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Put that damn needle down! - 70%

TheStormIRide, March 20th, 2006

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.