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Thursday 30 November 2023

Reviews: Sadhus The Smoking Community, Beyond This Earth, Cargo Lift, Emperor Of Myself (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Sadhus The Smoking Community - Illegal Sludge (Ouga Booga And The Mighty Oug Records)

It's been five years since Sadhus The Smoking Community released their second album, but now they have crawled their way out of the Athenian underground again for a third album of sludge/doom. Mel O.D reminds anyone who may not know the band or forgot in the five year gap (people have short attention spans now) what STSC do. 

It's angry music served low and slow to a steady drumbeat, with distorted guitars and enraged shouts. They're clearly influenced by Sabbath (they even pinch the Iron Man riff at one point) but while Fuckin' Apes goes more towards the early blasts of Mastodon, they manage to edge more towards Sleep, Bongzilla et al with the irate and raw heaviness. 

Stavros' never sings a single clean note, choosing to go full Anselmo in Superjoint Ritual, but when he injects venom into the bluesy, shamanic repetion of Fuck Off & Die then it's worth the mountain of Strepils he probably needs after recording. Greg's drumming is spacious but hits like a blacksmiths hammer.

Nikos' bass contouring the songs pacing and giving that bubbling blues on cuts such as Eye On Man. Thomas G. chugs (Illegal Sludge), stabs (Woodman) and even brings clean reverbed wooziness to Filthy Trust with his guitar playing while Steve is their 'fifth Beatle' as a rolling engineer, whatever that means. 

Take a hit of whatever device you take your medicine from and delve into the weed induced bad trip that is Sadhus The Smoking Community's sludge smothered doom metal. 8/10

Beyond This Earth - Portraits Of The Absurd (Self Released)

Heavy, fat, grooving riffs, a stoner/biker attitude and bellowed vocals? That’s the stuff right there. If a band sounds like Orange Goblin or Fireball Ministry then there’s a pretty good chance I’ll dig it. So I dig Portraits Of The Absurd the second album from Beyond This Earth. 

The Lividia City riffers remind me of Nightstalker, and that my friends is a very good thing. Kicking off the chug with In Orbit, this second album pours petrol through the engine and ignites the record brilliantly, swaggering rock n roll riffs that move into psychedelic lead breaks/solos towards the end it’s greasy, grubby and barrel chested rock from blue collar backgrounds.

Having been around since 2013, they are honed machine 10 years later, touring all over the country like any road-dog should, I assume getting heads banging and beers drunk, the comparisons and linage of Nightstalker, Planet Of Zeus and 1000mods traceable through their previous release and this new record. 

Born from the dark belly of the blues, Beyond This Earth crank up the distortion as the woozy The Overseer and the punkish ...Of The Absurd, are propelled by Vagelis Katsampekis and Chris Adam’s guitars, Adam and bassist Valantis Dafkos keeping the rhythms muscular as Vagelis explores the space rock leads. 

Those first few Orange Goblin albums must have been played to death by the band as it’s got major Frequencies From Planet Ten vibes, The Fall Of Reason especially, Utopia though is Sabbath worship pure and simple. 

Behind the guitar trio is the tight, instant drumming of Paris Gatsios and topping things off is the gruff shouts of Akis Kosmidis, the drumming skull rattling while the vocals grizzled and gritty. Portraits Of The Absurd has won me over to Beyond This Earth a band I’d not heard of before. 

The balance between heavy rock riffs and space rock journeying is just right so I’ll be following them closely. It’s high voltage rock n roll and I like it a lot! 8/10  

Cargo Lift - When Least Expected (Self Released)

Thessaloniki based alt/prog metal band Cargo Lift's second album brings a more diverse sound than their debut. Since forming in 2016 they have been influenced by the likes of Tool, Faith No More The Ocean and many others, these influences have all been amalgamated on When Least Expected, the psychy grooves of Destroyer and the bass heavy swirls of Crawl are definitely very Tool, while Buy Me Again goes more toward bands such as Gojira. 

Since their debut they have changed a bassist/vocalist and the grungy tone of their debut have led to these heavier tunes, though a track such as Betray/Pretend is still a rock track in that post-grunge ethos but Out Of Hand towards the darker end of bands like Deftones, changing styles a few times in 6 minutes of dark dreamscapes. 

The change in personnel has been the trigger for this refocus of writing, When Least Expected louder, brasher and more progressive than what has come before, Cargo Lift embracing the more introspective outlook with the Type O Negative misery of Never Ends

Embracing a different direction while keeping true to where they came from, Cargo Lift have the goods to reach higher. 7/10

Emperor Of Myself – Vita Post Mortem (Self Released)

Vita Post Mortem is the ninth full length album from Emperor Of Myself since 2006! I suppose it’s much easier to write and record music as a duo than it is with a whole band. Even more so when that duo are brothers (though The Kinks and Oasis would disagree). 

Originally a one man project of Dimitris Polizos, his brother Alex joined as a full time member after programming the drums originally. So with Alex on drums/bass and vocals, while also producing/mixing/mastering, Dimitris takes guitars and vocals, the band playing atmospheric black metal that has had them compared to Ewigkeit, a comparison I can hear when they experiment with gothic textures and shift into post-black realms too. 

After eight albums you may think the well has run dry, and with a track like And Night Falls and The Wait, that would be true, it’s simple and not particularly interesting, but at other points Emperor Of Myself shake things up enough to make your ears prick up. It’s decent but doesn’t make me that excited, still there’s obviously enough love for the duo to keep releasing music so good on them. 6/10

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