Existence Dysphoria - Minus Negative

06 Jul 2022 - Knut

Sludge, Doom Metal, Stoner Doom | Sludgelord Records | Release date: 01 Jul 2022

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The sludge is on, murky gritty heavy guitar, low-end grooving bass rooted to the ground by hard hitting drums and cymbals. All played with a fuzzy stoner attitude. This release shows how sludge should be played with harsh, abrasive and grinding distorted instruments and shouting unpolished vocals fighting for attention in the contorted sonics. The London based band formed in 2017 holds back nothing and throws in some surprises.

Through their existence the trio has self-released a demo fittingly called Shattered Demo and a single. This new EP release contains four tracks that live up to the band´s name, even though their funny short clips on their Facebook page do not. The album opens with a short industrial metal track called ”The Stage is Set” where an indistinct female sampled voice repeats the title among the electronic sonics and introduces the next track among the hard-hit cymbals, ”Sculpted Into Nothing”.

Heavy and sludgy riffs lash out followed by a distorted bass and heavy drums which is stopped in its track by a short electronic burst. The vocals shift between harsh screaming and clean shouting. It is dense and hammers on, driven forward at the same tempo by all the instruments. The fuzz grinds the music forward with heavy drumming until it all lightens up and the bass takes over in the rumbling soundscapes while the guitar turns into overdrive and surprisingly dips into grooving blues while the bass stays deep and heavy. The fuzz comes back and the hammering is on again while the guitar takes some detours that nearly grows to a solo before a shout halts the music.

The next track ”You´re Worse” continues bulldozing with crushing sonics and the screaming vocals in the background reminiscent of Aaron Turner´s screams. The sonics are a bit on the dissonant side while harsh and hammering slowly forward. It suddenly loosens only to yet again dip into raw blues tempo with echoing sound effects before the fuzz yanks you back for a while ‘til the pace changes once more to let the music breathe and build up again. A fuzzy and distorted guitar solo grows from the sonics. The music fades away while a confronting voice is shouting at someone when the soundscape turns into a windy dessert reminiscent of Ennio Morricone´s western film music where a guitar is enticing a fight before the tsunami of fuzz is back.

There is a lot of tension and compression in this music, also in the last track ”Minus Negative” where the bass guitar takes the lead. In this energetic track the bass dominates over the fuzz and distortion from the guitar. The drums hold it all together while the two other instruments rumble forward long enough before a bluesy section builds it all up again and races towards an end with echoing industrial metal sonics to wind it all up.

This kind of music demands a lot of good mixing and mastering for the result to not just be muffled noise. When they manage to do it like it is done on this album, the result is clear in all its amazing fuzziness of dirty doom. And when you add the reckless anarchistic stoner attitude of the musicians, it makes this an awesome album to tune in and drop out to.