legendary sludge acts, like EyeHateGod and Crowbar, to heavy rockers Down and all the way to more holistic approaches of Acid Bath, the scene has a distinct sound that makes it so enticing. Thou come from Baton Rouge and through their releases they have become part of this lineage, offering some crushingly heavy music. Starting of in 2005 the band begun to produce its own brew of drone/doom/sludge music, filled with overwhelming distortion and slow, processional pacing. The turnaround at first was impressive with Thou releasing three albums, Tyrant, Peasant and Summit between 2007 and 2010. But, since then the band has taken a parser approach to their full-length records, something that has allowed them to more fully explore their music. The result of that process was the excellent Heathen, released in 2014, revealing an exploratory side of Thou and producing a truly complete offering. Four years later, the band follows the same path and launches its Sacred Bones debut, Magus.
TWO: ABSTRACTER Cinereous Incarnate
Oakland, California’s Abstracter return with their 3rd full length album, Cinereous Incarnate on 8th June. This latest offering further refines the band’s blackened crusty doom approach to new levels.
There were some mammoth, gargantuan tracks that made up their previous two albums Tomb of Feathers (2012) and Wound Empire (2015). Cinereous Incarnate is bolstered by two, shorter instrumental tracks, whilst maintaining the band’s established theme of monster song lengths.
THREE: CULT OF OCCULT Anti Life
Cult of Occult’s guitarist makes his instrument sound like a haunted ghost. The prologue to a pulsating riff that throws off a physical feeling of poignancy and despair to the listener leaves me speechless. The sound of the guitar twisting the feelings inside me to unbearable extremes, and the vocals reach incinerating rage that add an extra dimension to the music. The reverberating bass notes in collaboration with the prolonged screams of hate and the deep ritualistic drums pounding make the music earth-shakingly heavy.
FOUR: MOLOCH a bad place
Unholy triple DOWN TUNED fuck!
FIVE: FISTER No spirit within
Fister’s last full length release featured one torturous track that spread itself like the bubonic plague across 45 minutes. Bell Witch did something similar last year, of course, although the latter’s even longer Mirror Reaperdid have shades of white cushioned alongside the black. With Fister there is no white, just occasional spots of pebble-dashed grey. No Spirit Within is their fourth full length although the St Louis trio have been releasing a fairly constant stream of distorted doom since forming about a decade ago. This includes an assortment of split releases alongside like-minded destructors including Chrch and Dopethrone.
SIX: LEECHFEAST Neon Crosses
Without a doubt, the new LEECHFEAST record Neon Crosses is going to be on our Top 10 Sludge list for 2018. After you hear this beautiful beast in full, you will know exactly why! This band is at the top of their songwriting game – they have grown so much over the years, it’s totally blowing my mind. Neon Crosses is a record that die-hard sludge lovers will go bonkers for, but humans that don’t even dig this genre will also like this collection of songs.
SEVEN: DOPETHRONE TRANSCANADIAN ANGER
The threesome has been breaking shit and setting it on fire since 2009, with Demonsmoke, then a hiatus till Dark Foil in 2011, III in 2012, then a further 3 years for them to release 2015’s Hochelaga. Their latest effort is album number five. It’s called Transcanadian Anger, and it’s the best Dopethrone album to date. As a matter of fact – it’s one of the raddest releases of the year so far.
EIGHT: BRAINOIL Singularity to Extinction
This is it: the best sludge metal album you’ll hear all year. Singularity to Extinction is Brainoil‘s first album since 2011, following a rarities comp that same year and a split with Dropdead in 2014. The Oakland-based trio aren’t afraid to change up their tempos, varying from the more upbeat “Preface to Madness” to the miserable, crawling “Blank Static Void.”
Words via Decibel Magazine
NINE: FORN Rites of Despair
Rites of Despair starts with what is essentially an introductory track, though it is essential to creating the mood of the album going forward. A female voice gives throat to beautiful, yet agonizing sounds, as the ambient music builds beneath her. 涂地, as the track is titled, shares little musical similarity with the rest of the album, though it is an absolutely necessary harbinger of the emotions which will unfurl through the remainder of the hour plus album. Without wasting a moment, Fórn take every necessary second to create a mood made heavy by both what is played and what isn’t. As is suggested in the fictional paragraph above, Fórn, for me, started off slow, but have they ever hit their stride!
Words via Mosh Pit Nation
TEN: Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean I Carry My Awareness of Defeat like a Banner of Victory
Drag me down into the filth Drag me down into the unknown Drag me down into a beautiful world that I have never seen before. Why is my brain feeling so Heavy right now? It’s because I am listening to what I think will be one of the sickest Sludge LP released this year called “I Carry My Awareness of Defeat like a Banner of Victory” by the young band Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean.
ELEVEN: BODY VOID I Live Inside A Burning House
I feel haunted right now by the ghosts of my ancestors who died at the hands of White Slave Masters. I also feel haunted by the ghosts of my brothers and sisters that have died at the hands of the police, and I want it to end!!! Right now, the new BODY VOID song “Haunted” is the soundtrack to the anger and disdain I have inside for the Cops of Amerikkka.
TWELVE: YARROW REBIRTH
Slow moving beautiful morbid doom covered in sickness. I can not get enough of this band! All I want to do when I hear them is get high as FUCK and tune out. Burning Witch and Graves at Sea got together and created a HATE child which goes by the name YARROW!
THIRTEEN: ORYX Stolen Absolution
The two-piece metal group is a risky venture: for every stellar example that incorporates multiple registers, tones, and intimate dynamics (Bell Witch, NEST, Obsidian Tongue) there are a dozen that do not sound like anything except an inept demo tape (which I politely won’t call out here). Thankfully Oryx, the Colorado by way of Santa Fe two-piece, fall solidly into the former group: a balanced collaboration that sounds like a symphony of savagery. While “Stolen Absolution” is a sophomore release, this marks their first album as a two-piece – a sort of second debut, more distinct, assured, and unique than their prior effort,
Words via The Sludgelord