Given some of the artists and releases I’ve seen over the past year or so, I made an educated guess and thought to myself…I COULD cover the EP’s now, BUT, odds on the tracks will be bundled into a full length album of some sort somewhere down the line, so I’ll save myself the hassle and wait for the album. This…was a mistake. Having checked up on the duo (Consisting of guitarist/vocalist Ted Gloom and drummer/vocalist Nick Tooms) I find that no…they have not bundled things into one album…oh no…they have in fact now got fucking FOUR EP’s on the go. They keep this up and I’m going to be taken over by some sort of sludge metal mitosis…so let’s get this out of the way.
We’ll start off with “Eyeless Void” and its title track, and it’s got about as much momentum as a set of church bells before a minute’s silence. I actually thought the track was stuck on a loop, until it eventually shifts up a gear…though by that I mean it just, does the same with a couple more BPM. This is such a monotonous, deep chugging affair; it’s actually more of a pointless void. If you manage to sit through it mind at the five and half minute mark it does actually come to life a bit, but by then, really, who cares? “Rot Covered Gold” if anything is inaccurate because gold doesn't rot in the conventional sense, so there’s that…and the song itself is more of the same, thought at least we have vocals this time. Sparse, but they are there; echoed and torn in anguish like they too are lost in this void. “Flayed One” seems to showcase more urgency with the more continuous riff work and suspenseful key changes, though it ultimately slows down to more of the same, before we round off with a cover of HELL HAMMER’s “Third Of Storms” from 1983’s “Satanic Rites”. Naturally, nearly four decades on, the production will sound better…but the fuzzy, distorted barrage of sludge detracts from the rawness of the early black metal, and the slower tempo does nothing for it…
Next up we have the “Entombed Black Earth” EP and we kick off with “Sea Farers Lament” and while the intro suggests we’re going to have some cleaner, or smoother production quality, we’re soon back to normal with the same sludge-thick riffs and more of the almost vacuous vocals that sound, again, lost…or maybe appropriately entombed. It sounds like he’s singing into one of those old children’s toy microphones that make your voice all warbly and echoed for a while. “Mongrel Dog”, has certain atmospheric elements, giving off a cold, icy tone, while the title track, “Astral Witch” and “Titan Blood” all share similar tropes and qualities, and very little differentiates either from the other. Here is where I realise, after fifty minutes of music, I should have run the review back when I was first aware of these two EP’s…now I have two more…please improve.
The third EP is “Mankind Is Unkind” and given the current state of the world with the events that are unfolding, that statement couldn’t possibly be any truer. “Old Lore” gets us underway here and there’s a brief spoken word segment about flipping over to side B, so maybe I was meant to listen to this last? I don’t know…but it doesn’t take long for those sluggish, chugging, doom-inspired riffs to take command of the track. They have perked up a LITTLE bit however, as proven towards the climax of “Bachanalian”, where they up the ante in terms of the thrashier aspects of their metal, and it’s here a pattern is clearer. Slow, lethargic sludge thick metal, quick bursts of blackened thrash and then back to the dolorous doom rich riffs. It’s practically copy and paste…speaking of which, we have the “Sonic Colossus” EP. It’s essentially just the “Entombed…” EP remastered, but they’ve replaced “Mongrel…” with a new title track…that’s all it is. That track itself has another lengthy, drawn out intro, before we randomly have a sound bite from the famous “Daddy Chill” video, where the old dude demands “What the hell is even that?!”…and that right there perfectly summarises this series of EP’s for me.
While there are glimmers of hope and interest scattered across these four EP’s, like the switches in tonality here and there that allow some of the riffs to sound more varied, and where the blackened thrash aspects work best despite being underutilised, the vast majority of the recordings here follow too much of the same formula, let alone the recycled tracks. Yes I know that, any doom-inspired audio is going to run the risk of being slow, labouring and monotonous, but this level of rinse and repeat is the sludge metal equivalent of ED SHEERAN…now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to have my ears syringed with a use heroin needle.