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smoldering space sludge!!! - 90%

joethecabdriver, February 25th, 2009

What we have here is a second full platter from these emerging sludge/doomsters. As the last album pulverized well within the confines of the sludge formula; slow tempos, crushing repetition, epic Sabbath inspired riffery, with smatterings of psychedelia. this sophomore effort finds these dour druids expanding on said formula, injecting more melody and trippiness, with refreshingly unexpected results.

The melodies come via a Jesu-like attention to shoegazer dourness, accompanied by some unexpected piano and acoustic work. The vocals are an echoey bellow, focusing on memorable chantlike screaming, not unlike Godflesh or Jesu, but with more evil intentions. But that is but one facet, adding an interesting aspect to what used to be simple one dimensional doom growlings.

But if you are in anyway related to the stoner metal genre, and the title track of your album is 5 minute ambiant space drone called Voice of Saturn, then Hawkwind comparisons are inevitable. The space rock drones are everywhere, in abundance, and add to the variation. This is not simply homage, as it enhances and elevates the songcraft, bringing to mind a bad mushroom trip while staring at the sun.

Production wise this is an old fashioned sludgy affair, the guitars sounding almost muted, removed of most grind abrasiveness due to what I suspect is all vintage amplification, giving this a warm album a volcanic analog feel, melting the guitar and bass into a thickness.

And the riffs, oozy and foreboding, not straying to far off the doomster path, but providing the meat and potatoes along with the cilocybin. The album ends with more ambiance and 10 minute drum solo!!!

All in all, this is great sludge with hipster credibility, an expansive sophomore effort, perfect for bong hits, bad acid trips, and repeated listens.