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 was originally a largely American phenomenon, but also included in its development 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.

Atmospheric Sludge Metal

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

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Bosh66 (leader)

sludge metal top albums

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CULT OF LUNA A Dawn To Fear Album Cover A Dawn To Fear
CULT OF LUNA
4.89 | 5 ratings
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CROWBAR Broken Glass Album Cover Broken Glass
CROWBAR
4.80 | 6 ratings
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NEUROSIS Souls at Zero Album Cover Souls at Zero
NEUROSIS
4.52 | 13 ratings
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NEUROSIS Times Of Grace Album Cover Times Of Grace
NEUROSIS
4.35 | 28 ratings
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ISIS Panopticon Album Cover Panopticon
ISIS
4.30 | 55 ratings
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MASTODON Crack The Skye Album Cover Crack The Skye
MASTODON
4.24 | 92 ratings
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NEUROSIS Through Silver In Blood Album Cover Through Silver In Blood
NEUROSIS
4.27 | 44 ratings
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ISIS Oceanic Album Cover Oceanic
ISIS
4.23 | 43 ratings
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INTRONAUT Prehistoricisms Album Cover Prehistoricisms
INTRONAUT
4.31 | 15 ratings
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MASTODON Leviathan Album Cover Leviathan
MASTODON
4.17 | 83 ratings
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MELVINS
4.42 | 6 ratings
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CULT OF LUNA Vertikal Album Cover Vertikal
CULT OF LUNA
4.22 | 15 ratings
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sludge metal Music Reviews

LORD MANTIS Universal Death Church

Album · 2019 · Sludge Metal
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Kev Rowland
Lord Mantis had actually split up following the death of drummer/founder Bill Bumgardner, but vocalist/bassist Charlie Fell and guitarist/vocalist Andrew Markuszewski decided get things going again. Guitarist Ken Sorceron of Abigail Williams had been a member on their last album ‘Death Mask’, and they also brought back honorary vocalist/member Dylan O’Toole of Indian as well as a new drummer in Bryce Butler. I have been reading various reviews about this album online, and they all seem to give it universal acclaim, so it is fairly obvious I am missing something as to me this fails on most accounts.

To describe this music is to say they have brought together elements of sludge, doom and black metal and produced something which to my mind manages to miss the highlights of any of those genres. I can understand what they are trying to achieve, but it is rare indeed that it actually accomplishes anything of note. There are bits and pieces here and there where the light shines on what is otherwise an impenetrable mess, but the fans seem to like it. They are trying to blend together very different styles indeed and move from one extreme to another without ever really capturing any solid ideas or anything different. There is just nothing here for me to get excited about and while it isn’t an awful record there isn’t actually contained within it that makes me want to play it more than I have had to so I could write about it and I am fairly confident I will never play it again.

PELICAN Nighttime Stories

Album · 2019 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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The Angry Scotsman
6 years since their last release, Pelican shows they are still a force to be reckoned with.

This album continues their drift from post metal to, well not quite sure what to call it. Instrumental progressive sludge metal? Perhaps atmospheric metal is the most fitting genre to lump it under. What I call it is: awesome.

"Nighttime Stories" is in some ways classic Pelican, (super heavy, killer riffs, grooves, and melodies, quiet peaceful movements) but in some ways quite different. For one, I was quite shocked to here blast beats. In general, "Nighttime Stories" is less "post" and more riff oriented metal. Don't get me wrong, Pelican has always been based on the almighty riff, but here their songs continue their shorter trajectory, all except one clocking in at under 7 minutes, and there's less collective wall of sound, long building sound and more traditional riffy driven metal songs.

This is not unwelcome. It keeps the band fresh, and given the countless number of post metal bands that have faded away with the tide of that genre, I'm glad to see some of the founders of it managing to fight past and stay relevant. This is not to say there isn't still wonderful atmospheres created, because their are, as well as some of the classic slowly progressing old school sound.

The music on "Nighttime Stories" is not as compelling or thought provoking as older Pelican, it's not quite as energetic as some newer, and I found the drumming a bit lackluster, but the music is still interesting enough to hold up without any vocals. The major driver of this album is its biggest difference from previous output: emotion. This is a very emotional work. Not surprising giving the band's various difficulties and changes, and it really comes out. It can't be put into words, but you feel it.

FOUR STARS

INTRONAUT Fluid Existential Inversions

Album · 2020 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Since the dawn of the post-metal / atmospheric sludge metal combo pack style that Neurosis delivered with its phenomenally original “Souls At Zero” all the way back in 1992, the two closely and often overlapping styles of metal have really covered it all having cross-pollinated with black metal, folk metal, drone metal and beyond but there have been a lot of copycats out there as well. For every Isis there are 10 Pelican sounding bands but even in the fast riding populated style of music that really took off in the 2000s some bands managed to craft a sound that stood on its own. INTRONAUT is one such band that immediately caught the attention of the metal world with its debut album “Void” and has pretty much continued to crank out a series of strong original albums ever since.

While this LA based band has been fairly consistent in delivering a new release every two to three years, it’s been five long ones since the release of “The Direction Of Last Things” and finally in 2020 makes a comeback with the band’s sixth overall full-length studio release FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS and with a moniker that connotes a mental inner journey into the vast metaphysical universe that lies within, this album title continues the nebulous mental quandaries of the reality we find ourselves existing in and cranks out nine tracks of the band’s impressive progressive and even jazzy fusion mixes of crunchy sludge metal magic with atmospheric post-rock meanderings with psychedelic extras.

