This German sludge sextet returns with Carrier, their first full-length since 2012’s oppressive 80-minute effort Negative Black. This one’s considerably less lengthy, but equally punishing, with six tracks clocking in just shy of 50 minutes.
“I Can’t Play It” opens the album on an ominous note with tortured screams and squealing feedback. This one’s a slow, downtuned, zombie stomp, dragging on for nearly eight minutes, with an unexpectedly jazzy interlude lightening the load only slightly. “Lift Yourself” gets off to a much mellower start, a rumbling, pulsating bass line echoing beneath some high-pitched, swirling effects. In fact, we’re three-quarters into this one before it finally erupts into a caustic burst of blackened sludge madness, with fast-paced hardcore riffs giving way to super-heavy breakdowns. In contrast, “Sand Mountain” hits ya with some Crowbar-style riffs right off the bat, wallowing in the mire for a while, before adding some slithering guitars overtop its rumbling crawl.
“Facepunch Transport Layer” wins the prize for best song title, a stellar space-sludge number in the vein of Zoroaster. “Saschenheim” borders on trad-doom with some solid pentatonic riffage, although the vocals are a little too black-metal sounding for me. “Triumph of Death” actually has a bit of that Saint Vitus stomp, and despite the vocals being in a much deeper register, it’s a pretty solid tune. Nice to see they’ve trimmed the fat—there really isn’t a bad track in this batch.