Saturday, 24 June 2017


By: Charlie Butler

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/06/2017
Label: Riot Season

This is the kind of garage rock where the car is still parked inside with the engine running, warping the bands minds with fumes.   Laredo” is an awesome offering from USA/MEXICO, a perfect blend of dumb headbanging heaviness and tripped-out weirdness.

Laredo” DD//LP track listing:

1). Possum Trot
2). Laredo
3). Yard Of The Month
4). Windsor Park Hardcore
5). Dumber Rock Riff
6). L.A.
7). Bullets For Pussy

The Review:

Sometimes it’s a beautiful thing when a record is exactly the sum of its parts. USA/MEXICO’s debut LP “Laredo” delivers precisely the kind of glorious sonic muck one would expect from a trio featuring members of Todd, Shit and Shine and Butthole Surfers.

Possum Trot” sets the tone for a queasy ride into a nightmarish noise rock world, with the emphasis firmly on the noise. Punishing knuckle-dragging riffs pummel the listener into submission while unhinged robotic vocals and shrieking feedback heighten the air of unease. Imagine Part Chimp jamming with the robots from the Smash adverts and you have a good idea of the addictive insanity on offer here. The band hone this approach to perfection on “Yard Of The Month” and “Dumber Rock Riff” while the title track and “Bullets For Pussy” see the Shit and Shine influence come to the fore yielding maximum impact from relentless repetition.

USA/MEXICO deliver their own distinct brand of grindcore on the brief chaotic terror of Windsor Park Hardcore” while “L.A” offers a vague nod to more melodic territory. Thankfully it’s only a minor concession though in the form of some lead guitar that lends the track a dirty Stooges feel. This is the kind of garage rock where the car is still parked inside with the engine running, warping the bands minds with fumes.

Laredo is an awesome offering from USA/MEXICO, a perfect blend of dumb headbanging heaviness and tripped-out weirdness.

Laredo is available here

Band info: facebook

Friday, 23 June 2017

6 NEW BANDS: Nikos Mixas' 666 Pack Review June 2017

The 666 Pack Review


It’s the June edition of THE SLUDGELORD’s 666 Pack Review!  Metal festivals are kicking off all over the globe and what better way to celebrate? By listening to…well, you guessed it, more metal!!!  If you’re new to this, each and every month we handpick 6 review submissions and critique them by only using 6 words, then we rate them on a scale from 1 to 666!  Check out our awesome rating scale below: 

1 – Hey, at least you guys are more credible than Five Finger Death Punch at the moment...
2 – Now that it’s summer, at least your friends will have less of an excuse for not checking out your band.
3THE SLUDGELORD made it through the whole song!  Congrats!
4 – You’re good enough to secure a spot right before the touring headliners. 
5 – Not many things are better than going to the beach or having ice cream on a hot summer’s day, but             your band just made that list. 
666THE SLUDGELORD thinks your band is so hot; we’re referring to you to Satan himself to keep those temps up in hell!   

Some of the best metal festivals are kicking off this month and it seems like everyone is on tour.  Summer is also prime time to record and submit your demos and THE SLUDGELORD is awaiting them.  THE SLUDGELORD is a picky listener…and doesn’t care what you think of his opinions….


Dwoom  - “Pale Mare Demo MMXVII” (Sundsvall, Sweden)    Rating: 666

Modern day Candlemass worship, doom on!


Former Worlds - “Photos of Eve IX-XVI” (Minneapolis, USA)   Rating: 4

Epic, spacey and grim with nightmares.


Sarattma - “Inner Spaces” (Philadelphia, USA)   Rating: 5

Hints of Mastodon, Meshuggah and calculus…

Monoceros - “Space Dungeon” (Canberra, Australia)   Rating: 3

For fans of Sleep and boredom.

Weird Tales - “Weird Tales” (Warsaw, Poland)   Rating: 2

The Polish do black metal better.