One of the most substantial changes between the half decade absence of the great INTRONAUT is the departure of long time drummer Danny Walker who left the band in 2018 but the great news is that he was replaced by a seasoned tech metal type named Alex Rudinger who has played with a large number of metal bands including Azrael, Burning Shadows, Conquering Dystopia, The Faceless, Good Tiger, The HAARP Machine, Ordinance, Samadhi and Threat Signal. While technically just a session musician, his drumming prowess amplifies INTRONAUT’s strengths and keeps these guys firmly placed in the big boy’s world of progressive sludge metal while other bands like Mastodon and Baroness seem to be wimping out and aiming for more crossover appeal. INTRONAUT continues to stand proud in its time signature rich stamped of sludgy riffs and psychedelic atmospheric excursions.

The beauty of INTRONAUT is that while keeping the same basic stylistic approach that started from the beginning, this band manages to keep quality control with every album just different enough from what came before and in the process manages to consistently deliver an excellent album’s worth of progressive sludgy post-metal with psychedelic accoutrements. FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS is no exception to this rule. In many ways, this album is like a synopsis of the band’s entire run. Not only does it include some of the heavier growly vocal fueled sludge attacks as heard on “Void” but also delivers a fair amount of clean vocal led atmospheric post-metal sounds that peaked on “Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones).” Add in an amazingly crisp clean production that captures the perfect essential oils of both the metallic fury and clean passages and you have a freekin winner of an album.

Personally i think INTRONAUT probably peaked with its sophomore album “Prehistorians” which captured its sound in perfect balance but despite that fact the band has been very consistent in crafting really complex yet compelling albums ever since and that certainly has not ended with FLUID EXISTENTIAL INVERSIONS. While i would prefer that the band venture into more explorations beyond their comfort zone, i’m quite aware that they are walking that tightrope act of pleasing the old fans while trying to attract the new and for that effort i have to say that this album is the perfect mix of what has come before even if no new elements have been added other than the tight-knit instrumental interplay that includes the new drummer. While this album may not expand on the band’s previous stylistic approach in any way, for true fans this will not disappoint one little bit. This is another strong INTRONAUT album that delivers the goods.

THE OCEAN Aeolian

Album · 2005 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Aeolian" is the 2nd full-length studio album by German sludge/post metal/hardcore act The Ocean (sometimes referred to as The Ocean Collective). The album was released through Metal Blade Records in November 2005. "Aeolian" is the second part of a two album project that started with "Fluxion (2004)". As far as I understand the tracks for the two albums were written and recorded during the same sessions, but the band (or the label?) decided to release the most atmospheric and orchestral material on "Fluxion" and the more aggressive and direct material on "Aeolian".

...it´s definitely an interesting approach and to my ears "Fluxion" started the project pretty successfully. "Aeolian" is definitely the harder edged ugly monster sibling. The level of aggression and the amount of chugging riffs are much higher on "Aeolian" than the case was on "Fluxion", and "Aeolian" is not at all as atmospheric or as sophisticated as "Fluxion" either (although not completely devoid of atmospheric moments). We´re still dealing with fairly technical playing and complex compositions, but the emphasis is on aggression and heavy riffing. The vocals are predominantly raw and shouting type sludge/hardcore vocals. There are as many as 6 different vocalists who contribute to the album, so the vocal style also changes from deep semi-growling, to harsh hardcore screaming, to aggressive barking.

While all material on the 10 track, 55:32 minutes long album is well written and performed, there is a slight identity crisis heard throughout the album, and it´s like The Ocean can´t decide if they want to play metal or hardcore (there are several predominantly hardcore oriented tracks on the album). There´s even a wiff of metalcore/melodic death metal featured at one point, so it´s not a stylistically consistent release. Wether that´s a weakness or a strength is up for discussion, but personally I found the band´s adventurous approach to musical styles relatively intriguing, albeit not always equally successful. Highlights include "The City in the Sea" and "Inertia", which are the two tracks that bookends the album. Especially the latter is a great track, but all material on the album is of a good quality.

"Aeolian" features a well sounding and powerful production, which suits the material well and the musicianship is on a high level on all posts. So upon conclusion "Aeolian" is through and through a high quality release. Compared to it´s sister release "Fluxion", "Aeolian" is slightly less interesting though, but a 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is still deserved.

MELVINS Ozma

Album · 1989 · Sludge Metal
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Unitron
The second best grunge album of 1989.

Out of all of the classic 80's and 90's Melvins albums, Ozma seems to go past the radar, being stuck between the groundbreaking Gluey Porch Treatments and the classic Bullhead. However, I've always felt that Ozma shows the band at their grungiest and sludgiest best.

Most of the songs are short, with only two songs going over 3 minutes, but shattering. Dale Crover's drumming lumbers along and is straight to the point, but thunderously powerful. Don't know if it's the production, how much force he's using, or both, but I'd say this is one of the heaviest drum sounds I've heard on any album. Special mention to the cymbal tapping of Revulsion / We Reach, the relatively quiet tapping makes the pounding that much more effective.

Buzz's dooming power riffing and Lori Black's heavy bass also drawls along, and the former's always eccentric vocal styling creates the definitive Melvins experience. Just turn on opener Vile, and you'll know what you're in for. Other favorite tracks include Oven, Green Honey, instrumental Love Thing, and the fantastic grunge sludge cover of The Cars' Candy-O.

Short and sludgy at it's finest.

sludge metal movie reviews

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
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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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