No Funeral/Livid
Split EP

Capping off a trifecta of killer sludge releases I had on the chopping block for review, this next one is a nascent split vinyl EP from nihil.  Minneapolis lunatics No Funeral occupy side 1 with their crustified slug-stomp sleaze while side 2 offers up one long bomber from their same city mates, Livid.  Both bands have at least one full-length under their belts with a few more scattered releases filling in their respective discographies.  These sickos belong together, chained at the hip to old age in a mental home for the criminally insane.

No Funeral starts things off with the mountainous, riff-crammed bastard, “Infection.”  Guitars feedback and ring notes quietly over a lengthy, bluesy bass riff ground to a pulp by low-end mastermind Matt Nelson.  Riffs slowly crumble and reassemble back to life as they establish a nocturnal groove pounded to shit n’ back with kick n’ tom curmudgeon courtesy of Jeff Moen (current Witchden, ex-SourVein).  It isn’t until 3:20 the song’s true bad intentions take full shape; guitarists Kevin Pipkorn and Doug Saretsky clamping down on a southern-fried, pulverizer of a doom riff that’s a total Mason Dixon ripper the likes of which Eyehategod, Cavity, Bongzilla, Molehill and Kilara laid the groundwork for.  The track’s forceful, fucked up n’ severed second half maintains the bluesy, swamp smellin’ grandeur of the early going but sees Moen smash into some ultra-glue double-bass drumming and white lightning snare fills while Pipkorn’s psychotic, squirmy screams turn into slavering death growls.  Interject a bit of Coffins, Highgate and Winter into the classic southern sludge sickness and you’ve got yourself a whole new virus here to contend with.  This is perfect music to vault your psyche violently into a bad trip or an anxiety stricken high.  Don’t tell me I’m the only masochist out there!  The band’s second contribution, “Disease brought by Depression” is completely blown n’ blasted into a hollow husk by wave after wave of rotten feedback before an antagonizing dirge riff comes to undead life.  Blood curdling rhythm riffs are anchored with crystal clear but oppressive bass drones as a melodic lead plays out over top.  Soon napalm scorched screams spill forth while the song reaches a crossroads where it briefly ponders direction.  Vomiting death vocals soon bubble to the forefront of the band’s aural tarpit while the tempos speed up and the grooves hit harder than ten tons of bricks to the chin, before submerging back into the murky depths below.  The song fades out after another quick, biting faster section with molten doom grooves and a sample that endlessly repeats, “You’ll need more and more heroin.”  Sick, sick stuff all around!

At nearly 20 minutes in length, Livid’s offering “False Hope” is sure to cut all of the positivity out of your brain with a rusty chainsaw blade.  Distant, semi-melodic dual guitars mix a melancholic and lethal brew during the song’s drawn out but completely necessary and hypnotizing intro.  Shades of Samothrace, Deadbird and Asunder emanate from every forlorn chord delivered by David Swenson and Cole Benson.  It takes time but eventually bassist Chad Padelford and drummer Tim Leick season this sickeningly sad and soulful concoction with a lifetime funeral of endlessly flowing, autumnal rhythms.  Benson’s voice is an odd one, but it works and works quite well.  His cavernous, trailing hollers and bloodied melodics add an unusual narration style to the music that’s equally ethereal.  The style was certainly unexpected as I was prepped for more standard growling (which would have been sick too), though the surprise is a welcome, refreshing change of pace.  The drumming gets busier with every pass of the riffs and winding leads.  This whole thing is fuckin’ heavy but it’s definitely not traditional nor will it be for everyone.  As things come to a close the riffs get positively elephantine and swerve into these massive grooves that just crash over you like tidal waves.  The impatient will drop quickly, but those with the fortitude for this kind of sludgy, yet harmonically sound doom should have a field day.

I’ll always be a big fan of splits, till my dying day, as they potentially have the opportunity to turn you onto multiple killer bands or offer up rare tracks from the ones we already love.  No Funeral and Livid offer different visions but their ruthless takes on sludge and doom go hand-in-hand.  This limited edition LP is going fast and not many remain, so anyone interested should grab this sucker up on the quick.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
April 6th, 2018

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