Dead Level“Dead Level” (Belem, Para, Brazil)   Rating: 2

Studied the book of Iommi riffing.

Band info: Dwoom || Former Worlds || Weird Tales

Thursday, 22 June 2017

11 IS ONE LOUDER: Illinois stoner doom trio Earth Witch discuss their Top 5 stoner doom albums

A stoner/doom trio from Illinois is how Earth Witch are described and it is very accurate! Their debut album “Out of the Shallow” is most definitely for fans of SleepHigh on Fire and The Sword.  There are massive riffs on offer and the tracks have quite a range to them, too. You get mellow and bluesy swaggering muscular grooves and psychedelic Sabbath goodness elsewhere.

Simply put Earth Witch have delivered one of the albums of the year, every track is a winner. Every riff is massive. The production is raw and warm. Everything sounds big. Everything sounds heavy and for that Earth Witch need to be applauded for delivering a fantastic and heavy record and today it is our great pleasure to welcome the band to talk us through their top 5 stoner doom albums, as we take our weekly trip into the extreme and turn the volume all the way up to 11.  Why do we go to 11,  because its one louder

Kyuss - "Welcome to Sky Valley"

Kyuss really started to come into their own on "Welcome to Sky Valley", their third full length and first with member changes and being on a major label. I mean, "Blues for the Red Sun" is equally killer, but "Welcome..." encompasses all of the best song writing elements the desert rockers had been honing in on. While Queens of the Stone Age emerged out of its ashes (and was actually my introduction to the band), they never really could get back that "desert rock" vibe that still puts Kyuss at the top of the fuzzed out stoner rock genre. I love driving across the literal desert and jamming this on tour, specifically "100 degrees" - a short n' sweet banger. Has that loner rebel feel to it, while still most definitely makes you want to head bang right into the van's dashboard. Might be why so many bands try to copy their sound to this day. I reach for this record before QOTSA, Fu Manchu, Hermano, or any of the other killer projects that have come after. This one hits the spot every damn time. - Nathan

The Sword - "Age of Winters"

"Age of Winters" is one of the few albums we as a band can all agree on as an essential influence. Super catchy and always driving 70's inspired heavy rock. I don't think I need to go into great detail on this one as everyone with a slight interest in the genre has probably spun it multiple times over. What I personally dig most about this record is not just the amount of rad tempo changes, but how syncopated the drums and guitars are throughout. Gives it such a huge, yet overall tight sound. -

Sleep  - “Holy Mountain” 

Is it a little too on the nose for us to put a Sleep record on this list? We don’t give a shit; everyone cites Sleep because they are the masters of the genre! The rhythms and grooves throughout “Holy Mountain” influenced our style heavily, and Matt Pike and Al Cisneros’ guitar and bass tones were a good point of reference for Ivan and I when we were figuring out our sound. Wave after wave of riffs pummel your brain, yet the overall cohesiveness and flow of the album keeps you interested throughout. Cisneros’s work on the album personally influenced my playing style for Earth Witch, as he adds these crazy bass fills in most the songs that are certainly noticeable, yet not too overbearing where it distracts the listener from the rest of the song. It’s also rad that a three-piece band like Sleep can sound as full as they do, which is another thing we strive to do with our music. The mix of driving rock and heavy doom on the album is a formula Sleep perfected, influencing us and a slew of other bands over the last 20+ years. - Derrin

Danava - "Hemisphere of Shadows"

Our drummer has long been involved in running his own independent label and distributing a variety of tape and vinyl releases. During a period where he was operating his own store front in Illinois he had become quite the authority in turning us all on to the best records and one such day he suggested “Hemisphere of Shadows” by Danava and I promptly purchased it. I got home to give it a listen and could not believe the amount of riffs this band could cram into their songs. Their guitar sound was really unique compared to most heavy bands sporting tones with crushing amounts of distortion and gain, Danava had a more classic slightly driven crunchy tone and derived more of their heavy qualities from the precision and intricacy of their riffs. The record was definitely inspiring to Earth Witch as we moved from our early primarily doom focused sound to a more intricate riff laden heavy rock. The record also set some aspirations for how I wanted to approach recoding. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “I Am The Skull” which has an awesome break where they shift into this sweet keyboard solo. Ever since I heard that track I had to write a song with a keyboard solo, even if it was just for the studio recording I had to do something cool like that. -Ivan

