Beaten Back To Pure
Southern Apocalypse EP

One look at the cover of Southern Apocalypse – a grainy shot of a bathroom, a suicide victim with a gun, a confederate flag – and you know just what you’re in for: brutal, tortured southern sludge.

Comparisons to Eyehategod are inevitable, but I’d go so far as to say that Beaten Back to Pure are even more hateful and depraved. There’s something akin to recent Crowbar here too, not so much stylistically, but more in terms of sheer sonic density. Big, fat guitars with absolutely perfect tone churn out a mix of dragging stoner blues and Sabbath stomp, with solos that bend all over the fretboard like a staggering drunk trying to find his way to the next riff.

Very little melody is present, but BBTP keep things interesting with non-repeating song structures and well-placed tempo changes. It’s nice to hear a southern sludge band who aren’t afraid to speed up the tempo now and then, like on the crushing “Failure Wine,” where the band sounds like they’re trying their damnedest to stay atop a bucking bronco. Other standout tracks include the galloping “Whore’s Bath,” which opens with a bouncy groove, slows to a crawl, cranks out a good, old-fashioned, mournful “where have you gone Tony Iommi?” lead, then picks up steam towards the end. Also check out the closer “Six Gun Salute,” which just keeps getting slower and meaner during the final section of the tune – sludge indeed.

Vocalist Ben screams out one of the most scathing, scraping, throat-shreading performances I’ve heard since Kiss It Goodbye disbanded. His utterly merciless, whisky and gasoline-chugging grate is positively painful to behold. You can hear his throat ripping on “Tremors Beneath the Flesh.” It’s just plain sick – you’ve gotta love it! With six tracks spanning slightly over 30 minutes, this album makes its case with conviction – not only is a seventh track unnecessary, it might be humanly unwithstandible. This stuff is that caustic.

Looking for a good kick in the ass by a pair of spurred boots? Forget about that odds-and-ends collection Eyehategod released a little while ago and grab a copy of Southern Apocalypse. Whisky, weed and hookers sold separately.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay Paiva
August 25th, 2001

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