Woodrue – Low on Luck
Helsinki’s Woodrue offer up no frills, bludgeoning sludge on their debut full-length, Low on Luck. This short but definitely not sweet release is comprised of 33 minutes of stripped down, dirty sludge with stoner tendencies that spans across five unyielding tunes. The guitars and bass are soaked with caustic distortion, the drumming is steady and pulverizing, and the vocals are commanding and anguished. “Woodside” starts the album off with slow, lumbering riffs that unleash a steady beating for the majority of the track’s duration. After nearly four minutes the tempo shifts and the track becomes a high octane dash to the finish. “Thicker the Skin, Clearer the Mind” follows next with a fierce blitz of hardcore-tinged riffs that bleed into a lengthy section of doomed grooves and stoner swagger. The one-two punch of “Borrowed Time” and “Seed of Truth” continue along the record’s grimy, destructive path. “Borrowed Time” features potent, Unsane-esque grooves, chugging misanthropy and psychedelic leads. “Seed of Truth” is a groove-laden barn burner of a tune that fully embraces the band’s stoner tendencies and crafts some of the album’s catchiest moments. The nearly 11-minute title track closes out the record with hypnotic and hammering sludge riffs that repeat stubbornly throughout. A track like this may seem boring to some, but it will be hard for listeners not to get lost in its engaging cycles of chaos. In the grand scheme of things, Low on Luck is not a revolutionary release. But the band’s legitimate, dirty, frankly no bullshit sound makes for a solid sludge metal release nonetheless. Fans of the genre will want to check this one out.
Release Date: August 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Thicker the Skin, Clearer the Mind” and “Borrowed Time”
For Fans Of: Eyehategod, Buzzoven, Iron Monkey and Weedeater
||| – Lines & Lands
||| (or Three Parallel Lines) is a one-man atmospheric/ambient black metal project based in Piacenza, Italy. Birthed from the same mind that created Chiral, ||| crafts raw yet tranquil soundscapes infused with a black metal edge on its debut demo, Lines & Lands. Despite its raw production, this short release offers some pretty gorgeous moments that nod toward early Alcest material and even Agalloch at their most subdued. After the 60 second icy drone of “A Mirroring Sleep” comes to a close, the release officially kicks off with “Line |”. The track begins with peaceful, shimmering post-rock chords that echo among a hollow background, which eventually build up into an explosion of melodic and cacophonous black metal that slowly builds into a wall of sound. “Line ||” follows a similar path, with a dirges of frostbitten melancholia and stampedes of emotional black metal. But “Line ||” breaks the mold a bit by featuring acoustic folk interludes and an overall heavier atmosphere. In between “Line |” and “Line ||” are two reprises that rework the most endearing moments from the previous track into brief, two-minute interludes. The album is brought to a close by an eight-minute drone piece titled “A Sleeping Mirror”. The track is comprised of a huge, cavernous soundscape in which guitar-generated ambiance swim and meld with one another, creating a very calming atmosphere. There is a moment where pitch-shifted vocals slowly belt out indiscernible passages and eventually fades away into the track’s vacuous atmosphere. This strange section of vocals briefly kills the mood the track worked hard to created and is unnecessary. Overall, however, ||| is an interesting project that yields some solid, and beautiful results. Lines & Lands’ presence is so enthralling that listeners will forget that this only a demo.
Release Date: April 25, 2016
Favorite Tracks: “Line |” and Line ||”
For Fans Of: Alcest, Agalloch and Falloch