There are times when you want to hit yourself in the head and this morning was one of those times! Somehow I missed the bands Noothgrush and Coffins completely, even though I am a huge fan of the sludge and doom genres. How did this happen? I have no idea but that has now been remedied! Noothgrush and Coffins have a split 7″ due to come out on November 26 under the almighty Southern Lord label. Sludge, sludge, and more sludge could really be the extent of things but like always there is more to it.
Noothhgrush kicks off the record with the first three tracks and Coffins bring it home with the final two. As a whole this is soul-sucking, skull-crushing, low-end sludge greatness. One thing about sludge is that there is so much variety across the US in delivery; just compare Noothgrush to a band like HailHornet! – different yet similar. One of the things that I really love about sludge is the depth and variability between bands and geography. ‘Humandemic’ leads things off down almost a Black Sabbath sounding intro but quickly lowers into something different, darker and deeper, if that’s possible. This track has almost a newer doom feel to it, bordering almost on a slow blackened crust sound without losing the band’s identity. Slow driving riffs, emotional vocals and overcast beats all mixed together in a bone-crushing opener.
‘Jundland Wastes’ follows the opener quite nicely or “evilly” (if that’s a word), whichever you prefer. It is in the same groove as ‘Humandemic’; slow, bottom feeding music just the way I love it. ‘Thoth’ closes out the contribution from the Oakland sludge masters contribution with a 9-minute adventure in the bleakest of landscapes. The evil beat keeps the mood so well and really accentuates the fretwork in this track. Together they birth some insanely vile moods and when you add in the vocals it’s terrifying how much emotion they impart to the listener. The hallmark of good doom and sludge is when it hits you in the spine like this and it is literally a spine-shivering experience. Creepy as hell!
Coffins, sludge masters from Tokyo, Japan, continue the journey with ‘Drown in Revelation’. The tempo is a little quicker than their predecessor’s but it is sludge perfection none the less. Great riffs continue the dark-themed progress and the deeper vocals add another dimension of desperation. The beat is there as well but this track is more driven by the low-end riffs. That is not meant as a criticism, rather only an observation. This is a spot-on track as well, being faster paced while maintaining that sludge feel, and it still hits your spine like no other.
‘The Wretched Path’ closes this near-flawless release nicely. I could almost classify this as the gateway drug to sludge as it’s the most accessible track on the release and almost has a classic metal feel to it. Don’t get me wrong – it brings the low-end but it’s got an almost catchy riff to it, which is a hard thing to say about this genre. Funny, though, as it really works well, although maybe not as bleak as the rest but it’s still damn good. The drum, bass and guitars all rotate through center stage here, and the drum work is top notch on this tune, just plain top notch. I love that they took a chance with this one. Well done!
Overall, it’s an excellent release. I am on my fifth play through and I just put it on my iPhone this morning. It’s one that catches you right from the first note, especially if you are a doom and sludge lover like me. However, if you are new to the genre this is a great introduction to it and there is such a wide sampling of the music, it covers all the best points of the genre. Give this one a chance, it’s another great one from our friends at Southern Lord! Well done Noothgrush and Coffins and keep them coming!