Harvey Milk - “A Small Turn of Human Kindness"

Individually the members of our band sport quite an eclectic range of musical tastes from bands like Converge to Captain Beefheart or Christian Death to Husker Du. I recall about six years ago I was on a kick of listening to exclusively weird avant garde and noise rock type music. Nothing but Naked City, Captain Beefheart, US Maple and Ruins (Japan). I remember I was hanging out with my friend Greg listening to music and he threw on this band Harvey Milk and recall being completely blown away by how heavy and diverse their sound was. Dynamic shifts in volume and mood presented this wholly unique form of heavy music that was as bludgeoning as it was vulnerable. I became a huge fan of the group and they kind of provided a gateway into reinvigorating my interest in heavy music. “A Small Turn of Human Kindnes”s is one of their best albums. It encapsulates the pure raw qualities of the group. Creston Spier’s howling vocals has never been more heart wrenching than on tracks like “I Did Not Call Out”. The spacious quality of the drum sound as demonstrated in the opening of “I Alone Got UP and Left” cultivates such an empty feeling in the pit of your stomach. Few other albums showcase so well the power of sonic and emotional force a three piece band can produce. -Ivan

Earth Witch’s latest record “Out of the Shallow” is available here

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

TRACK PREMIERE: Florida sludge metallers Ether turn up the volume on "No Gods, All Masters"

Florida sludge metal band Ether returns with their sophomore album, “There is Nothing Left For Me Here”. The album hones in on their NOLA sludge influences and reverb soaked sombre melodies. The record was written amidst the separation and divorce process of a member, which steadies the mood of the record toward complete and utter abandonment. Lyrically, the album touches on the personal but focuses on current socio-political affairs, the whitewashing of historically tragic events, western programming, capitalism, and other tenets of denigration of the human condition. The record is as emotive as it is crushing, combining haunting melodies with Sabbath-esque riffs, to present something truly cathartic. Ether maintains a DIY punk ethic, releasing their own records and booking their own tours, from which members learned in their time in the hardcore scene.

“There is Nothing Left For Me Here” 
will be released on July 7th 2017 on CD, cassette, vinyl and digital formats and you can stream a brand new track “No Gods, All Masters” below

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

REVIEW: Schammasch - “The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” (EP)

By: Conor O’Dea

Album Type: EP
Date Released: 09/06/2017
Label: Prosthetic Records

Schammasch have created something remarkable with this most recent artistic expression, sophisticated, complex and yet somehow, eminently accessible.  Get lost. It is worth your time to find a way out.

“The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). “Prologue”
2). “The Weighty Burden Of An Eternal Secret”
3). “Along The Road That Leads To Bedlam”
4). “These Tresses Are Sacred”
5). “May His Illusion Last Until Dawn’s Awakening”
6). “Chimerical Hope”
7). “Do Not Open Your Eyes”

The Review:

"May it please heaven that the reader, emboldened and having for the time being become as fierce as what he is reading, should, without being led astray, find his rugged and treacherous way across the desolate swamps of these sombre and poison-filled pages; for, unless he brings to his reading a rigorous logic and a tautness of mind equal at least to his wariness, the deadly emanations of this book will dissolve his soul as water does sugar. It is not right that everyone should savour this bitter fruit with impunity. Consequently, shrinking soul, turn on your heels and go back before penetrating further into such uncharted, perilous wastelands." Comte de LautrĂ©amont, Les Chants de Maldoror”

There can be only deep silence after the invocation of the triune. It is time to pause. An initiate, waiting, in the shadows, barely breathes, as the adept brings one deeply important ritual to a close. You know where you were left, but are unclear where the way could possibly open again. Ab initio, ab vacuo, a ritual begins, revitalized, innovative, and redacted: but only in the paths it wanders, not in the powers it invokes. Thunder, perfect mind.

