Wednesday, 28 June 2017

FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: A countdown to Canada Day with Dewar PRs 5 Favourite Canadian metal albums

By: Curtis Dewar

Despite the bad rep we have for being the home of Justin Bieber, Nickelback and Celine Dionne, we Canucks actually have a shit ton of great bands. From classic rock icons like Neil Young and The Guess Who to heavy metal legends like Voivod, Helix, Rush and Strapping Young Lad, there is no shortage of great music from the land of the great white north. For this Canada Day I've come up with a list of five of my favourite Canadian albums for you to rock out to. These are in no particular order. Crank em up and let me know if you enjoy:

Loverboy – “Big Ones”

Are they metal or are they rock? Who knows and who cares. While the band probably fits more into the AOR/Hard rock label than metal per se, they still have a ton of classic songs. Who hasn't rocked out at some point to tracks like "Working For the Weekend", "Hot Girls in Love" or "Lovin Every Minute of It"? No one.

Cauldron“Burning Fortune”

Cauldron are one of those bands that people seem to love or hate. The band's blend of trad metal with thrash pays homage to the 80's while also sounding fresh at the same time. While it's tough to pick just one of their album's I'd probably say that “Burning Fortune" is probably my favorite overall, beating "Into the Cauldron" by a hair.

Skid Row“Skid Row”

Before anyone pipes up-Yes I know Skid Row is technically from New Jersey, but Sebastian Bach is Canadian, so fuck you I'm counting it. While the band is commonly lumped in with glam metal, the fact is that Skid Row always leaned more towards the heavy side of things. The band's debut album is a beast and one of the best heavy meta albums of all times with classics like "Big Guns", "Sweet Little Sister", "18 and Life" and "Youth Gone Wild".

Goat Horn“Threatening Force”

Vastly underrated band that features Jason Decay pre-Cauldron. While the band isn't too far off stylistically from what Jason did later in Cauldron, the band made a ton of great songs before eventually splitting up. Recommended tracks "Threatening Force" and "Right Heavy Metal".


Awesome blackened death metal band from Vancouver. While it's not exactly music to party to, you can't deny that this is one of the best extreme metal albums of the last 10 years. 

TRACK PREMIERE: "Conscious Disease" by Philadelphia avant-garde sludge shamans GOD ROOT

Dante Torrieri (C)
Former Sadgiqacea vocalist/drummer Fred Grabosky brings us his new project God Root and following on from their 4 track EP last year, the band are back with their forthcoming release “Salt and Rot” set to hit the streets on CD and digital download on 11 July. 

As with Sadgiqacea, these Philadelphia avant-garde sludge shamans accentuate the heavy parts with quiet moments to create their own brand of primitive and tribalistic sludge, with  doomed cinematic soundscapes.  Each element is added very carefully as to not over saturate the compistional structure of the record, with songs often building tension until you are served with a crushing finale.  

For a band still in its infancy, imagine 'Eye Of Every Storm' era Neurosis with John Dyer Baizley circa 'Red Album' on vocals and you'd be halfway to close to what this record delivers and today we are pleased to be able present a new track in the form of “Conscious Disease”. You can stream it below and check out what vocalist Fred Grabosky (drummer/vocalist) had to say about it. Preorders are available here  and digitally here

"We are quite pleased with how this track came together. It's the most vulnerable and personal piece we've put out thus far. We created 3 personas and the song acts as sort of a dialogue between them. It's essentially the push and pull of oppressive forces, human frailty and self reliance. In some capacity, everyone can relate to this battle of control and weakness. Much like the rest of the album, we poured a lot of our personal pains and strife into this as a release and hope it can do the same for the listener. 

I think of a "conscious disease" as this sort of infectious and destructive thought pattern. It floats among us and attaches to us like a virus to a blood cell. We all know it's there, but we have the power to produce the antibodies to fight it off, or it can consume us whole."

