Here's a massive review done by Den.
Hailing from Blackburn, Lancashire, Bastard of the Skies have embarked in a mission to annihilate our eardrums with the filthy and devastating sludge attack since its formation back in 2006. Having released 2 albums, an EP and Split LP, the band has concocted an unique sound, which although clings to the well-recognized clichés but at the same time has the touch of its own. Wielding monstrous, gargantuan riffs and occasionally turning to melodic respites, the first band's self-titled opus gathered a devoted fan base throughout UK and on the other side of Atlantic and received good critical acclaim over the web. But it was not until 2010 when the band was bent to unleash its next filthy beast, and another piece of unrelenting down-tuned goodness bearing the moniker "Ichor Ichor" saw the "light". The album was a huge piece of brutal and uncompromising heaviness delivering 9 tracks of straight-to-your face filthy and groovy sludge. Now the time has come for the next generation in the breed of ear-splitting monsters to emerge out of the bottomless ocean, and that's where the 3-rd full-length of British sludge monsters arrives.
Tarnation, that's how the band called its upcoming opus, is exactly what the name implies. The artwork is what immediately bursts into eye. Made by the infamous Sean Schock, known for its collaboration with Yob, Buzzoven, Sourvein, Coffins and many others, the artwork immediately sets the mood of impending doom, portraying the spiky scales of the sea serpent protruding from the filthy boiling waters long devoid of equilibrium. The beast is faceless and unknown to the unsuspecting masses, as if it is the embodiment of shadowy forces which are spinning the wheels of this decaying world. Only spikes are visible, while the other parts of its monstrous body are hidden beneath the dark surface of the sea.
From the opening note the doubts are immediately put aside, as the opener "Drug Monarch" kicks in with crawling wall of down-tuned grooves. Tumbling bass and pounding drums, coupled with desperate roaring of Matt Richardson set the tone of the song punishing listener with the 5-minutes of tight & sick grooves. The riff gets almost repetitive form time to time, but the unrelenting heaviness compensates any drawbacks making the listener fully submerge into the vortex of infectious riffs.
The next track, "A punch into your fucking lungs", quite lives up to its name. Starting with High-on-Fire styled grooves, the song oscillates between heavy parts and melodic respites, whose purpose is nothing but pave the way to even more devastating and monstrous riffs.
The next one, "(Roasted in the Depth of) Sloar” is a slight retreat from the previous monsters, however it is not less heavy. The song is slow and epic piece of sickening downtempo sludge, with some parts bearing resemblance to those of the last opus of Australian sludgers Clagg, while the rest of the song picks the pace closer to the end delivering a set of dark and foreboding tunes, as if the sea beast is about to unleash it's fourth tentacle.
The next opus, "Bastard Sabbath" adheres to the tradition of the previous song, with the tentacle of the beast slowly wiping out all the resistance it faces on its way. The track is heavy and straightforward, with the riffs getting so infectious that the first spin left me craving for more.
The title track “Tarnation” is an amalgamation of down tuned and apparently feed backed noises which get accompanied by occasional drumbeats closer to the end. The track sometimes enters the drone territory, however, it still manages to evoke dark and apocalyptic atmosphere, which gets even more intensifying closer to the end. What comes to mind here is that the beast is halfway to its destination, and no force can prevent in from consuming our fragile world.
But there is still much left for the beast to face on its dark path, as next nail in the coffin is hammered with the “Repugnance”, which is probably the most infectious and grooviest track on the entire album. The track paves its way with the endless barrage of pounding riffs leaving me in the state of complete head-banging for a number of repetitive spins.
The next tracks “Locklear” and “Snapmare” utilize the same formula, but what really distinguishes from the mood of the entire album is the closer “What Are You Looking At Dicknose”? The track starts with the noisy intro with occasional Lovecraftian whispers protruding from the roaring background, but quickly evolves into an epic riff-worshipping pilgrimage boosted by additional feedback, double vocals and noise. It will apparently be chosen as a closer for the upcoming live sets, at it perfectly summarizes all what these filthy British sludgers have been trying to convey to the listeners. The beast has completed the prophesy, the world left in smoldering ruins, and the set stage for the next era to emerge…. to wait for another beast to incarnate the TARNATION of the generations to come. For fans of High-on-Fire, Clagg, and all worshippers of heavy sludge goodness. 9/10.
Album is out 1st October on Future Noise Recordings (FUN012)
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