Label: DRY COUGH Records
What is there really left to say when you’re confronted with an EP cover depicting a hideous montage of misery complete with a fire-breathing penis? If the artwork is anything to go by, Open Tomb‘s utter rejection of all things subtle and tasteful actually bodes well for the music (I’m looking at you, Iron Monkey), as all truly good sludge tends to embrace nastiness like a dog rolling in an unidentifiable entity’s excrement.
Forty minutes of aural desolation can be tough to endure; the poison slowly working its way through your system and shutting it down one drawn-out second at a time. These New Zealanders are particularly miserable bastards, and with the creation of Dead Weight they appear to enjoy every moment of pain inflicted upon the unwary listener.
The atmosphere is decidedly unclean – a slow poison prominent in the air, eating away at the very sun until it is cancelled out entirely. Yet it’s that very sun that weighs heavy in my mind as ‘Blood And Flies’ spews out its ungodly din; that blistering, arrogant celestial flame, stubbornly eternal and languishing in the self-inflicted suffering of hangover hell, gloriously intensifying all of my least favourite sensations. As a woman weeps against the hellish backdrop it is delight I feel, rather than sympathy, for the wretchedness that flows from her ill-fated lungs. Like a lucid nightmare experienced through daylight somnambulism, all senses become muddy; intensified yet fusing together in a wave of irrepressible anxiety.
‘Scraping Shit (From Beneath My Nails)’ concludes with twenty further minutes of foulness, completing an EP that contains less BPM than the hearts of the corpses in which it bathes. The angelic choir that rises out of the doomy murk is darkly disturbing against a backdrop of slothful decrepitude, and upon the second spin I’m expecting the choir, eagerly awaiting it even; the feeling of utmost horror becoming almost overwhelming in its substance.
As with all good sludge, this is misery incarnate. Open Tomb make the kind of music that will take a week to wash out, and seven consecutive days and nights of Europop on tap wouldn’t be enough to purge the filth from your soul. Dead Weight is a festering mass of funeral sludge that will have you both grieving and rejoicing in its insidious indulgence. Embrace the misery, laugh back at the sun, and grab another bottle.