Sludge Metal

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Sludge metal generally combines the slow tempos, heavy rhythms and dark, pessimistic atmosphere of doom metal with the aggression, shouted vocals and occasional fast tempos of hardcore punk.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sludge_metal

Post Sludge / Atmospheric Sludge metal This heavy metal movement takes influences from post-rock. While it is in many ways similar to post-rock, post-sludge metal tends to include lower-tuned guitars, darker themes and tones, and heavier drums. Post-sludge stresses emotion, contrasting the ambiance of post-rock with the weight and bombast of metal. Vocals are deemphasized or non-existent, and lyrics tend to be equally abstract: often thematic or philosophical in nature. It is a largely American phenomenon, but also includes some Japanese bands. Bands like Neurosis, Isis, Cult of Luna, and Pelican write lengthy songs (typically five or six per album) that can range from light and guitar-driven to extremely heavy, drum and bass-driven.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post-metal

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Bosh66 (leader)

sludge metal top albums

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MELVINS Houdini Album Cover Houdini
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CROWBAR Broken Glass Album Cover Broken Glass
CROWBAR
4.65 | 5 ratings
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ISIS Panopticon Album Cover Panopticon
ISIS
4.25 | 51 ratings
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DOWN
4.48 | 6 ratings
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MELVINS
4.50 | 5 ratings
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DOWN
4.44 | 6 ratings
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4.20 | 70 ratings
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4.18 | 82 ratings
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This list is in progress since the site is new. We invite all logged in members to use the "quick rating" widget (stars bellow album covers) or post full reviews to increase the weight of your rating in the global average value (see FAQ for more details). Enjoy MMA!

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sludge metal Music Reviews

NEUROSIS Souls at Zero

Album · 1992 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"Souls at Zero" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, California based sludge/post metal act Neurosis. The album was released through Alternative Tentacle Records in May 1992. It´s the successor to "The Word as Law" from 1990 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as Simon McIlroy (keyboards, tapes, samples) has joined Neurosis to make the band a five-piece on "Souls at Zero". Neurosis were formed in 1985 and initially played hardcore punk on their debut album "Pain of Mind (1988)". They continued playing hardcore punk on their sophomore album "The Word as Law (1990)", but on that album slower doomy elements began to appear, and it was obvious on that album that Neurosis were in a transitional process. No one at the time of course knew what they were transforming into, but that is revealed on "Souls at Zero".

Stylistically "Souls at Zero" still features hardcore punk elements, but it´s now only a part of the band´s sound and not the core of their music. The pace has been lowered considerably and while the music is often quite energetic and aggressive, the tempos are mostly slow-to mid-paced. One crushingly heavy riff after another, feed-back noises, samples and sound effect, and loads of adventurous rhythmic combinations are now some of the elements which make up the basis of the music. On top of that the shouting raw hardcore type vocals by Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till. The song structures are unconventional and occasionally even progressive in nature, and listening to the 10 track, 61:24 minutes long album is quite the musical journey.

For examples of the more experimental/progressive ideas found on the album take a listen to the subtle piano in the opening section of the title track, the violin and flute section on "Flight", the use of trumpet on "Sterile Vision", or "Stripped", which in addition to featuring crushingly heavy riffs and almost hypnotic tribal rhythms, also feature violin, orchestral keyboards, and a short medieval choir section. Interesting experimental/progressive features which ensure variation. The use of keyboards/sound effects/samples on many tracks also provide the material with a richer and more dynamic sound. The keyboards/sound effects/samples are not a dominant feature in the soundscape, but still an important part of creating the dark atmosphere of the music.

The album´s greatest strength, in addition to the strong musicianship and powerful and well sounding production, is how well Neurosis combine primal hardcore aggression with slow doomy riffs and rhythms, experimental/progressive ideas, and bleak atmospheric moments. It never sounds contrived. It just flows completely naturally and the many stylistic elements are used to great effect and they are used at the perfect moments throughout the album. Hour long album releases can sometimes be a bit of a chore to get through, and there are often filler material or tedious moments on releases that long, but "Souls at Zero" is one of the exceptions to that rule.

