Jun 202023

From the name chosen by Andrea Tocchetto (of Inverted Matter) for his solo project Sludge Keeper you might be expecting, well, sludge metal. From the name chosen for the song “Weed Incubator” that we’re about to premiere you might expect, well, something weedian and woozy.

But take a close look at Mark Erskine‘s cover art for Sludge Keeper‘s forthcoming debut album Slough Of Despair and you’ll begin to understand the error of any such assumptions. Pay particular attention to the fiery maw that has opened up from the bowels of the earth, the ruined arches, and in particular the enormous toothsome horror that looms above it all.

These features point the way to music that’s supernaturally monstrous, frightening, and fueled by hellfire — and all those signs are a lot closer to the mark of the music, which is anything but weedian and woozy.

What you’re about to encounter instead is death metal of terrific ferocity — dire and devastating in its moods and exhilarating in its execution.

Although Andrea Tocchetto of course deserves the lion’s share of the credit for what you’re about to hear, he had some extremely talented help in bringing his own visions to reality. Specifically, both drummer Kevin Paradis (Benighted, Mithridatic) and bassist Marco Mastrobuono (Hour of Penance) perform throughout the album, and on “Weed IncubatorJason Nealy (Inverted Matter, Bleeding Eyes) also played a role, performing a jaw-dropping guitar solo.

It’s clichéd but true to say that on this track all four of them are firing on all cylinders.  “Weed Incubator” discharges torrents of obliterating hyperspeed drumwork, maniacal bass escapades with a gravel-chewing tone, and riffing that blares in hideous glory, cuts like whirring circle saws, and quivers in deranged frenzies. It has the intensity of a blast furnace, and its unchained barbarism is enhanced by the bestial hostility of Tocchetto‘s belly-deep growls and ravenous howls.

The technical skill of the execution is attention-grabbing, but so are the ways in which the moods of the music morph as it marauds. As mentioned, it includes a shrieking fret-melter of a guitar solo that rockets the song to a zenith of supernatural deranged ecstasy, but the music also warps continually, unleashing bursts of feverishly skittering melody and onslaughts of grim and grinding cruelty, but also bringing in guitar reverberations near the end that seem to hopelessly wail in agony and desperation.

This isn’t the only song from Slough Of Despair that’s out in the world. There’s also “Mud Keepers“, which is every bit as much of a savage thrill-ride as the song you’ve just heard.

It flies at the speed of hell-bats, but also twists itself into an otherworldly dimension that mauls the mind with sounds that bring to mind the suffering of tortured souls banished for eternity to a truly terrible place. The music also wickedly feeds like famished fiends and jolts with the iron-hard brutality of hammers.

In a nutshell, Slough Of Despair promises to be a seriously attention-grabbing album for death metal fanatics, and especially those with a hungry taste for the likes of Morbid Angel and Hate Eternal. It’s set for release on July 14th by Selfmadegod Records on CD and digital formats. For more info, check the links below.

MORE CREDITS: Slough Of Despair was recorded between 2020 and 2022, with all music and lyrics written and produced by Andrea Tocchetto. Tocchetto played and recorded all rhythm guitars, and performed all vocals which were recorded at Badrum Studio by Jason Nealy and Marco Dussin.

The bass was recorded by Marco Mastrobuono at Kick Studio, the drums were recorded by Kevin Paradis at Nostromo Studio, and the record features guest solos on “Summon Of The Deeper Muds,” “Weed Incubator,” and “Artifact” by Jason Nealy.

The final tracks were mixed and mastered at Skunk Works Studio by Tocchetto, and (as mentioned at the outset) the album is completed with artwork by Mark Erskine.




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