Sludge Metal

MetalMusicArchives.com — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of progarchives.com

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.

Post Sludge / Atmospheric Sludge metal This metal movement takes influences from post-rock as well as from sludge metal. 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

Post-metal as with atmospheric sludge is a genre that uses metal music to create a sound that draws heavily on atmospheres and textures.

This approach was used by many sludge metal bands including ISIS, Neurosis and Pelican, combining post-rock techniques with sludge metal. Bands in other genres including black metal and doom also combined those styles with atmospheric elements to create metal best described as atmospheric black metal or atmospheric doom metal (or atmospheric folk metal etc). Those bands are listed in MMA under atmospheric sludge metal, atmospheric black metal, doom metal or whatever core style best describes them.

A number of bands originally rooted in those styles moved away from their original sludge (or other) metal roots, increasingly focusing on the post-metal elements of their sound. Others were never based on those styles of metal and took their influences directly from post-rock, adding metal elements to create a more abrasive and expansive sound. These bands are listed as post-metal.

Post-metal is captured as a child-sub of sludge metal on MMA to reflect the stylistic origins of many post-metal bands in atmospheric sludge metal, albeit those origins have largely been left behind.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • Bosh66 (leader)

sludge metal top albums

Showing only albums and EPs | Based on members ratings & MMA custom algorithm | 24 hours caching

CROWBAR Broken Glass Album Cover Broken Glass
CROWBAR
4.82 | 8 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CULT OF LUNA A Dawn To Fear Album Cover A Dawn To Fear
CULT OF LUNA
4.87 | 6 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
NEUROSIS Souls at Zero Album Cover Souls at Zero
NEUROSIS
4.52 | 14 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CROWBAR Odd Fellows Rest Album Cover Odd Fellows Rest
CROWBAR
4.62 | 7 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CULT OF LUNA Mariner (with Julie Christmas) Album Cover Mariner (with Julie Christmas)
CULT OF LUNA
4.81 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
CROWBAR Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form Album Cover Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form
CROWBAR
4.77 | 4 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
NEUROSIS Times Of Grace Album Cover Times Of Grace
NEUROSIS
4.35 | 29 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ISIS Panopticon Album Cover Panopticon
ISIS
4.30 | 57 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
NEUROSIS Through Silver In Blood Album Cover Through Silver In Blood
NEUROSIS
4.28 | 45 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
MASTODON Crack The Skye Album Cover Crack The Skye
MASTODON
4.26 | 93 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
INTRONAUT Prehistoricisms Album Cover Prehistoricisms
INTRONAUT
4.33 | 16 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
ISIS Oceanic Album Cover Oceanic
ISIS
4.21 | 45 ratings
Buy this album from MMA partners
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!

sludge metal online videos

sludge metal New Releases

.. Album Cover
Fast N' Heavy Loud N' Slow
Album
SNOW (SC)
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Nightmares
Album
EXOSPHERE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Another Green Drought
Album
ENRAPTURE
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
The Raging River
Album
CULT OF LUNA
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Songs For The Enamel Queen
Album
BLACK SHEEP WALL
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Tides
Album
NOMADIC RITUALS
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Guide Me Holy Ararat
Album
SEVAN
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Shattered Identity
EP
FUGUE TOMB
Buy this album from MMA partners
.. Album Cover
Working With God
Album
MELVINS
Buy this album from MMA partners

sludge metal Music Reviews

MELVINS Six Songs

EP · 1986 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
siLLy puPPy
While bands like Nirvana and Soundgarden often erroneously get credited for the advent of grunge and alternative forms of metal, in reality another Washington act like Montesano’s MELVINS was taking elements of hardcore punk, classic rock and heavy metal and mixing it all together as early as 1983 when the band was formed by longtime members Buzz Osbourne (vocals, guitars) and Dale Crover (drums) both of whom have been in the band since its formation.

In addition to the alternative grunge scene that would take the world by storm a decade alter, MELVINS were also instrumental in forging sludge metal which has become quite popular in the last few decades as it successfully bridged the gap between hardcore punk and doom metal with its heavily distorted guitar sounds and contrasting slow-down tempos that together offered a unique abrasiveness hitherto unknown in the world of heavy metal.

The band took a few years to hone its sound but by 1986 it unleashed its first release in the form of the EP titled 6 SONGS which threw the disparate genera of hardcore punk, noise rock, grunge and doom metal into the cauldron and crafted the very first example sludge metal at least sludge metal that was fully developed as punk bands like Black Flag often are cited as offering the first clues of where extreme punk and metal were heading.