So upon conclusion "Souls at Zero" is a high quality release by Neurosis, which feels a bit like a new beginning for the band. It´s not like their first two releases aren´t worth listening to, but they pretty much sound like they were recorded by another band. "Souls at Zero" signals a new start and a new musical direction, but the journey had just begun, and Neurosis would evolve, and develop and add new ideas and elements to their heavy doomy core sound over the course of their subsequent releases. In that respect "Souls at Zero" is a relatively unique release in their discography. Not only because it´s the first release in their new heavy and experimental/progressive style, but also because it´s still immature and raw in many ways (or maybe stylistically "unfinished" is a better description), which is ultimately greatly charming. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

ACID BATH When the Kite String Pops

Album · 1994 · Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"When the Kite String Pops" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Louisiana based metal act Acid Bath. The album was released through Rotten Records in August 1993 and rather controversially features cover artwork painted by Illinois serial killer John Wayne Gacy, while he was in prison waiting to be executed for his crimes. Acid Bath was a relatively shortlived act who was active between 1991 and 1997 and released two studio albums in that time. The band broke up as a consequence of the death of bassist Audie Pitre, who was killed in a car accident involving a drunk driver.

Stylistically the music on "When the Kite String Pops" is really hard to describe in a suiting manner, because you´ll find everything from stoner rock/metal, sludge metal, hard rock, alternative rock/metal, thrash (even a few death) metal leanings, doom metal, punk/hardcore, and other stylistic elements thrown together to form a very original sounding music style. The eclectic songwriting approach is not completely unlike what you´ll hear on a System of a Down album, but that´s how far the comparison goes.

The music is dark, filthy, raw, and at times ultra heavy (check out the sludgy doom metal riffing on "Dr. Seuss Is Dead"), featuring both clean and distorted raw vocals. Dax Riggs is an incredibly skilled vocalist and his sedated "Layne Staley meets Jim Morrison" type clean vocals and aggressive screaming ditto are delivered with fierce passion and conviction. The band are exceptionally well playing, especially considering that "When the Kite String Pops" is a debut album, and they really manage to make the listener feel their anger, frustration and sadness through their playing and through the adventurous songwriting.

Another asset on "When the Kite String Pops" is the well sounding, hard hittin´ and raw sound production, which brings out the right dark and powerful emotions in the music. The album is 69:10 minutes long and features 14 tracks, and while such a long playing time isn´t always a success, this is one of the exceptions to that rule, as it´s an entertaining and ever changing album throughout the playing time. Overall it´s just a really intriguing and unique sounding release and it´s nearly a mandatory listen for the open minded metal listener. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

NEUROSIS Souls at Zero

Album · 1992 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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Necrotica
Did you feel the shifts? The shift in the tempo, the shift in the style or the shift in the vision of the punk-turned-doom act Neurosis?

Was the eerie Wicker Man-inspired album art a strong enough indication of the change? Or did we have to wait until we heard the content within?

The content within, I must state, is terrifying. Sludge and hellish distortion crush the ears like a trash compactor; the songs are longer, the compositions more complex, and seemingly inching toward the progressive or avant-garde;

"To Crawl Under One's Skin" sets a grim tone, its creepy intro sample a sinister indicator of the following horrors; and what follows? A brilliant mixture of post-metal, doom metal, post-hardcore, and sludge metal with enough menace in its tone to make a seasoned metal fan buckle.

Did you feel the shifts? Did you experience the sea change? Listen to the way the acoustic and electric guitars of the title track bicker and contrast with one another; an cold, tenuous relationship forming a dreary masterpiece of atmosphere as the bizarrely paced piano chromatics seal the deal.

Once in a while, the speed picks up and yet the tension never truly dissipates. The two chords that encompass most of "Flight" rely on instrumental textures and tortured vocals until the acoustic guitar beckons us back to the void.

The content within, I must admit, never ceases to be draining. The further you delve into it, the more it takes from you. Some quiet moments occur, such as the acoustic intro to "Stripped," but it never feels like a respite. The heavy moments plow through like a sledgehammer to the skull and the reflective moments are woeful and depressing.