Schammasch have created something remarkable with this most recent artistic expression, something that draws deeply and effectively on both the painterly and writerly roots of its inspiration. It is sophisticated, complex and yet it, somehow, it is eminently accessible. It is a sort of roman-de-clef, but it does not seek to intimidate, browbeat or baffle the listener with fabricated dissonance or obfuscatory elitism. It invites the listener to enter its mysteries and get profoundly lost within them. Schammasch here effectively create auditory and lyrical topographies that bend the common conventions of compositional and narrative structure in surreal ways. I am using surreal here in the sense of Magritte and Dali, both of whom illustrated Lautreamont's “The Lay of Maldoror”; it is a bending of reality, a reconfiguration of the real through symbolic interpolation. The six songs following the prologue mirror the Canto division of Lautreamont's poetic novel, a glimpse into the fin-de-siecle madness that performed this superlative Dada-like twist on both the” Divine Comedy” and “Paradise Lost”.

“May His Illusion Last until Dawn's Awakening” and “Chimerical Hope” are perhaps the most immediately 'moving' of these tracks, but as with all things Schammasch, this album should be taken as a whole: in contemplation, in mindful inebriety. Get lost. It is worth your time to find a way out.

"I am the silence that is incomprehensible and the idea whose remembrance is frequent.
I am the voice whose sound is manifold and the word whose appearance is multiple.
I am the utterance of my name"
The Thunder, Perfect Mind

“The Maldoror Chants: Hermaphrodite” is available here

FFO: Behemoth, Secrets of the Moon, Deathspell Omega, Triptykon

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

ALBUM REVIEW: Elder - "Reflections of a Floating World"

By: David Jupp

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 02/06/2017
Label: Stickman Records |
Armageddon Shop

‘Reflections of a Floating World’ is both a glance back and a stride forward. The direct nature of some of the riffs and the weight of their execution sit it comfortably between ‘Spires Burn/Release’ and ‘Lore.’ The expansion of ambition and variety in musical approach however, keep Elder’s eyes firmly fixed on the horizon


“Reflections of a Floating World” CD//CS//DD//LP track listing:

1. Sanctuary
2. The Falling Veil
3. Staving Off Truth
4. Blind
5. Sonntag
6. Thousand Hands

The Review:

