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.

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

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CROWBAR Broken Glass Album Cover Broken Glass
CROWBAR
4.76 | 12 ratings
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CULT OF LUNA A Dawn To Fear Album Cover A Dawn To Fear
CULT OF LUNA
4.74 | 10 ratings
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CULT OF LUNA Mariner (with Julie Christmas) Album Cover Mariner (with Julie Christmas)
CULT OF LUNA
4.79 | 8 ratings
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NEUROSIS Souls at Zero Album Cover Souls at Zero
NEUROSIS
4.48 | 22 ratings
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CROWBAR Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form Album Cover Sonic Excess In Its Purest Form
CROWBAR
4.62 | 9 ratings
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NEUROSIS Times Of Grace Album Cover Times Of Grace
NEUROSIS
4.39 | 36 ratings
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ISIS Panopticon Album Cover Panopticon
ISIS
4.34 | 63 ratings
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CROWBAR Odd Fellows Rest Album Cover Odd Fellows Rest
CROWBAR
4.47 | 12 ratings
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NEUROSIS
4.32 | 53 ratings
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JULIE CHRISTMAS Mariner (with Cult Of Luna) Album Cover Mariner (with Cult Of Luna)
JULIE CHRISTMAS
4.69 | 4 ratings
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INTRONAUT Prehistoricisms Album Cover Prehistoricisms
INTRONAUT
4.33 | 17 ratings
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sludge metal Music Reviews

FUDGE TUNNEL Creep Diets

Album · 1993 · Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"Creep Diets" is the 2nd full-length studio album by UK, Nottingham based metal act Fudge Tunnel. The album was released through Earache Records in April 1993. Fudge Tunnel was formed in 1988 and released the "Sex Mammoth" EP in 1989 and "The Sweet Sound of Excess" EP in 1990. The band´s debut full-length studio album "Hate Songs in E Minor" followed in 1991. The trio lineup who recorded the debut album is intact on "Creep Diets".

Stylistically the material on "Creep Diets" also reek consistency as the the tracks more or less are a natural continuation of the material on "Hate Songs in E Minor (1991)". Sludgy riffs, hypnotic heavy grooves, industrial influences, and touches of alternative/noise rock. The vocals are raw and shouted (often effect laden and relatively low in the mix), but oddly sedated/monotone for that vocal style. It´s the heavy grooves and riffs which are in focus at all times though and Fudge Tunnel shine in that department. The tracks are often a bit simple and repetitive in nature, and there isn´t that much variation between them (although a few tracks stand out as a bit different), but if you manage to lock on to the irresistable almost hypnotic heavy grooves, variation matters less.

"Creep Diets" features a raw organic sound production, which brings out the best of the trio format. Personally I would have prefered the vocals a bit more up front in the mix, but that´s just a personal preference, and it´s definitely a conscious production choice to place them relatively low in the mix. Upon conclusion "Creep Diets" is a quality sophomore album by Fudge Tunnel. It´s not quite as surprising or fresh sounding as "Hate Songs in E Minor (1991)" was when that album was released, and it´s overall a slightly less interesting album than its direct predecessor, but a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

CONJURER I

EP · 2016 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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BitterJalapeno
Conjurer is arguably amongst the most exciting and most hyped bands in the UK metal scene today, receiving raving reviews from big players in the alternative music media. While this praise is fully warranted, 2016’s EP “I” has been overshadowed and undeservedly left behind.

Opener “Behold the Swine” achieves plenty in its 6-minute run-time. Punishingly heavy riffs lurch underneath anguished growls and screams that come from the depths of hell. The guitar interplay between Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose exhibited here is fantastic – filthy, sludgy riffs, rapid, intricate, thrashy riffs and beautiful clean atmospheric guitar work all play off each other to create a truly monstrous track. As the journey through the EP continues, it becomes apparent just how diverse a palate Conjurer has at this stage of infancy. Post metal, black metal are major influences not to mention the deep grooves which help add maintain rhythmic interest throughout the two tracks which make up the albums centre.

Aside from the combination of barbaric brutality and atmospheric beauty, Conjurer’s other trademark has always been one of overhanging misery and hopelessness. The vile despair projected by the music is perfectly emulated by song titles such as “A Chasm Forged in Dread and Disarray”. The most wretched point on the album is the crushing doom-fest that is the closer “Frail”. “I” also impresses structurally, squeezing touches from a plethora of metal sub-genres into something that feels less a collection of songs but more a single cohesive 23-minute track, leaving the listener’s soul obliterated to dust by the end.

The early EPs of artists are sadly often forgotten by all but the hardcore fanbase and despite Conjurer having evidently developed their songwriting chops significantly with the release of 2018’s “Mire” and further still with 2022s “Páthos”, “I” staunchly stands proudly as the solid foundations for what has rapidly elevated to become a powerhouse of progressive, blackened, post-sludge. A must check for those who have enjoyed the subsequent albums.

WUZOR 4 Way Doom Death Sludge Core Split 12 Inch LP

Split · 2002 · Sludge Metal
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siLLy puPPy
Featuring four distinct underground bands in the world of doom metal, drone metal and sludge metal, 4 WAY SPLIT 12 INCH LP is a vinyl only release that features the Belgian sludge drone metal band THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, the American sludge metal / experimental noise rock band SLOTH, the American sludge metal / punk band WUZOR and the Finnish sludge doom metal band D O M. Oh and limited to 400 hand-numbered copies.

SLOTH clearly is the winner of this competition with three tracks but the tracks are on the shorter side whereas the other bands have longer ones. THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN, WUZOR and D O M all have one track each but each passes the 9-minute mark on this 52-minute split. This album was released on the Painiac label in 2002.