But that's also the beauty.

Souls at Zero is something of an entrancing horror; much like Requiem for a Dream or Eternal Darkness; the vivid hell it portrays is intoxicating. And just one listen to outro "Empty," with its uneasy acoustic melodies and melancholic electric leads, and you'll feel both gutted and wanting to brave the whole journey again.

Do you feel the shifts? Did you hear the rise of a remarkable force towering over you? Have you heard the utterly disgusting majesty of 90s metal in its prime?

With Souls at Zero, you'll feel it.

PHYLLOMEDUSA Beast Of The East

Album · 2017 · Sludge Metal
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Vim Fuego
So what did you do for Save The Frogs Day, April 29, 2017? Not a thing? Didn’t know such a day even existed? The day is marked every year near the end of April. Don’t know why anyone would give a slimy green shit about frogs? It’s a good thing Phyllomedusa exists then.

OK, it would be hypocritical of me to pretend I’d heard of Save The Frogs Day before I discovered Phyllomedusa. The band’s only member big frog is somewhat obsessed with frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecilians. Not heard of caecilians? Once again, neither had I. Look them up. They are snake-like, burrowing, almost blind amphibians. Besides fantasizing about frogs, big frog makes some incredible, and at times, incredibly challenging, music. He blends grind, noise, and sludge in immense distorted compositions, often overlaid with frog calls and horror movie samples, observed from an avenging amphibian’s angle.

The quality of Phyllomedusa’s music varies greatly. Some releases are so badly recorded they could just be a microphone stuck in a jet engine’s backwash. Other times, it sounds like a Mortician record played at about 4 r.p.m. Fortunately, ‘Beast From The East’ is of a higher quality, a voyage into the deepest sludgy primordial swamps imaginable. There’s no messing around with introductions. First track “Accidental Colonization In The East” drops straight into a massive distorted groove, with big frog snarling over top of it. It is a visitation into a grinding bass driven subterranean world where speakers emanate frequencies nothing man-made has any right to transmit.

There are instruments in there somewhere, but it is impossible to tell where bass and/or guitar ends, drums begin, or what species the vocals are actually coming from. And this happens six times, at various tempos between sluggish and tectonic. There are a few anti-human samples thrown in, but basically, it’s the same massive fucking song repeated again and again. There seems to be little in the way of riffs or distinguishing features differing from song to song, but the overall effect is so heavy, so powerful, so primitive, and so primal it matters not.

There may be incredible herpetological lyrics involved here, but there is no way to understand a single word. Imagine a nine foot long bullfrog with chronic indigestion complaining about it to a neighbour half a mile away and you might have some clue as to what big frog himself sounds like. He groans and burps and croaks his way through the six songs here, never once emanating a sound which sounds even vaguely human.

And to big frog’s message. Why is it important to keep a closer eye on frogs? Being amphibians, frogs spend most of their time in wet or damp conditions. Unlike reptiles, their skin has no scales, and is constantly exposed to the environment. This means frogs are incredibly sensitive to any sort of environmental changes whatsoever. They are in effect unwitting environmental barometers. The current prediction from the frogs? Well, the planet is in the shit, and it seems humans are to blame. Amphibians are generally quite a sturdy bunch. They first crawled from the sea about 370 million years ago, and seemed to like water, so headed for the swamp. Amphibian species seem to have been going extinct of a rate of one per 500 years for most of the intervening eons, until humans came along. Up to 200 species may have disappeared since 1980. The causes for this are man-made- pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.*

We are the murderous, destructive bastards, and big frog wants to see an end to us, to save the frogs and thus the world. We were warned.

*Source: https://www.savethefrogs.com/about/why-frogs/

CAVITY Supercollider

Album · 1999 · Sludge Metal
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666sharon666
Metal Music Archives Reviewer's Challenge: Album selected by aglasshouse.

With some albums you only need to take a glance at its artwork or the artist's logo to make a reasonable guess about what sort of music it is. With albums like Supercollider, the third album by American metal band Cavity, I'd have guessed wrong if I hadn't already been told. You can no more judge an album by its cover than you can a book. I'd have guessed at something in the post-grunge line looking at either the original cover or the 2002 reissue over, but I'd have been dead wrong. But then who could have guessed that this rather unassuming and (in my view) interesting style of cover would be hiding some heavy, semi-doomy, sludge metal?

