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Dirty, naughty, groovy but a way too plastic - 75%

i_make_reviews, January 10th, 2021

The second and last album from the Londoners Hang the Bastard is one of my most favourite of those falling within the sludgecore realm and it's indeed a very interesting work. These guys, who used to be one of the most prominent and solid British dark hardcore acts, together with Brutality Will Prevail - another band I do personally enjoy - left us completely off-guard with their departure from the scene.

"Sex in the Seventh Circle" is a solid bluesy-tinged doom metal and metalcore mixture, but in a more "as business as usual" way of playing: there are, of course, some dense steamroller tracks ("Hornfel", "Sex in the Seventh Circle" and "Sweet Mother") which are of course doing their righty boogie and are able to entertain the listener to a very good extent. The guitars are maliciously thick and groovy, proving they've learned a perfect lesson from Eyehategod and Iron Monkey (the last is definitely a band, which I'm recalling them a lot to).

However, the album is less hardcore ("Absorption") and nasty ("Keeping Vigil") than their previous works, despite having some really dirty riffs. Despite being a solid and interesting work, it's however less energic and powerful than what they did once before and leans more towards a direction they don't know where it actually is. The production is more artificial and less raw, a way too robotic and with an inexplicable focus on trebles, which is something I don't really expect from a doom metal/metalcore act. Anyway, compared to what it's actually around in the scene, and considering this album came out before the Iron Monkey's reunion, it's was really a step forward the hardcore-related stuff around back then.

There are of course some really enjoyable doom metal tracks ("Keeping Vigil", "Morss Tempest", "Mist of Albion"), with dismal bluesy melodies, somehow evocative of the London's sewages and cockney life in the streets. I don't even consider the incomprehensible lyrics, which I suppose to be occult-inspired and concerning sex/drug-related themes, and I also put in the back the grasp vocals, that I actually don't care too much about, despite having some interesting screaming variances.

Not their best, neither even the worst. From my own perspective too much modern and refined for those into the genre, but still a good way for neophytes to be introduced to it. Honestly, it's sometimes mundane and repetitive, but absolutely enjoyable and solid, although I wouldn't recommended it if you're looking for some sludge/doom-hardcore crossover. However, if you'd like to stick to a more "metallic" Brutality Will Prevail, that's definitely a good choice.