God Rot Live Rituals

8/03 Brooklyn, NY
8/04 Providence, RI
8/05 Kingston, NY
8/06 Syracuse, NY
8/07 Ithaca, NY
8/08 Rochester, NY
8/09 Buffalo, NY
8/10 Cleveland, OH
8/11 Detroit, MI
8/12 Kalamazoo, MI
8/13 Milwaukee, WI
8/14 Chicago, IL
8/15 Indianapolis, IN
8/16 Lexington, KY
8/17 Pittsburgh, PA
8/18 Washington, DC
8/19 Philadelphia, PA 

All dates with SUNROT

Band info: bandcamp || facebook

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

THE 16 MOST POPULAR ALBUMS OF YEAR SO FAR: The Sour 16 January - June 2017

As I reflect incredulously upon 2017 so far, it continues to confound my expectations that THE SLUDGELORD exists at all, let alone being able to reflect upon six months worth of albums. 

2017 is like any other, we predict this year’s releases will not top the last, but invariably we are proven wrong, there have been highlights and disappointments, shocks and surprises, and as we approach July, we’ll continue to separate the good, from the bad and the ugly.  But today we reflect upon the 16 most popular records at THE SLUDGELORD so far in 2017.   

This list does not reflect the contributors own tastes, rather they are articles that have received the most clicks, therefore by virtue of that, you could argue they’re the most popular (it’s a pretty loose hypotheses I know, but we wanted the list to reflect your tastes not ours).  The fact that the albums cover a variety of genres is indicative of how the site has grown and is central to the philosophy we promote, which is to review albums we like, not solely on the basis of genre.

The results of this chart as ever are compiled based on page views alone.  For more information on the bands, click the artwork.   We have included album streams wherever possible. (Total views since their publication is highlighted in red).  Thanks for reading. 

16). Brutus“Burst” (1455)

Straddling the line between hardcore punk and a post-rock/metal riff fest, Brutus pounds, hurls, and howls at volumes so loud and levels so intense that it’s impossible to look away. Harmonies, hooks, and sing-a-longs are part of the Brutus recipe, but it’s the sheer intensity that will have heads turning, bopping, and banging.

15). TokeOrange(1458)

Toke seamlessly blends the precise amount of head crushing, belly thumping riffs with greasy, bluesy lead breaks and melody. This band has struck a balance between tried and true classic archetypes within this genre and has pushed the envelope in so many forms of noticeable nuance.

14). Mutoid Man“War Moans” (1529)

“War Moans” is fast, heavy and vocally arresting, it is an album that is certain to leave you breathless. 

13). Spidergawd“IV” (1568)

“IV” is eight tracks that follow the verse-chorus-verse-chorus formula and does so with licks, vocals, lyrics and melodies that are sharp, fast, and poignant. As far as that’s concerned, there’s absolutely nothing to complain about

12). Bathsheba“Servus” (1603)

The biggest strength of the album is its tactful and haunting use of atmosphere. This is achieved through the skilful use of dynamic contrast, organically unfolding transitions and changes in the timbre of the music, particularly in the playing of guitarist Dwight Goossens.  Tracks such as “Manifest” and “Demon” see Goossens change from chilling, ambient clean tones to rich, roaring fuzz tones that could satisfy even the hardest to please doom fans.

11). Sleep“The Clarity” (1681)

“This track sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a huge robotic entity slowly trudging through space. ‘The Clarity’ is exactly what every Sleep fan wanted to hear after being dormant for such a long time. If these guys can pull an album out of the bag in the near future with anything remotely close to the calibre of power involved in this, then we are in for a serious slab of mind-altering, heavy doom.”

10). DOOL“Here Now, There Then” (1698)

It is rare that an album is able to make one completely forget about their real world surroundings and bring them somewhere else entirely.  “Here Now, There Then” is an otherworldly brew of eeriness, effective hooks and nefarious rock and roll.  It is the soundtrack of a lost soul stumbling upon something evil and long forgotten, only to find it wide awake and waiting.

9). Unearthly Trance“Stalking The Ghost” (1780)

8). Pallbearer“Heartless” (1921)

“Heartless” is an incredible achievement from Pallbearer, a set of huge songs that consolidate the best elements of their previous releases while moving into fresh sonic territory. This is the album that should see the band make the transition into stadium-bothering all-time greats, and deservedly so.