The 2002 version of this album also brought some changes to its tracklist, adding in two extra ones, Xtoone and ...Who Doesn't Even Know Yet? For some reason the original final song of the album, Almost Blue, was removed in this edition of the album. It's this version of the album that I have listened to. The album has however had another reissue, this time on vinyl, in April 2017 which restores the original 1999 tracklist.

Cavity aren't a band who mess about with their song-writing. Their main focus is heavy, fuzzy riffs. Vocals play a prominent role as well, but their do seem secondary to the guitars. They aren't a showy band though; there isn't any lead guitar to speak of in their music and their writing style tends towards a short track duration. Tracks two (Set in Cinders) through six (Threshold), don't even hit three minutes. Just heavy riffs, with the occasional added bit of full-on doom slowness. I'd also say it has a few stoner metal moments, a genre that some of the band's other albums seem to be more heavily associated with. Here it's just flavour though, like with the doom metal. Supercollider is otherwise a straightforward sludge metal record, out to do one simple job: make those riffs as heavy as possible.

I think they do a pretty decent job at that, but with that said, if you're listening to albums looking for a lot of variation then you won't find too much of it here. As I said before, Cavity aren't a flashy band, so the closest thing you'll get a change of pace with is probably Inside my Spine where the vocals are harsher and more traditional growling rather than the hardcore shouts and raw singing used elsewhere. Xtoone's style also stands out as a bit different but as I said before, this song doesn't exist on the original 1999 version of the album and my honest opinion is that its rather throwaway, so it beats me why the 2002 version added it.

Cavity don't play a style of music I listen to very often but as far as my taste in sludge metal goes they certainly display a raw kind of charm that as a metal fan I find difficult not to smile about. 4 stars.

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ISIS Clearing the Eye

Movie · 2006 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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Triceratopsoil
Probably only really for fans of ISIS (I mean, who else would buy a concert DVD than a fan of the band in question?), but an absolutely great experience. Witness an incredible band at their peak. The main feature here is the full 70 minute performance from Sydney Australia in 2005. Great cinematic camera work, a relaxing and overall fantastic performance of some of the best songs ISIS ever wrote. Top notch. No complaints here, though I'm a giant fanboy so take my opinion with a grain of salt or 10.

Most of the other live videos are curios, though they are quite good - not the same professional sound and video quality as the Australia concert.

I made my mom buy me this for Christmas a few years ago, ahaha

MASTODON The Workhorse Chronicles: The Early Years 2000-2005

Movie · 2006 · Sludge Metal
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Kingcrimsonprog
The Workhorse Chronicles is a must have for any fan of the band. Period. The DVD contains a huge documentary, their first four music videos and live performances of just about every song the band had written up until the touring for Leviathan. The documentary is incredibly informative, with details on how the band formed, inter band relationships, the witting process, touring, their personal lives and what inspires them. Footage from their old bands, their earliest shows and backstage is mixed with candid interviews to let you in on just about every aspect of the band you could think of.

The dvd displays just what a down to earth collection of musicians Mastodon are, never acting like rock stars and always feeling honored to be where they are. While the dvd is completely serious and professional, fans of the band will already know what a humorous bunch of guys they are and will revel in the joking, sarcasm, unusual dreams and even an interview conducted in the shower.

Then you get the live performances taken from several sources, One concert while the band was still a Five Piece playing material off of the then upcomming LifesBlood EP which is recorded by the audience so isn’t of high audio/visual quality. Another Concert is from The Leviathan Tour is a sold out club, with higher Audio/visual quality and a career spanning track listing. Then there are several professionally recorded one off performances for television with superb sound and looks, With songs like ‘Workhorse,’ and ‘Mother Puncher,’ played to the highest standard with crystal clear audio. Finally the music videos which are welcome. Overall this dvd is a must have; with a superb documentary, four videos and an astonishing 29 live songs.

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