A true anomaly in the Sore Throat discography, a sludge metal epic that, despite the track listing provided above is one 41 minute track. In fact, this album was so at odds with anything else the band had done, which ranged from crust punk to grindcore, that they changed their name from Sore Throat to Saw Throat just for this album. The music on this record varies from sludge, industrial noise, has one section almost all as an entended drum solo - so there's no shortage of variation.
Ideally, the album can be seperated into about eight distinctly joined parts, each with its own style and genre experimentation. The intro and outro for my sake are the high points; this album though released in 1989 feels like a forerunner for many of the sludge/doom classics such as say (though it may be a stretch), Corrupted's style of music, or maybe I'm just getting that vibe from the vocals.
The album opens with an extended atmospheric segment - kicking in soon after a short spoken word piece begins, mulling the 'current' state of the world. This is a very environmentally conscious album, extending from the punkish attitudes that Sore Throat had put forward in their previous albums and pushing their talents into a very unexpected direction. The intro segment runs about 11 minutes, taking five minutes to mull around with industrial ambience, a repetitive keyboard melody (I think), as well as slowly, a screechy feedback that begins to pulse underneath it. Around 5 minutes in, a drum kicks twice, and the feedbacky, noisy dirge begins, not as slow as most sludge around nowadays, but for its time I can imagine it being quite a shock to most people. This was an album ahead of its time, and so to me, if you haven't guessed is a real metal classic. The dirge that is the first 11 minutes is complemented by the deep, raspy vocals that come to the fore around 7 minutes in, bellows which seem to mix death metal and hardcore stylings - highly effectively.
The dirge ends on a sustained mess of feedback which fades to almost silence, before the second section begins. This kicks up the speed a notch, but nowhere near where their work had been before, still drenched in the industrial atmosphere which is also communicated excellently across the albums length. The album lyrics focus on the aspects of society that are crumbling due to perpetually worsening environmental conditions. It's hard for me to summarise each segment in depth because there's a lot to take out of each of them - but here's my rundown of the album structure:
1. A slow building industrial/sludge dirge. 2. A duet between a gagging/screaming vocalist and the gravel voiced man we met earlier. 3. A more sparse and sludgy segment with angrier feedback influence and vocals that dance between singing and spoken word. Direct and powerful. 4. A more frenetic section, with a driving drum and guitar pattern that's most reminiscent of punk influence, but still very much metal oriented. 5. beginning with another spoken word segment, it drives back into a more sludgy piece, the atmosphere of dirtiness comes across heavily with the guitar and bass here. 6. An extended drum piece which actually works quite well, despite what you may think of drum solos. Daring move to put into a sludge album, but here it pays off. The vocals here are a bit strange. 7. Another sludgy piece, probably the weakest part, but still very strong material. 8. Another spoken word section begins this final part, which leads into a dynamic and perhaps the best piece in the album, a catchy drum pattern with bursts of guitar and bass lurching in and out. The lyrics here are very pointed against capitalism. This inital part goes for about 5 minutes before it evolves back to the feedbacky intro, with feedback obscuring the last few minutes, as we have a brief reprise of the opening tune, albeit darker and more focused.
Overall, wow. I've heard this album many times now, and it improves more upon each listen. Though the more crust punk elements may turn off sludge metal fans, as well as the highly dynamic nature of the music in visiting many styles across its 41 minute runtime, I highly recommend it to anyone with an open ear and mind. This is the environmentally concerned album that earth lovers needed blasting to incite some real social change.