These scumbags from the southern States bullied their way into my attention at Roadburn in Holland a few years back where, even among the avalanche of heaviness that that festival excels at bringing together, they stood out in terms of their particular brand of filthy, bog snorkeling sludge.
Signed to Seasons of Mist for their forthcoming fifth album they have taken the opportunity to re-release their back catalogue, including this, their debut, from 2000.
The instrumental intro has an element of calm before the storm, setting the scene with some stoner jamming but when the second song “Monkey Junction” kicks in to its full obliterated swagger it brings a broad, twisted smile to my face. Massively distorted, stumbling riff with ultra-gravelly vocals, it’s the soundtrack to the prospective end of a massive session that seems to be the subject of the lyrical content as well. Perfectly summed up by the chorus “It ain’t over yet” as the beast of a song rolls on to its next destination of destruction, gawd knows we’ve all been there, the people we started the night with either in prison/hospital/missing in action, but we’re far beyond shame.
Pace picks up to a bit more thundering punky action next, demonstrating the mix in this sludge that works really well. There’s bluesy lead licks, loose jams, the whole album is a sleazy sprawl but with an undercurrent of real power, a hypnotic lumbering groove.
It’s not just Neanderthal pummeling though, there is an impression of intelligence and with behind what they do, an enjoyment we can share. This album definitely shows them starting with a force that has held them in good (if unsteady) stead for the intervening years and releases, and makes the newest one be looked on with anticipation all the more.