THEE PLAGUE OF GENTLEMEN are first up with “Eternal Frost” which is a monotonous doom metal track with an incessant drone effect. The 13-minute track basically is a slow stomp with irregular beats and highly distorted guitars that offer more distortion than actual playing but it’s an effective monstrous beast complete with growly shouted vocals.

Next up SLOTH with a filthy lo-fi approach that mixes noise rock with sludge metal with the track “Pez”. The raspy vocals are subdued in the murky mix and sound like a black metal vocalist is trying to bleed through the noise. Musically this is fairly simple with a repetitive riffing style but some creepy keyboards take this into a more horrific mood. This one is short but effectively creepy as fuck.

Closing out the A side of the vinyl is the sludge punk band WUZOR from the San Francisco Bay Area cranking out a live track of noisy punk fueled sludge metal with doom metal riffs with the track “Beneath an Angry Sky / Fall Into the Sky.” This is a sludgy slow paced crawling track with thick guitar distortion and angrily screamed punk style vocals shouting from beneath the din. The drumming and playing style is more in the vein of sludge metal but the molasses slow tempo is doomy.

And another from SLOTH titled “You Band Plays Benefit Shows.” Quite different than the other SLOTH track. This one is slow and doomy however the vocals are shouted like a post-punk Fugazi and there’s some weird sound that sounds like the record is skipping. Whether this is intentional or a glitch i’m not sure but it’s kinda irritating. Also this isn’t as noisy. The guitars have a cleaner and clearer tone. This one is kind of boring.

The only track from the Finnish band D O M titled “Hypnos” is perfectly titled and is a sprawling drone metal dirge that mixes extremely slow doom metal with droning and creepy guitar echoes. The vocals are shouted in a sludge metal way. This is probably the most detached track on the split. It sort of drifts like a Krautrock jam only with heavy distorted guitars and period vocals shouting from a distance. The groove is rather repetitive but effective. Not sure it warrants a 16-minute playing time but nice passive lo-fi sludginess. There are some cool psychedelic effects in the latter half. Even some bluesy Black Sabbath styled guitar soloing.

And for the grand finale, another track from SLOTH! “Success at Suicide” is the noisiest track on the SPLIT and a much more interesting extreme track than the middle SLOTH one. This is very chaotic sounding with out of tune guitar riffs and subdued screaming vocals breaking through the murky din. I really love the guitar tone on this one as its raw and filthy as fuck. Sludgy tones and timbres combined with doom metal drudgery in the tempo and a anarchic punk attitude make this one stand out above the rest to my ears. Also features some atonal keyboard runs that provide an avant-prog sort of counterpunch.

Never heard any of these bands before i checked out this SPLIT but they all sound worthy of exploring further. This is an evil as fuck sounding murky mess of an album though. This is lo-fi and as out of focus as the album cover artwork but it’s all so raw and grungy sounding as well which is a cool mix of elements when i’m craving some true underground band action lurking in the darkest recesses of the music industry. A cool SPLIT for sure but only for a once in a while experience.

ACID BATH When The Kite String Pops

Album · 1994 · Sludge Metal
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SilentScream213
One of the most eclectic Metal albums of its time, and certainly not something I expected from the Sludge Metal genre. About half the songs are true Sludge Metal, and even those are rife with other influences, namely Stoner and Avant-Garde Metal. Then there’s a bunch of straight Stoner Metal, some Acoustic Rock, Folky stuff… At times it really sounds like if First Utterance was a Metal album.

The music itself is pretty straightforward, it’s just combined in ways that make it less conventional. The lyrics on the other hand, are absolutely nonsensical and bizarre. The overall package is most certainly a decent representation of a mentally ill psycho going through drug addled hallucinations.

At over an hour long, the variety definitely helps differentiate the songs and retain interest. The album does a good job of switching between speedier, aggressive material and slower or gentler songs, keeping the pacing even. Unfortunately, while surprisingly consistent for the variety and length, it doesn’t have many great songs. Most of them are good with a few standouts like “Cassie Eats Cockroaches” and “Scream of the Butterfly,” but there’s nothing here I care to return to in the future.

DRIDGE Curing

Album · 2021 · Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"Curing" is the debut full-length studio album by US, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania based doom/sludge/hardcore/noise rock act Dridge. The album was released through World Gone Mad Records in June 2021. Formed in 2011 Dridge´s preceding releases are the 2013 "Gritual" EP and the 2020 "Ruby" EP.

Dridge started out playing death/doom metal on the "Gritual" (2013) EP, but they significantly changed their style and sound on the "Ruby" (2020) EP, which features an experimental noise rock/hardcore/sludge/doom metal style, which is very hard to define. The material on "Curing" continue in the same "hard to define" sound of "Ruby" (2020) (with some additions and alterations, which will be described below). It´s noisy, heavy, dark, angsty, depressive, hypnotic, and almost ritualistic in style. I hear influences from early 80s post-punk artists (especially from Killing Joke), but unlike the material on "Ruby" (2020), Dridge have opted to include more distorted heavy sections again, which means that "Curing" occasionally is a pretty hard-edged, aggressive, and heavy release. The heavy distorted sections often remind me of Fudge Tunnel. Heavy, groove laden, and fuzz toned riffs, which make you want to bang your head and enter the mosh pit.

The vocals vary between angsty singing/speaking type vocals to aggressive shouting hardcore vocals. While the music style on "Ruby" (2020) certainly was intriguing, the addition of distorted and aggressive heavy parts to the atmospheric hypnotic post-punk sections is a wise move, as it makes "Curing" a much more varied release, and ultimately also lifts Dridge to a level where they deserve a lot of attention. So the songwriting is both adventurous, varied, and memorable, and add to that strong musicianship and a raw and powerful sounding production, and "Curing" is upon conclusion a high quality release from Dridge. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

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
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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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