After releasing several EP and demo recordings since 2014, Staunton, Virginia’s Diseased Earth unveil their long overdue debut full-length, Bleeding of the Light.
Picking up where their 2017 promo left off, Bleeding of the Light shows the band beginning to become the sludge beast they sought out to be. Drawing influence from various areas of the sludge and doom realms, while toying with death, thrash and black metal sensibilities in the process, Diseased Earth craft some truly bruising moments across seven tracks. One moment it can be catchy and groove-heavy, bludgeoning and scorching the next. All together, Bleeding of the Light is a heavy-hitting sludge record that embraces its roots while being unafraid to branch out.
The album kicks off with some massive stoner groove on “Willow Tree”, which channels Sleep at their most high. After a minute or so of hazy-eyed riffing, the track suddenly shifts into a blitz of tremolo-picked, eviscerating riffs peppered with thrashing chords and spearheaded by snarling, death metal vocals. The track briefly cycles back-and-forth between these death metal esque rampages and the aforementioned stoner groove, before transitioning into a lengthy section of earworm, galloping riffs and blistering solos that stampede toward the end.
The heaviness continues in “5’13 on Kerosene”, which begins with a gloomy intro before bleeding into a darkened thrash section characterized by pummeling percussion, face-ripping guitar riffs and incendiary solos. This aural hellfire eventually morphs seamlessly into a lumbering sludge metal section whose grooves gradually become slower and more devastating as time passes. This interplay between thrash-tinged sections and thundering doom is explored a bit further in the fourth track “May the Old Gods Starve”; a nearly seven-minute track comprised of soul-crushing, blackened doom rife with disemboweling death metal rage and thrashing grit.
There’s a lot of interesting stylistic shifts to behold and plenty of crushing moments on Bleeding of the Light, but there are moments where it falls short. There are a couple of instances on the record, most notably during the longer tracks, where some of the songs fall prey to meandering paces. These are moments where the band will choose to ride out certain riffs with little to no variation, causing these heavy sections to lose a bit of their steam. Luckily these moments do not happen often and do not distract from the record’s overall experience.
Despite its shortcomings, Bleeding of the Light is a solid, heavy record and is a step in the right direction for Diseased Earth. Those looking for a new sludge band who approaches the genre differently should look no further.
Release Date: March 30, 2018
Favorite Tracks: “Willow Tree”, “A Temporal Husk”, “May the Old Gods Starve” and “Serpent in the Garden”
For Fans Of: Eyehategod, Colombian Necktie, Rwake and 16