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

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

CROWBAR Broken Glass Album Cover Broken Glass
CROWBAR
4.80 | 11 ratings
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CULT OF LUNA A Dawn To Fear Album Cover A Dawn To Fear
CULT OF LUNA
4.82 | 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 | 8 ratings
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CULT OF LUNA Mariner (with Julie Christmas) Album Cover Mariner (with Julie Christmas)
CULT OF LUNA
4.75 | 5 ratings
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NEUROSIS Times Of Grace Album Cover Times Of Grace
NEUROSIS
4.39 | 36 ratings
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CROWBAR Odd Fellows Rest Album Cover Odd Fellows Rest
CROWBAR
4.50 | 11 ratings
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ISIS Panopticon Album Cover Panopticon
ISIS
4.33 | 62 ratings
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NEUROSIS Through Silver In Blood Album Cover Through Silver In Blood
NEUROSIS
4.34 | 52 ratings
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MASTODON Crack The Skye Album Cover Crack The Skye
MASTODON
4.29 | 100 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

LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR War Metal Battle Master

Album · 2008 · Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"War Metal Battle Master" is the 3rd full-length studio album by US, Chicago based metal act Lair of the Minotaur. The album was released through Southern Lord Recordings in March 2008. It´s the successor to "The Ultimate Destroyer" from 2006 and features one lineup change since the predecessor as drummer Larry Herweg has been replaced by Chris Wozniak. The remaining part of the three-piece lineup are vocalist/guitarist Steven Rathbone and bassist Donald James Barraca.

Stylistically the material on "War Metal Battle Master" is a direct continuation of the sludge/doom/thrash metal style of the two predecessors. It´s a raw, organic, and mean extreme metal style, which draws elements from many subgenres of heavy metal. Lair of the Minotaur have always been quite eclectic and anarcistic in the way they play and write music, and that tendency is continued here. You´re never quite sure where a song will go and that´s a great quality to my ears. It´s not like the tracks feature anything odd or anything out of place, but they are often rather unpredictable and it keeps the listener on his/her toes throughout the playing time.

The basis of the music is predominantly heavy riffs and rhythms (either a bit thrashy or a bit more heavy doomy/sludgy) and Rathbone´s aggressive shouting or snarling vocals. And that´s pretty much it. It´s all about the furious expression and raw energy, and that part Lair of the Minotaur convey in a most convincing way. Sometimes it feels like you´re in the room with them while they are playing, smelling the sweat, the blood, and tears, that´s how organic and raw this sounds. It´s not only about the ferocious performances though, as Lair of the Minotaur are skilled musicians and composers too. Just because the performances are raw and organic, it doesn´t mean that everything aren´t performed with skill and precision. These guys just understand the importance of a human touch and the importance of delivering your music with conviction and a burning passion.

The material on the 8 track, 39:31 are well written, catchy, and memorable. It may take a few listens to fully absorb because of the relatively anarcistic nature of the tracks, but there are plenty of hooks to hold on to throughout the album. Killer riffs and shout-along vocal phrases, and who doesn´t love song titles like "Black Viper Barbarian Clan", "When the Ice Giants Slayed All", and "Horde of Undead Vengeance"?...now that´s pure heavy metal class.

"War Metal Battle Master" features a suitingly powerful, raw, and organic sounding production job, and upon conclusion it´s a high quality release through and through. To my ears the band lost a bit of their raw charm on "The Ultimate Destroyer (2006)" (although it´s still a great album) compared to the savage rawness of the debut album, but "War Metal Battle Master" restores the ferocious attack on the senses that the debut album delivered. Paired with slightly more mature songwriting "War Metal Battle Master" is the right step forward for Lair of the Minotaur and a 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

NEUROSIS Souls at Zero

Album · 1992 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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SilentScream213
This was one of the biggest surprises in my course of listening to Metal evolve chronologically, for a few reasons. First of all, I hadn’t been a fan of Sludge Metal or Neurosis so far, so my expectations were something very different. Second of all wow, it’s breathtaking, especially considering absolutely nothing sounded like this in 1992, not even close. The layering, atmosphere, and building crescendos here are what would become the genre of Post-Metal, as well as Atmospheric Sludge.

Despite that terminology, this album has much more in common with Doom than any prior Sludge, and that’s why I love it! It’s all pessimistic melancholy and gloomy angst here, built on anxious, depressive but often melodic and sometimes beautiful melodies. The slow, plodding tempo is accented nicely by interesting rhythm work. The vocals are the only trait really reminiscent of Sludge, being a hardcore punk-esque strained yell that works wonders against the grim soundscapes. The desperation and angst in the vocals is ferociously convincing.

