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Wednesday 31 July 2019

Reviews: Swamp Coffin, Pathetic, Wardomized, Ribspreader (Lee & Scott)

Swamp Coffin: Flatcap Bastard Features (Self Released) [Lee Burgess]

I love a bit of Sludge and with this little offering entitled Flatcap Bastard Features from Swamp Coffin, I find myself in the deep south wading my way through said swamp in said coffin. This is a lovely selection of hefty blues rock tracks with all the right components in all the right places to make this a wonderful summer sound full of humidity, bugs, alligators and other things that belong in a swamp. It’s a brilliantly old- fashioned affair with great tone and awesome heaviness that give us what we need. Sweaty slow songs that sound great, punch us in the gut, cover us in petrol, set us on fire and leave us to burn whilst the music chugs along quite nicely. 

When I say nicely, I mean with all the menace of a human sacrifice to Odin being served as a Sunday roast. This really is good stuff. Uncomplicated, heavy but balanced and effortless. I actually have real trouble finding fault with Swamp Coffin. In equal parts the heavy blues of Black Sabbath mixed with the raw wall of sound of Machine Head, but with a sensibility more akin to Crowbar and Monolord. That may sound strange but just give is a listen and it will all make sense. I love this because it’s metal that fills a room with sound and exudes a passion for music that is never overlooked in the pursuit of heaviness. It’s pure extreme metal shot through with a serious mission, simply to drown you in thick warm mud. 9/10

Pathetic: Rat King (Self Released) [Lee Burgess]

Pathetic’s latest collection of delightful ditties, lovingly entitled Rat King, offers up a body (literally) of work fit for any old school death metal enthusiast. If you’re anything like me, you’ll have been longing for something putrid, rotten and totally foul to get your ears around. Well, I think we found it. You’ll find nothing new here, at least not in sound, but then that’s not what we want, is it? What we want is scuzzy chunks oozing nastiness that sounds as if it’s been delivered straight from 1991 on a cassette. Whether you’re looking for titles like the title track Rat King, or something a little more descriptive like Defecation Upon The Grave Of The Grand Wizard, Pathetic have it all. 

This all sounds very bad. Really, it does. The mastering of this record is, I suspect purposefully awful. From the drumming, to the lead guitars, this album sounds like it was recorded on a construction site in an Earthquake. If you’re looking Opeth levels of production, you may want to give this a wide berth. However, if you crave genuinely horrendous sounds, and disturbingly low barked vocals, step right up. This really is nasty stuff, so make no mistake. If like your DM in the style of Obituary, Deicide or Scream Bloody Gore era Death, step right up. 8/10

Wardomized: ...A Heated Exchange (Sudden Strike Records) [Scott Price]

Irish band, Wardomized are here with what looks like an actual LP from a killing streak of EP’s and one or two live albums. And boy oh boy, what an angry fucker this album is. This album (as you would expect) is just bat-shit crazy from start to finish with little to no breaks for the un-aware listener. It’s unwelcoming, it’s not your friend and it wants you dead. What sounds like good ole grindcore with some death influence mixed in to bloody up the sound just little bit, but not too much though can’t be getting blood on our boots now can we? This album gives me Napalm Death vibes, more so retro ND with some death mixed in. It makes for a unique sound among a sea of bands trying to be as heavy as possible. But (to my surprise) this isn’t your cookie cutter grindcore/hardcore album. Something I struggle to find is something unique among the Napalm Death/Terroriser and recently Nail’s rip-offs is an actually coherent sound and feel. 

This band does bring something new to the table. Actually good production where you can hear each instrument being played, and for once the vocals aren’t lost in a sea of scooped guitars and waaayyy to loud drums. Vocals aren’t “Oh my god he’s a vocal god” But they’re pretty good. They suit the band well and really that’s all you need. Drums are pounding and ruthless with a good amount of taste thrown in, so you’re not just listening to blastbeats the entire way through. One gripe I have with this album, is that it’s very one dimensional. It has attitude, but it does nothing more than expected. Which in some cases, this would be a good thing. This isn’t one of them. It’s kind of a “one trick pony” album, once you’ve heard one or two songs, you’ve heard the entire album to be honest. It’s a good album, but it doesn’t blow my socks off with surprise or wow me at every corner. It is what it is. A meat and potatoes grindcore album. Give this album a listen, tell me what you think. I really want to know. 5/10

Ribspreader: Crawl & Slither (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions) [Scott Price]

Bands and albums can be very surprising eh? Well, this new album from Ribspreader is one of them. I haven’t heard of this band before, but I’m glad I have. I took my time with this review to go back and listen to some of their older stuff from (surprisingly enough), 2004 and onwards. A pretty gruesome and heavy selection to choose from, like a buffet of flesh and entrails. The Swedish Death Metal outfit most certainly achieve a…let’s put it as a unique guitar tone. Honestly sounds like a combination of a classic Boss HM2 in front of a clean head of some kind, along with a noise gate of some kind to reign in the murder. I can’t really make out any qualities that make me go “oh yeah that’s a Marshall!” But you can definitely tell that this album was made in Sweden. It just has that “Swedish death metal” sound. The vocals on this album are fucking great, they’re low and gross without sounding weak, and not completely unintelligible like the really low, obnoxious “Cricket” vocals which you tend to find on a lot of Slam albums. 

The drummer and the bass player, as usual, give the guitars a much needed “oomph” and some punch. And for once you can hear the bass rumbling instead of being almost completely mixed out. One thing I will note about this, is that I’m usually not huge into Swedish death metal, it’s usually not my forte. So I did come into this album with a somewhat fresh outlook. And I can honestly say that I enjoy this album. The only complaint I really have about this album, is honestly the riffs. A lot of them just don’t click with me. Not entirely sure why, but even the very first riff you hear on Breeder of The Dead just completely leaves something to be desired. But the bad riff is usually followed by a good one. Maybe it’s just me, I’m not sure. The album is, of course, available on Bandcamp. Give it a listen and tell me what you think. Am I right? Wrong? Let me know. 6/10

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