7). Widows“Oh Deer God” (2075)

The strongest part of “Oh Deer God” are the bloated, swaggering riffs that invade every one of the album’s seven tracks. The riffs loom over the music like a giant surveying a small village, resolve in just the right way, and give the album a raw, beefy strength that makes it so enjoyable. At just under half an hour total, “Oh Deer God” is a brief, but delightful venture into where vaporous desert rock meets viscous sludge metal.

6). Sepultura“Machine Messiah” (2196)

Will this convert early-Sepultura-only fans? Unlikely. Will it convert Cavalera only Sepultura fans? I doubt it, as those people have made their decision and won't entertain that a Sepultura can exist without the Cavalera brothers. However, this is yet another high quality entry into the Sepultura discography and is one of the best records the band has made.

5). Dopelord“Children of the Haze” (2516)

“Children of the Haze” is defined by loose grooves, ghoulish riffing and a very vintage sense of wickedness. Dopelord prove that, unlike many other stoner metal bands, they are not content to just create the same song several times over and call it an album.

4). Blaze Bayley“Infinite Entanglement” & “Endure & Survive” (2819)

Both “Infinite Entanglement” and “Endure and Survive” are the best work of his entire career, better than Wolfsbane, better than his tenure with Maiden and better than his past solo work.  Blaze's fire is burning brighter than ever

3). Dead Witches“Ouija” (3528)

This is another perfectly fuzzed out slab of doom from a band that doesn’t seem to know any other way.

2). Soen“Lykaia” (3565)

On Soen’s third full length record their own explorative hunger is satisfied in the most delicious of ways, resulting in their most dynamically versatile but free flowing release to date.  An explorative and colourful record, there is a lot to take in with this record, many dimensions in which to get lost in. Repeat listens bear gorgeous fruits.

1). Telekinetic Yeti“Abominable” (4181)

All in all, the recording has a huge sound and the production is absolutely amazing. It has everything you could ever want and I would rate it as a perfect 10. The album is truly remarkable and is sure to go down in history as one of rock’s greatest debuts. These guys are definitely heavyweight contenders to find their place at the top of the scene

FOR THOSE ABOOT TO ROCK: A countdown to Canada day with 5 Underrated Canadian cult classics

By: Mark Tremblay

Priestess- “Prior to the Fire”

A band remembered by many for their guitar hero favourite “Laydown produced an absolute classic follow up record with “Prior to the Fire”. If riffs are what you dig, this album is full of them; the NWOBHM classics like “Lady Killers” and “It Baffles the Mind”, to sludgy down-tuned jaunts of “Murphy’s Law” and “We Ride Tonight”, the record has a bit of something for everyone.

Unlike a lot of stoner metal acts, the band does not merely rely on riffs alone. The

vocals of Mikey Heppner gives the album its melodic sensibilities; offering a catchy hook on every track. This album is perfect from top to bottom.

Anion- “Without Solace”

“Without Solace” is a deep-cut in the catacombs of the No-List Records catalogue.  Do not let the beautiful album art fool you, this is a deeply disturbing record that truly sounds unique. Tons of off-kilter riffs and rhythms that make for an uneasy listening experience. A stand alone record in the quagmire of hardcore/sludge metal bands.

Collider- “Collider” EP

Collider managed to only put together one EP before disappearing all-together. They were riff-centric, while still having the swing that many sludge metal bands lack. Collider represents what Mastodon would have sounded like if they continued down the path they forged with their first record “Remission”.


Hamn- “Pig People”

By far the catchiest heavy record to come out of Canada last year. This end of year release went fairly unnoticed by most, but is undeniably an instant classic. The best way to describe Hamn would be “Dave Grohl as the lead singer for a Torche cover band”. This band really is the perfect blend of melody, and pummelling riffs.

