Thick, bilious clouds of bass move so heavily they barely register while Sabbath-nod lead lines evoke whiskey stained bars somewhere in the wrong part of nowhere-town. The aptly named Nether Regions unveil the soundtrack to every bar-fight you ever had, shot glasses trampled under feet as maddening violence takes charge of intoxicated minds.
Sludge with menace is the trade plied by this Oregon band, and the mastery they show over their sinister art helps propel this far above the herd of the scene they belong to. Production is dialled so low that an air of mystery hangs over every movement, every change in direction and every riff. There’s a stylistic flourish with vocals mixed just barely above the instrumentation that gives the whole work a depth of intrigue not normally seen in a genre that relies predominantly on the blunt and the blatant.
As the album progresses, the quality is maintained and enough variety is introduced to keep interest levels high. Things slow down, speed up, get heavier and softer but it’s the overwhelming sense of post-adrenalised melancholy that pervades the cohesive whole.
“Into The Breach” is a gripping album that boldly declares its intentions and gains significantly for doing so. There’s creativity, an appreciation of song-craft and an understanding that if you gain an audience’s attention through intrigue, they will follow you through to the end.
Vastly superior and recommended for fans of sludge and those indifferent alike, there is little to criticise on this masterful work.