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CVLT Nation Top 6
Sludge Albums Of 2013

6. HIVELORDS: Cavern Apothecary

Imagine, if you will, a deep hole that goes on for miles, with no end in sight. Imagine you are at the bottom of this hole, with no light to guide you, and the only way out is upward. This idea of complete nothingness, the blackness that suffocates is the soundscape that Philadelphia’s Hivelords create. It is atmospheric depression, a dystopia crafted through distorted vocals, funeral drumming, and bone-chilling riffs that grab hold of the listener and send them off into its murky depths.

 A followup to 2012’s self-released Grand Comlech, Cavern Apothecary is a more sludgier, more drone-infested album than its predecessor. The opening track, “Atavus Lich”, is an elegy that shakes the very foundation of the soul. It plunges the listener into the dark from the opening riff; the kind of riffing reminiscent of early black metal but with influences from Master of Reality for the sludgy overtones. “Ativus Lich” is the summoning of a monster — a demon which walks the planet in search of souls to harvest…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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5. Grime: Deteriorate

There’s not much to say about Grime. Hailing from Trieste, Italy, these three dudes (they were four before becoming just three) came back in 2013 with their debut record, Deteriorate, their second in a discography that started with the self-titled EP back in 2011.

A quick search on the web will lead us to their facebook page where we can find, almost instantly, the kind of music the Italian trio plays and their goals for the music itself: “Their only goal is bringing destruction to a town near yours. Their sound is rooted into rotten burial ground and their songs are the sound of a decaying swamp filled with trash.”

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Sinking our ears into the great (yeah, it is great) Deteriorate shows us a band that knows exactly what it is doing and that can transport us to a parallel universe. A few minutes in the universe of these guys and you will scream in a high-pitch/growl voice “SLUDGEEEEEE!!!!” Oh my fuckin’ god… This is exactly what we fans of old-school sludge needed…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

4. BOTTOM FEEDER: Grinding Teeth

Grinding Teeth, an accurately titled debut LP from Bottom Feeder, is one of the most raw and unrelenting albums I’ve heard in a long while. Opening with a peculiar sample to be followed by a brief, introductory drum fill, the vocals and guitars shriek together in an immediately punishing manner. No hesitation or mercy for a couple minutes when a brief, feedback-induced pause gives you a moment to catch your breath before the band returns with pummeling ferocity. Raining violence and cruelty, these Danish sludge underdwellers bring the misanthropic sound of Grief, attitude and rhythmic chaos of Eyehategod, the punishing intensity of Iron Monkey, and hinting to a hard-hitting, aggressive hedonism reminiscent of Black Flag and Discharge together to produce a non-stop sludge serenade soaked in feedback and disdain.d…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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3. The Body: Christ, Redeemers…

There are few bands that can still instill fear and unease with their music by creating an air of discomfort tinged with agony exuding from the creators’ souls. Portland’s The Body are one such band that do so, and they do it with an unnerving pride.

Despite being a mere two piece of guitars/vocals and drums, the sludge-ridden and noise rock-imbued cacophony that they create is unholy and unforgiving, and a sound that an army of lesser bands couldn’t even hope to accomplish…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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2. Seven Sisters of Sleep: Opium Morals

Seven Sisters of Sleep, possibly my favorite alliterative name in recent memory, are back with their sophomore album Opium Morals. Seven Sisters of Sleep, or SSOS for brevity’s sake, are the kind of band I believe appeals to both metal heads and non-metal heads for exactly the same reason; regardless if either side of the coin knows it. Their brand of steel bridge cable heaviness and microphone engulfing vocals might blow the minds of those unfamiliar with the sludge genre while those that are will simply find their bellies full.

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With food in mind, SSOS are a real meat and potatoes kind of band. They’re not looking to recreate the wheel, and why should they? Their honest to goodness style coupled with great song writing chops creates easily satisfying music that gets right to the point. At their best, SSOS make seamless transitions from slow to fast, and always back to slow. Opener “Ghost Plains” does this in perfectly as the track builds up towards the middle only to churn through the viscera towards the track’s end…Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

1. NIGHTSLUG: Dismal Fucker

It’s not often that a band impresses me on first listen like Germany’s NIGHTSLUG have, but this power trio brings a brain-crushing tone that’s heavier than a thousand collapsing bridges.

Leading off with a thundering riff, like the bass-heavy rattle of album opener “No Relief,” is a grand way to introduce new listeners to the ugly piece that is DISMAL FUCKER. “No Relief” has a heavy stride that sets the stage for the rest of the album. Never getting above a solid gallop, NIGHTSLUG move through songs like “Sick,” “All Is Hell” and “Into Oblivion” with a metered groove, focused on punishing the listener as much as entertaining them.

Thankfully, the production is befitting of this wall of noise. The overall tone is centered on the crushing distorted bass of P. Slug, allowing the guitar to riff, occasionally warble, or feedback over the stomp. Shades of experimentation creep in at the edges, most notably in “On Field of Mayhem.” This near-13 minute rager closes out the album with insane levels of glacier-slow riffs and the ubiquitous reverbed vocals of J. Slug hovering over it all, ghostly and spaced-out. From start to finish, the noise of DISMAL FUCKER is unstoppable and cohesive….Full CVLT Nation Review HERE!

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