Tue 5th December 2006
Has it really been 3 years since '...And Destroy All Those That Come Before Us'? Wow, apparently so, it only seems like yesterday that I was reading about these guys in Bizarre magazine and decided to pick up the aforementioned disc and here we are three years later with another disc and the unfortunate news that the band are to split by the end of the year. Which is a real shame as 'Alcohol & Swine' is a great listen.
Kicking of with the scuzzy up-tempo bluster of 'Big In Germany (Still Shit)' the first thing that strikes you about the new material is a certain groove that isn't present in a lot of Stoner/Sludge type stuff. Don't get me wrong it's not like they've diluted the sound, the filthy riffs and screamed/growled vokills are still all present and correct but by the time track two 'Cockfight' rolls around you'll find yourself tapping your toe along with some well handled and just plain rocking riffery. 'Darklord' slows things down a bit starting off with a crawling bass riff and then when the rest of the band kicks in there's still that undeniable sense of dynamics and actual songwriting, rather than the noise for noise sake approach that many Sludge bands adopt to mask a lack of originality. Hell, 'Darklord' even has a chorus that's almost (dare I say it?) sing along, in a 'put on your best Metal face throw the horns and scream yourself hoarse' sort of way. 'How I Became The Town Slut' is next out of the blocks and starts with a subtle melodic progression, into a slow groove, before exploding into a speedy mid section that settles down again for the finale, great stuff. 'Alabama Snakebite' has an undeniable punky edge to it, with it's initial race to the finish pacing that drops to a nice slow grind at the mid point and doesn't let up until the last riffs have been wrenched from the instruments. Closing track 'Whitney's Crack Den' (great title) is 10 seconds shy of 8 minutes and approaches more familiar Sludge territory, personally I prefer the no nonsense expertly paced approach of the earlier tracks. That's not to say the groove and sense of melody is forgotten, it's just that the previous five tracks are so well crafted that I'd have liked a truncated version of 'Whitney's Crack Den' and another track added to the running. But maybe that's just me being greedy.
So if you're after a slab of well recorded, superbly structured Sludge that isn't afraid to throw in a truckload of groove, dynamics and (whisper it) melody into the melting pot then you couldn't go far wrong with picking up a copy of 'Alcohol & Swine'. A fitting epitaph for a UK band unafraid to mess with the sometimes tedious restrictions of genre. I raise a glass and shed a manly tear to the passing of the mighty 'Snogger. Cheers lads.