The story of my blogging life: As I neared completion of this review, which I’ve been meaning to write since early summer, a friend of mine tossed off the following words on Facebook that put all my tediously crafted prose to shame: “Intergalactic riffing slugs! For the curious, imagine Akercocke, Carcass, and Morbid Angel having a love baby. And it’s a slug. From outer space. And it wants you dead.”
Slugdge is a two-man outfit from Preston, England, consisting of Matt Moss and Kev Pearson. What might first appear to be a typo in the band’s name is simply one of many manifestations of the band’s fixation with slugs: Their 2013 debut album was named Born of Slime, and their 2014 follow-up, Gastronomicon, includes song titles such as “Lettuce Prey”, “The Sound of Mucus”, “Invertehate”, and “Salters of Madness”. The band’s name is pronounced “Slug-j”. They seem to worship an entity named Mollusca.
Wait! Don’t leave! I can’t stand slugs either (they grow to the size of bananas around Puget Sound), and I tend to have a predisposed skepticism about the music of bands who prefer pun-filled song titles and generate a surface aura of goofiness. But trust me, you need this album in your life. It’s one of the year’s biggest and best surprises.
Slugdge have a remarkable talent for harnessing different genre tropes and making them gallop as if they were all born to make the race together — slithering tremolo-picked leads that wouldn’t be out of place in a black metal band; hammering chug-fests and freight-train riff-romps that lots of death metal bands would pay dearly for, arpeggios that dart and swirl with electrifying effect (in contrast to a massively heavy low-end sound), a rhythm section that’s often reminiscent of Gojira’s, and progressive metal excursions that inspire comparisons to Devin Townsend’s heaviest solo work. And there’s more — a lot more (e.g., sludge, of course). Did I mention the melodic hooks? Tons of ’em.
All the way through the album, the instrumental performances reach jaw-dropping levels of proficiency — with blazing fretwork, eye-popping guitar solos, and the kind of highly varied, acrobatic drum work that just makes you shake your head in wonder.
And the vocals are just as varied and just as effectively employed as all the instrumental extravagance and the impressive song-writing prowess. In addition to deep, malignant growls and chord-scraping howls, the music also features clean vocals that create the kind of surprise that comes when Dave Hunt does them in the midst of an Anaal Nathrakh tornado or when Travis Ryan broke them out on Cattle Decap’s Monolith of Inhumanity.
I guess when you’re this good, you can afford to have some fun with your song titles and your lyrics, too. Hell, I’ll be the first to stand up and yell HAIL MOLLUSCA! if it will bring forth more Slugdge goodness on the scale of Gastronomicon.
Gastronomicon is a name-your-price download on Bandcamp, which just proves the adage that the best things in life are without charge — unless your own conscience makes the payment. Get slimed below.
I’d acutally say they sound like a sludge metal Akercocke.
This fucking rules!
Freakin’ love this album. I’ve been playing it close to non-stop the last few months!
And you may have recognized a certain quote in the opening paragraph of this post. 🙂
Hah, I might have!
Possibly album of the year for me so far. This is excellent stuff, although I can’t remember where I heard about them first. This is usually the place I hear about weird albums, but I might have found it by myself which is terrifying.
🙂 It appears we’re all examples of garbled neural wiring.
One of the best this year, but not entirely a surprise…their other album Born of Slime was impressive in its own right, also available for NYP on bandcamp. Glad to see them getting their praise! Three must own NYP bandcamp dls that I’d recommend are Gastronomicon, Singularity’s debut and that awesome Fractalline album…the latter two I heard about thru NCS, keep up the great work.
Thanks — I’m a latecomer to the Slugdge party, but sure glad I finally got here.
What on earth is this band… best album I’ve heard in a long time. Can rely on Slimewave Zero instead of viagra in the future for sure.
There are only so many hours in the day, right? And this blog is so prolific that it can take up nearly all of them, so that, along with the fact that I hate 95% of everything out there, forces me to at least try to be as discriminating as I can when perusing the many new bands here. This seemed like an easy decision.
The genre (which I mistook the name for) is sludge. Pass. The name is Slugdge. Pass. The logo looks like logos of bands I despise. Pass. The cover art. Pass. And on with the day….
Only, Gastronomicon is an absolutely hilarious album title, and after a while I decided that that, alone, warranted a listen. This is not at all what I expected. Excuse me while I go acquire this album. Then… on with the day.
HA! Bravo! Your story is very similar to mine, except even “Gastronomicon” didn’t push me over the brink. It took a nudge from a very enthusiastic friend to do that — I’m so thankful that happened.
Definitely album of the year!!! Or one of them. Crazy year!
I thought the last one, copped for free from their bandcamp, was pretty cool.
When I saw the name again I had a laugh and grabbed it.
Consider me converted to the Unnameable Cult ov the Slugdge
If too many years of listening to Macabre has taught me anything, it’s that bad puns and humour can sometimes be a sign of a band that’s really, really good at what they do, and know this so much that they can have fun with it. This is brilliant!
These guys are building up a little following in South Africa. Excellent music!