The release of a new record from one of your favourite bands can be a bittersweet affair. The journey home from the record shop is one of both trepidation and anticipation. ‘Oh God, what if it’s shit? But hang on, what if it’s better – surely it can’t be better?’ Not that a record should only be framed in the context of its predecessors but with an LP as good as ‘Lore’ the possibility of something superior incurs such fantasies with ease.
When it comes to
Elder and their fourth long-player ‘Reflections of a Floating World’ the answer to these questions is a simple yet complex one. Is it shit? Absolutely not! Is it better than ‘Lore’? Now that requires some discussion...
Having followed
Elder from their outstanding coming-of-age effort ‘Dead Roots Stirring’ (2011), through follow-up EP ‘Spires Burn/Release’ (2012) and then on to 2015’s list-topping masterpiece ‘Lore,’ Elder’s ascension to the peak of the heavy underground is completely justified. They are a band I have watched progress and grow over the last six years and their post-debut trilogy of records would all fight for a place in my desert-island record bag.
Reflections of a Floating World’ sees an expansion to the formula that has served them so well. Having pushed about as far as a power-trio can on ‘Lore,’ the addition of second guitarist/keyboard player Mike Risberg is an exciting one. Not only can Nick DiSalvo ditch the loop pedal hopscotch but for a band built on the interweaving of melody, a second thread in the loom can only be a good thing.
Album four sets flight with ‘Sanctuary,’ a cut that has been around since the early touring for ‘Lore.’ Its proximity in creation to the last record can be felt in both melody and structure and it serves as a superb ‘previously on
Elder’ recap. Thankfully the constituent parts that make Elder such an exciting prospect are all still here; Gargantuan riffs, emotive melodic leads and stop-start atmospheric interludes.  More importantly, just as on ‘Lore’ the band's ability to whittle, refine and expand these parts is too. The opening down tuned notes of ‘Sanctuary’ gives a huge nod to fan-favourite ‘Gemini’ and within seconds the trademark time-signature origami is deployed.
For a band that revels in songs that outlast ten minutes, an ability to carve act and movement into each journey is vital. As ‘Sanctuary’ approaches the halfway mark and climbs to its apex,
Elder deliver one of the best melodic runs they have ever written. But before you can grasp hold, and with typical poise, they abandon it for a quieter interlude that folds in on itself for over five minutes, eventually erupting into an explosion of everything that makes Elder great.
Similarly to
Russian Circles, Elder have mastered the art of holding a riff to the light for just enough time to take it in, before whipping it away and replacing it with something different. Whilst early listens of the record can prove frustrating as you try and grasp each pattern, subsequent listens bring you ever closer to the familiarity that opens up the narrative.
Track two ‘The Falling Veil’ is an intricate exercise in this very process and across its eleven-minute zoetrope of ideas not once is the groove and binding thread lost. DiSalvo scatters riffs into view with his traditional dexterity but before they can land the wheel is spun and new ideas click into place. Jack Donavon’s bass and Matt Couto’s drums supply a base to this kaleidoscope, one that also twists and turns against the flow, always keeping things interesting.
Staving off Truth’ is up next and follows a similar blueprint. DiSalvo’s vocals take a more prominent role this time delivering a decent vocal melody. The riffs however are not quite up to the standard of previous tracks and the song hints at a large payoff that never quite emerges.
Blind’ sees the first glimpse of the expansion in sound a fourth member offers. Distorted drums and tremolo guitar flicker in the distance before a vintage
Elder riff slams into earshot. A galloped tee-up follows before falling away into an organ backed vocal refrain. DiSalvo’s vocal suits this treatment and as the pulsing keys dissolve, a bludgeoning half time riff pierces the swell. The band’s ability to fuse ideas together with arpeggio enables them to shape a collection of moments into a cohesive whole. It is perhaps this glue that was absent on ‘Staving off Truth.’ 
Similarly to ‘Sanctuary’ the halfway mark provides an exceptional guitar-lead zenith. The production on ‘Reflections of a Floating World’ follows on from ‘Lore’ but the variety of tones has been expanded, and here a more traditional stoner-fuzz punctures the storm. ‘Blind’ consists of a truly impressive array of ideas that fly by with surprising cohesion. The production allows each musician room to breathe in the mix and the last two minutes are all Donavan’s. His overdriven bass tows the song home under a typically intricate run of melody.
Sonntag’ follows next and delivers the album’s only misfire. Whilst relatively short in the context of the record, eight minutes is far too long to dedicate to an instrumental that doesn’t really go anywhere. It is perhaps an idea that was fun to play and meant to serve as a palette cleanser for the album closer to come. Sadly, for me it unnecessarily saps the momentum from the record and becomes
Elder’s first notable mistake.
Luckily the record finishes on a high. The audacious riff-Tetris returns and just as on ‘Lore,’ subtle strings are deployed to add another touch of epic to an already strong album. As the song rages to a close, the now staple guitar melodies flash and crack in the squall and the record comes to an outstanding close.

Elder have carved out their place at the helm of the underground with a unique sound crafted over time and through force of will. This unique identity is so pronounced in relation to the rest of the stoner canon that they run the risk of becoming our scene’s Radiohead. Whilst it is exciting to have such a talented band flying the flag it is important to be measured and genuine in our support.

