SLUDGEHAMMER
"The Fallen Sun"

(Independent)

01. Demons from the Woodwork
02. Intestines Entwined
03. The Black Abyss
04. Ectogenesis
05. Carrion Eater
06. Consuming Afterbirth
07. Carnivorous Forest
08. Utopian
09. Revolting
10. Organ Harvester (bonus track)
11. Casualties (bonus track)

RATING: 9/10

You often see polls out there asking metalheads to drum up their votes for best unsigned bands on the scene. Somebody throw SLUDGEHAMMER's name into the hat and be quick about it.

SLUDGEHAMMER is one of a thousand or so hybrid metal bands vying for attention, but in their case, attention is well-deserved since they're far more effective than the norm in stockpiling their thrash, hardcore, death metal, power metal, prog and rock roots with sense and audacity. Only three years together, their volatility is one of many tremendous assets showcased on their first full-length album, "The Fallen Sun".

"Demons from the Woodwork" is bloody impressive with its mosh and thrash do-se-dos, Fernando Villalobos working overtime on just the first track of this hectic yet gratifying album. He socks the double hammer hell out of this cut, but the twin guitars from Jeff Wilson and Tyler Williams go even further in demonstrating SLUDGEHAMMER's skill. With Chris Szarota and Dan Ayers dropping bipolar vocal styles (think of MUSHROOMHEAD's Jeffrey Hatrix and Jason Popson without the rapping), their swaps are as much to keep up with as the signature changes toward the end of "Demons from the Woodwork". Never mind the rest of the songs, which are busier than even the would-be incumbents' press agents.

It's not merely innards getting twisted on "Intestines Entwined", given the countless directions the song goes. SLUDGEHAMMER efficiently curves through variances of power metal, grit rawk, death metal and thrash. Progression plays a huge hand in the 6:30 power epic "The Black Abyss" and later, "Consuming Afterbirth" A piano sonata greets "The Black Abyss" which builds from a PRIMAL FEAR base and then hammers in fluctuating speeds, mirroring ICED EARTH's valor-reveling barrages. SLUDGEHAMMER logically wraps "The Black Abyss" on one the better breakdown-to-thrash sequences you'll hear this year. Dropping a nod to classic IRON MAIDEN on the intro (and later during the solo section) to "Carrion Eater", SLUDGEHAMMER mingles a power march with a brutal death slog, tossing a headbanging fiesta in the process.

Chris Szarota's rhythmic barking in time with Fernando Villalobos's jive-moshing on "Ectogenesis" exhibits full command over pentameter you don't hear too often in octaves so rough. Both Szarota and Dan Ayers woof like madmen over the flinging, PANTERA-grounded "Carnivorous Forest". Ever-so-subtle can you hear some black metal guitar rails amidst "Carnivorous Forest"'s drubbing locomotion. The biggest payoff on the song, however, comes with the wailing guitar solo before you find yourself rudely dumped into a filthy deathcore slam.

This is how gifted SLUDGEHAMMER as a band is, even with only a demo, EP and now LP under their belts. On their own, they're a devastating DIY metal band. With a contract in-hand, they're gonna become unstoppable.

COMMENTS

To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).