Mares of Thrace- “The Pilgrimage”

Arguably the most visceral and bleak record on this list. “The Pilgrimage” tells the dark biblical tale of David and Bathsheba. The record is brooding like a doom record, but has the frenetic riffs that would appeal to a variety of Metal fans. Unlike many records, “The Pilgrimage” is meant to be played from front to back to fully appreciate the entire sonic palate created by Mares of Thrace.

Monday, 26 June 2017

TRACK PREMIERE: Sludgecore trio EARTHGRAVE debut a new sermon "Altars of Desolation"

Sludgecore trio EARTHGRAVE summon a crawling miasma of growling guitars, hoarse screams and driving drums on their debut album 'The Verge Of Human Abyss' fit to make Eyehategod proud.

The band move between grooving mid-tempo doom-tinged sludge into chugging hardcore breakdown territory with ease and competence, with the occasional punk outburst and d-beat bringing the tempo back up, almost in places touching on old school death metal akin to “Realm Of Chaos” era Bolt Thrower.

Art on this release mirrors the lyrics and vocals; bleak, monochrome imagery collaged together with ragged edges hinting at themes of suffering and the worst elements of human nature.

'The Verge Of Human Abyss' drops on the 7th of July via WOOAAARGH on CD/MC and digital download. The limited Cassette Edition is a co-release with Black Omega Recordings.  Today ahead of the album’s official release we’re debuting two blistering  tracks which you can check out below.  So if you’re fans of Seven Sisters of Sleep, Crowbar, Integrity, Eyehategod and Bongzilla then this is a band not to be missed.  You can order the record here

Band info: facebook || bandcamp

Sunday, 25 June 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Bison - “You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient”

By: Mark Tremblay

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 07/07/2017
Label: Pelagic Records

“You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient” is an amalgamation of everything that Bison does well. If you love anything in the realm of sludge or stoner metal, this is a must for you.

“You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Until The Earth Is Empty
2. Anti War
3. Drunkard
4. Kenopsia
5. Tantrum
6. Raiigin
7. Water Becomes Fire

The Review:

Bison return with their first offering since the “1000 Needles” EP. It is an album of seven well-crafted, riff-heavy tracks that borrows a little bit from each era of the band.

The album starts with “Until the Earth is Empty“and “Anti-War”; both very punk tracks reminiscent of the “Quiet Earth” days of the band. Immediately, the listener is hit with the fastest paced Bison music that has not been heard in years. Matt Wood’s vocals on “Anti-War” are a welcomed contrast to this song. The band reminds the listener that their youthful spirit from their earlier records is still there.

The album then moves to “Drunkard”, “Kenospsia”, and “Tantrum” which are in line with the “Dark Ages” and “Lovelessness” era of the band. The slower/more brooding tones mix well with signature guitar grooves, thick bass tones, and pummelling drum fills that transition the record smoothly. Where the album really kicks off is in the closing final tracks; “Raiigin” and “Water Becomes Fire”. These songs contain some of the nastiest riffs every written by the band. “Raiigin, in particular, has a riff at the end that is heaviest thing they’ve ever written.

“You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient” is an amalgamation of everything that Bison does well. If you love anything in the realm of sludge or stoner metal, this is a must for you.

“You Are Not The Ocean, You Are the Patient” is available to preorder/buy here

Band info: facebook

FFO: Mastodon, High On Fire, Baroness, Black Tusk

INTERVIEW: Belfast's soul crushing sludge doom trio Nomadic Rituals discuss "Marking the Day"

Nomadic Rituals is a three piece band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. “Marking the Day” the band’s second full length was our introduction to them and like many of the band submissions we receive they can often go overlooked by the sheer quantity and lack of time to check them, however I am glad we did not allow this band to pass us by, because fans of slow punishing doom couldn’t fail to be impressed by this three piece. The new record "Marking the Day," released on February 17th, 2017 is for people who are into the dirtiest and raunchiest purveyors of sludgy, death-doom. Fans of Noothgrush, Indian, Serpentine Path, and Morbid Evils should definitely check them out immediately.