Reflections of a Floating World’ is both a glance back and a stride forward. The direct nature of some of the riffs and the weight of their execution sit it comfortably between ‘Spires Burn/Release’ and ‘Lore.’ The expansion of ambition and variety in musical approach however, keep Elder’s eyes firmly fixed on the horizon. The welcome addition of a second guitar and keys also widens the lense through which to view their musical landscape. Not all of the angles succeed, but where the record undoubtedly blooms is in the refinement of the band’s ability to assemble their jigsaw of ideas. Whilst I’m not sure the finished piece surpasses that of ‘Lore’ it is a worthy addition to their discography and bodes well for an exciting continuation of their journey.
 “Reflections of a Floating World” is available

FFO: Sleep, Pallbearer, Samsara Blues Experiment, Baroness

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Monday, 19 June 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Iced Earth - "Incorruptible"

 By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 16/06/2017
Label: Century Media Records

This is the kind of album that Judas Priest should be making- and used to make. “Incorruptible” is a great metal album, it delivers on every level, with every band member excelling in their field. Time for me to get hold of the back catalogue as well, as “Incorruptible” has converted me to being a fan of the band. After nearly thirty years of albums, Iced Earth are deadlier than ever.

“Incorruptible” CD//DD//LP track listing:

01. “Great Heathen Army”
02. “Black Flag”
03. “Raven Wing”
04. “The Veil”
05. “Seven Headed Whore”
06. “The Relic (Part 1)”
07. “Ghost Dance (Awaken The Ancestors)”
08. “Brothers”
09. “Defiance”
10. “Clear The Way (December 13th, 1862)

The Review:

Back with their twelfth album, Iced Earth are something of an American metal institution. Yes, the line up album to album often changed, but with Jon Schaffer at the helm the band has been viewed as perhaps akin to the US version of Iron Maiden in terms of scope and ambition. I have to be honest here, I have never really got into the band until now. I bought “Something Wicked This Way Comes” some years ago but could not get into it. On the strength of Tim “Ripper” Owens involvement, I got hold of the deluxe edition of “The Glorious Burden...” same thing. Maybe I didn't persevere enough, maybe I was expecting something different; whatever the reasons I didn't get it. Until now.

“Incorruptible” is a hugely enjoyable record. It is uncategorisable, other than to say that this is metal. Proper metal. Screaming vocals. Shredding guitars. Massive drums. Rumbling bass. Songs about heathen hordes, piracy, history, brotherhood, nature... they are all here.

The opener “Great Heathen Army” is epic in sound and delivery, but equally is straight to the point in that it goes for the throat and does not let go. Stirring stuff, for sure, as is “Black Flag” (nowt to do with the hardcore punk band- Rollins fronted or otherwise). Changing pace, “Raven Wing” is sublime- it has some undefinable quality that makes for a classic track. It's not a hard rocker or a ballad, but is perhaps a distant cousin to a track like Accept'sPrincess of the Dawn”. Have a listen and you may understand where I am coming from.

There are vicious head bangers such as “Seven Headed Whore” and “Defiance” epic trad metal like “The Relic (Part 1”), an instrumental (“Ghost Dance..”.), trad power balladry with a metal heart (“Brothers”) and a suitably epic closer in the form of “Clear The Way (December 13th 1862)”. The production is never less than state of the art, the musicianship superlative. More important is that the songs deliver as well.

This is the kind of album that Judas Priest should be making- and used to make. “Incorruptible” is a great metal album, it delivers on every level, with every band member excelling in their field. Time for me to get hold of the back catalogue as well, as “Incorruptible” has converted me to being a fan of the band. After nearly thirty years of albums, Iced Earth are deadlier than ever.

“Incorruptible” is available everywhere now

FFO: Judas Priest, Blind Guardian, Iron Maiden, Nevermore

Band info: facebook