6 SONGS was originally released as a vinyl 7” and was followed by another EP titled “10 Songs” in 1991 and eventually were released together as the compilation “26 Songs” in 2003. While this EP does play an important role in developing the sludge metal style historically speaking, what is offered here is more akin to unpolished DIY garage punk that incorporated some doom metal elements to make it stand out from any other release of the era and for that it is revered far and wide for its innovative out of the box thinking.

As an entertaining listening experience though i don’t personally find it very satisfying as it is poorly recorded and the tracks aren’t very developed. Not that that’s a bad thing but i’m not a huge MELVINS fan to begin with and there is nothing on this unpolished first offering that particularly stands out as outstanding craftsmanship. As a key pivotal moment in metal history, 6 SONGS is truly noteworthy and should be experienced by all who are interested in the phylogeny of sludge metal but honestly if you’re looking for a primo sludge metal experience you’d have to fast forward to 90s when bands like Neurosis, Acid Bath, Eyehategod and even the MELVINS itself took the subgenre in more interesting directions.

THOU The Helm Of Sorrow (with Emma Ruth Rundle)

EP · 2021 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Necrotica
Something I’ve always loved about Emma Ruth Rundle is her versatility and willingness to do whatever the hell she wants musically. She's done everything from ambient to folk to doom to sludge to post rock to just about everything in between, and pretty much every project she’s brought her style to has flourished and succeeded in its own way. Whether it be her unique guitar work in post-rock group Red Sparowes or her more mellow folk-laden solo work, her greatest idiosyncrasy as a songwriter is the fact that her career never becomes static. Case in point: collaborating with Thou. On paper, it seems like a strange combination; I can’t think of a band Rundle has worked with that’s more crushing and intense than Thou, and you’d almost expect the latter’s sludgy riffs to be at odds with her singing and playing style. But such is not the case, as the “beauty-meets-brutality” aesthetic is exactly what makes this project work.

The Helm of Sorrow is an excellent continuation of the sound Rundle and Thou built together with last year’s May Our Chambers Be Full, still keeping with the latter’s melding of sorrow and intensity. The biggest thing that this collaboration benefits from is the members’ keen sense of dynamics; the music is meticulously composed to account for all the right emotional peaks and valleys, as is important for a lot of doom and post metal. In fact, opener “Orphan Limbs” is almost entirely based around Rundle singing cleanly over soft droning passages, whose guitar is reminiscent of Red House Painters’ brand of slowcore (Down Colorful Hill in particular). Only at roughly the last minute does the band erupt in a volcano of steamrolling guitars and shrieking vocals, and the long buildup just heightens the resonance of the payoff. This is the first time on the entire album we hear this level of intensity, and the slow build within the grim ambiance effectively keeps you on edge the whole time. But this isn’t the only way the dynamics of the record are experimented; “Crone Dance” is pretty much unceasing in its ferocity, and yet Rundle’s lovely vocal inflections add a strange melodicism to such an unrelenting series of sludge riffs. It helps, too, that the guitar tone is absolutely incredible here; it strikes a wonderfully odd middle ground between violent and textured, so you get something that’s equal parts harsh and compelling. And when Rundle and Bryan Funck start singing together on the remaining two tracks “Recurrence” and “Hollywood" (the latter being a Cranberries cover), it starts bringing to mind a certain approach that quickly got run into the ground in a lot of gothic metal: the “beauty-and-the-beast” approach. But I find there’s a difference here, as it feels like it’s done much more in service to the atmosphere rather than to be gimmicky. The downcast riffs are constantly emitting a sense of despair while the mix of clean and harsh vocals brings that perfect balance of sadness and anger; it really feels like I’m listening to “She Painted Fire Across the Skyline Pt. 1” by Agalloch again for the first time.

At this point, it surprises me a bit that Emma Ruth Rundle hasn’t been fully brought onboard as a member of Thou yet. Their respective approaches to these records seem meant for each other, and it’s a wonderful feeling when styles that are normally meant to clash can be brought together so beautifully. Let’s hope we can get another full-length of this kind of music, because 21 minutes - even for an EP - simply feels too short for how great the material is.

SEVAN Guide Me Holy Ararat

Album · 2021 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
BitterJalapeno
Released by Glue Man Records in January 2021, “Guide Me Holy Ararat” is the debut album by New England based sludge metal trio Sevan. Lyrically speaking, the theme of the album is based on the subject of genocide.

The album opener, “Bleeding Crescent” starts with some chilled clean guitarwork and slow rumbling drums backed up by atmospheric vocals. The heaviness soon rears it’s head and when it does, it becomes abundantly clear that Neurosis have been a massive influence on the band – slow, thick and dissonant chords dripping in oily sludge with aggressive vocals pouring out in an angry fashion.

The remainder of the album continues in the above style with a few exceptions. For example, softer vocals feature in the track “Eetch” and demonstrate something of a chanting nature. The album reaches its melodic peak in the closing minutes of “Goddess” before we reach my personal highlight of the album in the form of the final track “Kef” which boasts some beautifully piercing guitar harmonics as it draws the album to a close.