The overall tone of the recording is massive and thunderous. The vocals range from being predominantly harsh and scornful to clean and ethereal in a couple of small doses. Indeed this is the heaviest thing we’ve heard in a while. Hopeless, ugly, vicious, and pissed off slabs of soul destroying death-doom is what Nomadic Rituals deliver and today I pleased to welcome Craig Carson, front man for this soul crushing trio to talk us through the history of the band, their influences and the recording of their latest record.  Check it out below. 

Can you give us an insight into how you started playing music, leading up to the formation of Nomadic Rituals?

I guess it began in secondary school. I was discovering music and that eventually made me attempt to learn the guitar. I soon wanted to really play the bass as I enjoyed the heavy rhythm and grounding that the instrument provided. Years later, a friend who studied music in the same college invited me to play bass in his prog rock band. The learning curve was steep and I was essentially the least qualified, however it did not last past college and over later years my interest in playing music fluctuated. Then throughout my later teens/20’s I attempted to construct my own bands to reflect my current musical tastes but none of these ever left the practice room.  Again my music taste kept widening more until I encountered bands like Iron Monkey, Rabies Caste, and EyeHateGod. This really satisfied my need for heavy music. This was the direction I wanted my next band to go in. Again I spent time searching for the right people before I eventually found two who seemed to get it. Through different friends I met Frodo and Mark. Frodo says that I had forced him to play guitar, but I don’t recall this level of coercion. Mark on the other hand turned out to be a drummer without a band. From my experience this was unheard of as most drummers seemed to have multiple bands and absolutely no time. He thankfully needed little persuasion. After much discussion we hit the practice room, began on some ideas and things just started to come together.

For folks unfamiliar with your band, is there any bands on the scene past and present that you would use as a reference point bands to describe your band, and who or what continues to inspire you and push you to try new things?

If I had to name a few that really began as a starting point for the band, I would probably pick Conan for the sheer weight and Yob for unbelievable songs that convey great emotion. From a live perspective I wanted it to feel like Sunn O))), a challenge for sure. As for a maybe more realistic reference, someone once said we were like Winter. I’d say we possibly have similarities to bands like IRN, Ramesses or maybe even Warhorse.

As for my current interests, bands like Usnea, Buried at Sea, Fange, Love Sex Machine, and Herscher all come to mind. We all can agree on bands like Amebix, Hawkwind, High on Fire and Mastodon as being somewhat inspiring to us. Even Genesis’Foxtrot” had some subtle form of influence on the most recent album if you’d believe it.

What can you tell us about “Marking the Day” and where do you feel it sits within the context of current metal scene

‘Marking the Day’ in its simplest form follows a timeline through our universe. Each part narrates from a different perspective. As a whole, it is a journey through time and space, yet it is ultimately a loose reflection of our own reality.  I suppose it will sit over on the Doom/ Sludge side of things. Possibly for people who like heavy, sprawling albums and a bit of narrative.

Does anything spring to mind when you think about the completion of your upcoming record?

The mood I’d say is one of relief and elation at seeing this album come to fruition. Nothing makes me happier than having something solid to show for it and people willing to listen to it. I also perhaps think we are just glad that it went a lot smoother this time round.

What stands out as your overarching memory from the recording sessions?

Honestly I’d say the whole thing. We again recorded with Niall Doran at Start Together in Belfast, and we all just really look forward to taking the time out to enter the studio, it’s all fun. Niall is great to work with. He brings good ideas and seems to understand what we want to achieve.

Finally, do you have any final comments/word of wisdom you’d like to bestow upon us?

As a final note, I would like to comment on what I personally see as the underside of ‘Marking the Day’. Ultimately, it is a message of warning to anyone in the present as to what may lie ahead in the future if we blindly proceed in certain actions today. In terms of this album, humanity as we know it is currently playing out the fifth track, only minutes away from entering the sixth and final track. My own view is one of discontent at a planet ruled by a short term, profit orientated mentality. We seem blindsided to other possibilities. In the context of this album I like to think that ‘Marking the Day’ does not dictate a specific world, but rather presents one to enter and reflect upon.

Band info: bandcamp || facebook