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Rocking sludge rhythms and stoned goats - 80%

joncheetham88, April 11th, 2012

A Finnish doom band that doesn't want to sound like either Rev Biz or Swallow the Sun. With groovy, rocking sludge rhythms and hissing snares. And black metal as fuck vocals. And song titles like 'Stick that in your Pipe and Smoke It'. Yes fucking please! The dudes in this band are all in some industrial death metal band called Total Devastation, that you might like to check out if you fancy a combo of Sotajumala and Turmion Katilot. But this is pure doomed, stoned loveliness.

I do like a sludge album to get right into it with some dirty riffs and huge grooves, and that's exactly what this does. There's a bunch of elongated instrumental passages, with walking bass patterns and a smattering of psychedelia, mumbling effects and samples in the vein of Ocean Chief's brilliant Den Forste, but Demonic Death Judge don't hold with giving their listener very long to breathe. The record spends most of it's hour-long running time mashing your tender, tender skull with chunky guitars and undeniable groove.

Jaako Heinonen's vocals are in-your-shit, slavering black metal rasps, rather than the distant and/ or interpretive howls that seem vogue in the genre right now. Personally I like what the vocals do here, gives the music a bit more forthrightness and aggression. The drums are solid as hell, maintaining addictive beats brimming with snarling snare and cymbal abuse, while the guitar tone is more down dirty south than frozen Finnish forest. Obviously.

It's a dense and busy album. Glistening, bleak blackened guitar chords sinew through 'Nepal's mid-section, but the blackened-sludge label I saw on Metal-Archives is representative of only one of the tricks this beauty can do. Guitarist Saku Hakuli supplies some Chandler and Iommi goodness next to the more expected influences like Eyehategod. By the time the unearthly weight of -track 2- barrels its way in, I'm fairly hooked. This song all comes together with Sabbath-like guitar solos and chugging guitars straight from somewhere on Vol. 4 And by the time the title track comes along, I'm feeling that this is just a really fucken' sweet rock album, chocka with groovy slow-ass riffs and bluesy drumming. Just that it's manifest as a somewhat wrathful blackened sludge-beast. 'Green Totem' even has a sort of early Blackmore space-out guitar solo, as does 'None Of It'.

The end of that title track reminds me why I love stoner music. Moving from crushing, weighty riffs to exultant and driving post-metal glistening with passionate leads. Beautiful stuff. In fact this album is dotted with moment of real, genuine sensitivity and light-dappled serenity, such as the interlude 'Stick that in Your Pipe and Smoke It'. Fuck, give me something to put in a pipe while this is playing! This is a terrifically chilled out and very sweet instrumental. You could listen to it on the beach with a coconut.

I can go for more of this. The Demonic and Deathly Judges have put out a stonking debut, that should sate the weed-heightened taste buds of even the most veteran sludge lover. The long tracks don't seem that long, the guitar tone is boner-causing, and the solo work is class. Get involved.