For all the sludge metal oozing outta Vancouver, you don’t really hear much of that stuff from its sister city. The bands I know from Seattle lean more toward the Neurosis style of heavy progressive metal. But these recently relocated Virginia transplants bring a whole bunch of that southern-fried piss ‘n vinegar to the Pacific Northwest on this, their second album.
I almost didn’t make it past the opening minute of “Vial of Silence,” which begins with a vicious burst of black metal, complete with vomiting vocals. But from there it slows to a sludgier crawl as the vocals get more guttural. Fans of Primitive Man, take heed. Nine-minute epic “Sunken Sorceress” starts off with some more black-metal wails, albeit in a much sparser situation. Then they pound on the distortion pedal about two minutes in, and from there, we get a gritty death-n-roll assault that would make Chris Barnes proud, dissected by some tortured screams and stop-start breakdowns more akin to Eyehategod.
This sludge ‘n burn approach continues on the more mid-tempo “Shed the Coil,” which almost sounds like a pirate’s sea shanty, albeit with some gutturals and breakdowns thrown in for evil measure. But the sickest track has gotta be the 11-minute “One from the Stable,” which is pure depressive sludge from the get-go, reminding me of Noothgrush or Graves At Sea at their slowest. Not for the faint of heart!