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This is possibly one of the angriest albums I've gotten my hands on over the years. Buzzoven give us something far more savage than their debut and with Sore they become a faster, angrier, and more psycho sound that resembles pure sludgy rage put into song. This is the kind of music that is best listened to when pissed off enough that you'd just go apeshit with the nearest blunt object (think something like an uprooted mailbox) you can get your hands on, bash a hole in the wall with it until it breaks and then beat the turds out of the poor, unsuspecting suckers on the other side with the broken remnants of your tool. With the band's reputation for drugs, degeneracy, violence, and even the lead singer puking mid-song and shrugging it off like it was nothing, that kind of absurd GG Allin-level mania doesn't sound all too absurd anymore. Sore is a product of that deranged, backwoods rage and delivers some of the most violent and crushing sludge out there.
Sore serves two main purposes, to dispense rage and beat the listener over the head with heavy, thrash-inspired riffs. It fulfills both of those purposes excellently. After about three minutes of movie samples of violence and torture, we launch into the title track which wastes no time in giving the listener a right-vicious thrashing. This is so loud and pummeling you would swear the music wants to jump out and strangle you. This thrashing is then followed by a long, tense slow-burner that leads the song out and shows us the other side of Sore, a slower more agonizing beast. Kirk's vocals do plenty to project more rage into the songs and they come off as a (somehow) more pissed version of Mike Williams, rather than the Cobain-styled singing on their first album, To a Frown. Use of fuzz and screeching effects are common on the slower pieces which, along with the grimy tone and hanging rhythm do plenty to involve the listener in Reverend Dirtkicker's heavy hitting frenzy. Some of the most standout pieces on this album include the title track, The thrashy punch of Unwilling to Explain and Done, the slow-seething and tense Hollow and Blinded, the punkish, rapid-fire, cop massacre piece, Behaved, and the hallucinogenic ending track. This is psychotic rage put into musical form with plenty of grimy grooves and punch-and-kick riffs to spare.
Sore is possibly the most angry and intense piece sludge metal has produced. It's rawness may wear on some people and certain songs near the middle of the album do tend to drag. But, even so this is a fine example of where anger can take you musically if you apply that rage coherently. With every riff it displays ferocity and groove that excels in the field of sludge. If you feel like going truly over-the-top mad tonight, Sore by Buzzoven is what you're looking for.
I have no idea how the band ever completed this record, let alone any others. The band was always hopped on one drug or another. There are rumors floating around that when Roadrunner signed the band, they had a release/signing party, where members of the band injected heroin in front of the Roadrunner executives. Well, to my knowledge none of the members have died yet, which comes as a surprise.
So what the hell is going on with this album? The beginning starts off with something that sounds like a little girl crying out in pain, with some interspersed feedback, some random drums, and then some demonic sounding language spreading out over the first three minutes, and it makes for a very strange introduction. The intro is very, very slow, and I think it drags on a little too long: the first minute would have been enough.
Once the music starts, it's a pretty standard for the rest of the album. The vocalist is a little strange, not the type of thing I usually like. He almost sounds like he's whining and screaming at the same time. Every word sounds like it has a "wahhh" quality to it. It almost has to be heard; very difficult to describe without actually hearing him yourself.
The guitars have that definitive southern sludge feel to them, although the music, at parts, is a bit faster than most sludge. The tone is very grungy and dirty, with a nice bit of crunch, and it lies just about right in the mix. The band does slow it down, but a lot more sparingly than, let's say mid-period Neurosis. It's obvious that Neurosis is a large influence here. Buzzoven uses some rather long introductions and even the way the songs are written remind me a lot of "Enemy of the Sun" era Neurosis.
There are some really cool sections with the bass lines, but it’s mostly when the guitars aren’t playing. Otherwise it’s just buried in the mix. The drums on the other hand are extremely well done. They fit with the sludge style perfectly, almost using the toms more than cymbals, which leads to a very tribal, rolling feel.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a decent album, but the songs tend to blur together after the first few tracks. Each track is excellent on its own, but it’s very difficult to listen to this entire album in one sitting. There isn’t much variation over the long run. Yes, you do have your fast song verses the slower song, and some pretty wild intros, but I think it’s those vocals. They really don’t change all that much, same whining, screaming type sound the whole way through.
So the production is pretty good for a sludge band. You can hear all of the music pretty well, but the snare is a little high in the mix. The bass is pretty much nonexistent, except for a few parts. The music is played well, so it makes up for a little bit. The band probably should’ve put down their crack pipes and needles while they were writing this album though, because the songwriting is one of the weak points.
On the plus side, the intro on “Broken” is a sound clip from the movie “A Christmas Story.” You know the part where Ralphie is beating the shit out of Sid Farckus. That was definitely enjoyable. So there are parts on this album that are enjoyable, but listening to it the whole way through lost it’s novelty after the first time I listened to it. If you’re not really into this style, you’re “track forward” button will probably get a lot of use.
I can’t really recommend this album to all metal heads. People who are really into bands like EyeHateGod and mid-era Neurosis will definitely dig this. So if southern tinged sludge is your thing, get this. As for me, it will probably sit on my shelf for a long time.
In a perfect world, Buzzov-en would have become ultra famous and spread around their miserable sound to all corners of the world. Instead, they are a band buried by time and dust, forgotten by all but a few handful faithful fans that cherish their releases like gold. “Sore” is a sonic assault to the senses, a devastating punch to the face of brutality and complete hatred towards human kind. Before each song, a small sample is played, mostly of old horror flicks, noises of anguish pain and fears are heard.
The intros set you up, again and again for the punishing wall of noise that emerges track after track. To describe this music is not that easy. It definitely has its “sludge” sound, slow and dense. It does however have its fast parts, but what sets this band apart is the sick vocals. The vocalist manages to convey all the hatred and anger possible in the lyrics and it comes out in the music. I would put this guy against any black metal vocalist for evil and hateful tones.
This release is highly recommended, it contains songs done previously on other singles and ep’s, but the production and sound on this album is a hundred times better. Stand out tracks, all of them, but if I had to choose, maybe the title track “Sore”, “I don’t like you”, “Hollow”, and “Broken”. Complete aggression and destruction in those songs.
The artwork of the CD is cool to; there is a drawing of a jackal with the face of Christ, and a knife stuck into Jesus’ skull. Drawings of dead fetuses and obscure images fill the CD artwork, also the insane notes of the band, cautioning the listener that the lyrics and music were done under the influence of drugs like crack and heroin and periods of homelessness and depression. Trust me, you can feel all those factors influencing this insane record, you will become a fan of Buzzov-en immediately.