Every now and then an album comes along that just absolutely floors you. One that makes you drop everything you’re doing and just listen in awe. It might be because the songs are completely different to what you’ve heard before and it gives you a different perspective on things. Other times the music is from a genre you’re well versed in, but it blows everything else similar you’ve heard out of the water or perhaps twists it into something new. Perhaps the former is a better feeling to have, but there’s something almost as equally refreshing as a band breathing life into a genre you thought you’d heard all before.
This was a very much in the former camp for me, I’ve heard a lot of sludge metal and its various sidebranches before I came to this. I kinda knew what to expect, but that didn’t prepare for the onslaught that was to follow. The first thing that strikes me is how just MASSIVE this sounds. It’s one of those records that just crushes you and makes you feel like the tiny spec you are in this huge universe we live in. This is the sound of watching planets colliding and the world collapsing around you.
Firstly, the riffs pummel you into submission. Thick, sludge like sledgehammers batter your brains. Meanwhile, the vocals sound like the bellows of a man who is living his few hours on earth who hasn’t accepted his fate. The deep bass grooves and pounding drums only add to the sheer weight of it all.
But, that only tells half of the story. The heavy side of this album hits you the hardest, but there’s some really understated and subtle elements that really help pull together the apocalyptic atmosphere that can be heard. There’s creepy voice samples, industrial noises that sound straight out of the Godflesh catalogue, bagpipes (yes really!), violins…..I could go on and on. These are all applied with a feather touch, making these songs even more terrifying and perhaps hinting at desolation. These bring balance and allows the band to build up their songs to a devastating climax. Neurosis also sometimes strips back the sludge assault in their guitars as well, allowing themselves solemn moments.
So all I will say is, if you want an album with the intensity of Earth collapsing around you, you’ve come to the right place. Not just a collection of songs, more an experience.
Personal Fave Track: “Purify”