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A Blur of Sludge and Bong Water - 90%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, July 26th, 2009

This album, no this band, has its own legacy that it is the heaviest material recorded. I'm partial to this opinion.

No, it's not blastfest heavy, it's not super technical grinding guitar passages, and it's certainly not an hour of crushing speed. What it is, however, is a sludgy doom album of massive proportions.

Starting off with 'Vinum Sabbathi', a small sample plays stating that you either die or go insane in "one of these groups". Immediately afterwards, a bass riff drenched in muck and distortion collides into you. It's a quick teaser, just a little slideshow, if you will. It's probably the fastest song or part on the album, maybe only a little slower than the bridge in 'Funeralopolis'.

Speaking of which, this song starts off with a cleaner riff, a little blues riff. It quickly escalades into a little lead bit, and then comes in with hissing amps and of course, mounds of distortion. This droning, massive riff from the intro returns and just smashes itself through the verses and chorus. About 5 minutes in the song really kicks it up a notch, instrumentally and vocally. It speeds up into this great doom riff, which ends in a Sabbath-esque fill, and then Jus Oborn completely flips. He just starts belting his lyrics a lot harsher (not counting the reverb and fuzz on his vocals already), and eventually the song climaxes with a single line of lyrics getting harsher and harsher and that Sabbath-esque riff and solo, there's also an extremely psychedelic use of studio flanger, delay, and chorus on one of the guitar tracks before the end of the song.

So, those two songs generate the general lowdown of the album, a couple shorter songs or interludes, and absolute riff-monsters. The rest of the album, excluding 'The Hills Have Eyes', hits five minutes or longer and just decides to pummel you even further with the sludgy glory. Despite all this heaviness, the third track has some rockier moments squeezed into its drone and doom, most especially in the first part of the song.

The guitars on this album are your standard Sabbath-doom fare. They range from pentatonic scales to tritones and minor scales, and it all works. The tone of the guitars is based solely on distortion, fuzz, and sludge. Grimey and loose, the guitars have a very South U.S. tone to them, very big and meaty. Well, anyways, the guitars are pretty cool and have a disturbingly heavy roar. On that same note, the bass is remarkably out in the open, and has a very crusty and dry tone, matching perfectly with the guitars wet and sloppy sound.

The drums are crisp and punchy, and the drumming is particularly well-done for a doom metal release. Never throwing in a fill that is unnecessary or stupidly long, the drumming chugs the music along and keeps up when the rockier, Sabbath moments kick in.

Jus Oborn's vocals on thisalbum are fairly unique. His vocals usually consist of yelling or singing a bit harshly, but what defines the vocals is the layer of fuzz and reverb that is absolutely drenched over them. It makes the release sound even heavier, dirtier, and grimier than it would have had it had vocals similar to those on the self-titled.

The production is as it should be, and it's already been discussed; heavy, dirty, sludgy, more adjectives that concern muck, etc.

The songwriting is pretty well done, resulting in epics like 'Funeralopolis' and 'Weird Tales' that just drone and drone, but in a good way. However, the songwriting gets a huge cut because of how criminally short 'Vinum Sabbathi' is. It could have been the best song on the album next to the first section of 'Weird Tales' had it had a proper solo, another cool riff, or something.

On a negative note, sometimes the vocals come across a little too angsty and the guitars just fizzle out with hissing and annoying feedback.

But, it's still a great release, and deserves a listen from anyone who calls themselves 'a fan of doom metal'