The core band creates some amazing instrumental soundscapes, the guitars especially doing some very interesting things I couldn’t begin to describe to add to the wall of punishment. It sounds dissonant, but never chaotic; very well constructed and orchestrated to add unique layers to the sound. However, possibly the most interesting factor to this album are the samples and other instruments/keys used quite liberally. The samples effectively convey some hopeless situation or another, and add to that overall anxiety purveying every moment. The other editions are endless… piano, violin, big band hits, horns, and more. Some are obviously synthed, so it might all be the work of keys, but it adds so much to the already very strong arrangements.

Something I noticed were a lot of moments that reminded me of one of my favorite bands, Mar de Grises (before now I hadn’t heard anything that really did). I think that shows the clear Doom sound here as well as the Post-Metal influence on the later band. Anyway, this thing is very nearly a masterpiece, huge variety and immense quality. A few fillers hold it down, but the heights are vast.

MELVINS Lysol

Album · 1992 · Sludge Metal
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SilentScream213
It’s not really Drone Metal, it’s more like Sludge Metal and Drone for the most part kept separate. Anyway, aside from adding 10 minute feedback sections to their album, it sounds like what Melvins have been doing for a while now; monotonous, generic Sludge Metal. I will say there are times where the guitars die down and the bass provides some nice undertones, but most of it is quite boring. The 10 minute drone section is also entirely a chore, with nothing interesting going on at any time.

Melvins continue to make abrasive, experimental albums that are simply not for me.

INTRONAUT Void

Album · 2006 · Atmospheric Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"Void" is the debut full-length studio album by US progressive/sludge metal act Intronaut. The album was released through Goodfellow Records in August 2006. It saw a slightly more prolific label release (in Europe) through Lifeforce Records in November 2006 (featuring the bonus track "Fragments Of Character"). Intronaut formed in 2004 and released the "Null" EP in February 2006. The quartet lineup who recorded the EP is intact on "Void".

The first thing I always notice when putting on an Intronaut release is the high level musicianship. "Void" is of course no exception to that rule, and there are several moments of skillful jaw-dropping playing and great interplay between the musicians here. So we´re off to a good start with the impact of the great musical performances. Stylistically the music is progressive sludge metal featuring raw hardcore shouted/semi-growling vocals. The vocals are probably the least interesting thing about the album, although they are well performed and definitely get the job done. They just don´t stand out much from the vocals on other similar contemporary releases. It´s especially the rhythm section which are exceptionally well playing and who drives the music forward with powerful, organic, and groove oriented beats and rhythm patterns (often fusion influenced but also very percussive in style). That part of the music is very busy but still in a tasteful way.

The tracks are dynamic and features both hard edged distorted riffs and aggressive vocals, and more mellow sections. There are quite a few longer instrumental sections on the tracks, which are where the band really shine. The album is loaded with creative songwriting ideas and "Void" can definitely be labelled an adventurous release. "Void" not only features high level musicianship, and creative songwriting, but also features a professional, powerful, and detailed sound production which suits the material perfectly.

Upon conclusion this is pretty uncompromising music and while I almost always praise such an approach, I still think a few more catchy moments would have made "Void" a slightly better album, but if you enjoy heavy, rhytmic, and groove oriented progressive metal with aggressive raw vocals, and unconventional song structures, this is a recommended listen. A 3.5 - 4 star (75%) rating is deserved.

CROWBAR Crowbar

Album · 1993 · Sludge Metal
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UMUR
"Crowbar" is the eponymously titled 2nd full-length studio album by US, New Orleans based sludge metal act Crowbar. The album was released through Pavement Music in October 1993. It´s the successor to "Obedience Thru Suffering" from 1991. There´s been one lineup change since the predecessor as guitarist Kevin Noonan has been replaced by Matt Thomas.

The material on the 10 track, 36:01 minutes long album continue the heavy and groove laden sludge metal style of "Obedience Thru Suffering (1991)", but the band successfully add a little more melody and a slightly more varied songwriting approach. When that is said, "Crowbar" isn´t the most varied album around, an a little more variation between tracks wouldn´t have hurt. Sometimes it all becomes a little too formulaic. Thankfully the skillful instrumental execution and Kirk Windstein´s angry despair filled vocal delivery often save the day, and you´ll find plenty of crushingly heavy riffs and delicious heavy grooves throughout the album.

"Crowbar" is a bleak album with a dark and depressive atmosphere, featuring lyrics which deal with pain, suffering, loss, and...well more suffering. Windstein comes off as quite discontent, combining his raw aggressive vocals with the occasional more melancholic tone. The album features a powerful, raw, and detailed sound production, which suits the material perfectly. So upon conclusion this self-titled release is a quality sophomore studio album by Crowbar. It´s obviously a lot more focused than the debut album, and the songwriting is generally also of a higher quality. A 3.5 star (70%) 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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