There may be nothing musically groundbreaking here or even anything particularly innovative to be heard but nevertheless, “Guide Me Holy Ararat” is a pretty strong debut album from Sevan and I’m pleased to still see new bands coming out who continue to hold the noble torch of sludge metal high in hand.

ISIS Celestial

Album · 2000 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Unitron
Before Isis really popularized Neurosis' blend of sludge metal and post-rock, with a bunch of mediocre copycats following in their wake and making classic sludge that much harder to find, Celestial showed how earth-shatteringly heavy they could be. Perfectly blending Neurosis' atmospheric take on sludge with the screeching aggression of Floor, this hits a perfect balance that their later albums lost. The title track's massive riff just stomps and stomps and remains one of the most thunderous songs in the entire metal genre.

To not sacrifice the heaviness of sludge or the subtleties of post-rock, they typically don't overlap the two sounds and use post-rock sections for contrast making them that much more atmospheric and the sludge that much sludgier. C.F.T. cools things down throughout a whole song though, and reminds me a lot of Golden Earring's song Silver Ships. It's a mellow ride until its galloping end, but the production and guitar/bass tones still make it a wall of sound.

This is hardcore sludge that can be played alongside both Neurosis and the likes of Crowbar and Floor.

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR Cannibal Massacre

Single · 2005 · Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Cannibal Massacre" is an EP release by US, Chicago based metal act Lair of the Minotaur. The album was released through Southern Lord Recordings in September 2005. It´s the follow-up release to the band´s debut full-length studio album "Carnage" from 2004. Lair of the Minotaur was formed in the spring of 2003 by vocalist/guitarist Steven Rathbone. Rathbone enlisted drummer Larry Herweg (Tusk, Pelican) and bassist Donald James (7000 Dying Rats), to complete the three-piece lineup, who recorded the debut album. "Cannibal Massacre" was recorded by the same trio lineup.

The EP features 2 tracks and a full playing time of 12:54 minutes. The CD version also includes a video for "The Wolf" from "Carnage (2004)". Neither "Cannibal Massacre (Skin Reaping extended mix)" nor "Horns of the Witch" appeared on the debut album though, so we are treated to two new original audio compositions.

Stylistically the material on the EP continues down the raw, noisy, and filthy thrash/doom/sludge metal road as the material on "Carnage (2004)". The sound production is maybe slightly less raw and chaotic sounding than the case was on the debut album, but this is definitely not a polished release either. This is hard-edged, aggressive, and overall an intense musical experience. Lair of the Minotaur are skilled musicians too, so the tight yet organic delivery of the music is worth mentioning, as well as the relatively memorable and adventurous songwriting. This is a melting pot of several different extreme metal styles, and on top of that the band insist on using unconventional song structures, which makes "Cannibal Massacre" a pretty interesting release, but not a particularly accessible one.

It´s the wild energy and savage power which earn them a place in my book, and those elements are great assets to the band´s sound. These guys really sound like they mean it (Rathbone´s vocals are for example delivered with great passion and conviction), and they understand what it takes to deliver this type of music in the most effective way possible, for the greatest impact on the listener. A 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

sludge metal movie reviews

ISIS Clearing The Eye

Movie · 2006 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
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.

Artists with Sludge Metal release(s)

MMA TOP 5 Metal ALBUMS

Rating by members, ranked by custom algorithm
Albums with 30 ratings and more
Master of Puppets Thrash Metal
METALLICA
Buy this album from our partners
Powerslave NWoBHM
IRON MAIDEN
Buy this album from our partners
Moving Pictures Hard Rock
RUSH
Buy this album from our partners
Rust in Peace Thrash Metal
MEGADETH
Buy this album from our partners
Paranoid Heavy Metal
BLACK SABBATH
Buy this album from our partners

New Metal Artists

New Metal Releases

For Those That Wish To Exist Metalcore
ARCHITECTS
Buy this album from MMA partners
The Lighthouse Metalcore
STATE OF AWAKENING
Buy this album from MMA partners
Fall In Line With The Ashes Melodic Metalcore
A SERPENT'S HAND
Buy this album from MMA partners
Pushing The Envelope Metalcore
BASHDOWN
Buy this album from MMA partners
In-Retrospect Metalcore
STRAIGHT SHOT HOME
Buy this album from MMA partners
More new releases

New Metal Online Videos

Von Detta - Devil's Child
VON DETTA
Bosh66· 2 days ago
More videos

New MMA Metal Forum Topics

More in the forums

New Site interactions

More...

Latest Metal News

members-submitted

More in the forums

Social Media

Follow us