Buried Souls
The Crossing

Switzerland quartet Buried Souls self-proclaim their love for New Orleans sludgecore on this Self-Titled debut and I’m not going to argue with them.  They might just shoot me up with black tar and then drag my lifeless corpse to drown face first in the swamps of Switzerland.  I am hearing shades of Eyehategod, Soilent Green, Rat in a Bucket and Crowbar here but there are also touches of trigger-happy, blastbeat grindcore, dirty Sunlight Studios filth like Entombed and a light smothering fricassee of English crust-punk seasoned with Cali powerviolence.  You might call me a liar but that’s what I’m hearing and it’s fuckin’ good stuff all around.  They ain’t spooked by the oddball swerves into blackened frost ala Goatwhore and pulverizing, sludgy slow-motion death metal either.

“The Crossing” is a strong opener with stressed, Strep-throat shouts spiraling out the action into a crunchy, crusty wall of riffs twitching with dirty, sludgy medicine cabinet blues played faster than most muckswillers.  Mathieu’s vocals are a loving nod to the serpent-skinned, dry lunged crust of the English sludge/punk scene including Hard to Swallow, Among the Missing and some of Raging Speedhorn’s early skin charring cigarette burns.  Alex’s guitar tone is overdriven to fuck and back and it’s is where the Entombed and perhaps even Trap Them references creep into my headspace, but not content to follow simply what’s been done before, Alex bends all of his notations into twisted blues where pain is captured in the form of a high-speed puke groove.  Skin-pounder Scorp rides all of the changes with punk-nosed fills, straight rock beats and even devastating blasts that are enough to give any grind band a run for their money.  Desolatevoid fans should be able to pick up on this fence-smashing, twin-line straddle of ugly doom ramming into more frantic genres.  Bassist Yann isn’t the most audible in the mist but his pulse is set just right against the guitar to allow some slight spaces to breathe; not many though.  Though we’ve heard this kind of stuff done a million times there’s a huge difference between “phoning it in” and showing “conviction” in what you’re about.  Buried Souls has the conviction that’ll bring me back for a second listen and Mathieu’s voice shows more than a one-note hardcore scream attack with higher screeches, burly shouts, angry spoken word and deep death growls thrown around to keep the attack varied and unpredictable.

Chunking, chugging and urgent “Change Something” has a doom-y, galloping hardcore thrash riff beaten into place with stampeding double bass and dizzying tempo switches in its early going.  Dissonant chords interject Alex’s heaving sludgy riffs for ill-feelings that burn of hardcore tinged sludge akin to The Abominable Iron Sloth, Limbic Riot and even Exalt (all bands old and new worth your time).  Beats turn to blasts and warm, warping tones soon die a death in Norway as cold tremolo-picked runs, icy distortion and screeching vocal mantras give the song an altogether different vibe.  The true decimation comes like an H-bomb to an Amish farming town whenever the song’s finale knuckledrags its way into a bloody raw rhythmic drop, molten doom-y death metal riffing and vomiting vocal spews lurking far beyond the realms of human comprehension.  This stuff is powerful n’ ugly…oddly reminiscent of the shoulda, woulda, coulda champions of awesome genre changes The Bodybag Romance.  “Fraternity” also opens with a staccato, hardcore lunge with rolling toms and that familiar New Orleans’ weight slithering its way into some killer grooves reminiscent of Extreme Noise Terror beating the living fuckin’ shit outta Eyehategod/Crowbar.  Mutinous call/response shouted and screamed vocals overthrow the captains, first mates and crew into an inescapable whirlpool which eventually descends to some of truly heinous lurching, churning sludge glop.

Never content to rest their laurels but rather break them into a thousand tiny pieces, the song ends with a walloping series of Scorp’s drum fills, Alex’s frenetic thrash solos and enough noise to cancel church permanently.  Not deviating far from Buried Souls’ chosen formula, “The Worthless” opts to intersect hurtling southern swing riffs with bloody-knuckled Slayer thrashing and trippy, melodic noise licks that construct the track a serious psychedelic atmosphere that stretches higher than the Tower of Babel.  Scraping, high-end, black metal guitar shred is blasted into oblivion before the sludge riffing returns with a vengeance alongside Mathieu’s strychnine vocal slurps.  This tune’s got everything a sludge fan needs while balancing the traditional with the unusual in similar throes of grace to an expert sword juggler.  A fat, sloppy bass drone ebbs to the forefront until the whole thing is overtaken again by a flurry of broken drum sticks, hostile vocal screams and riffs from the dark side of Black Sabbath and Black Flag.

Skynyrd/Sabbath riffs mutated by a local radiation factory keep the groove an ironclad boogie when “Disgrace” comes barging in through the front door with a gut full of moonshine.  Once more the songwriting doesn’t necessarily differ from the tracks that proceeded it but Buried Souls more than make up for any sameness in compositional tactics with quick explosions of grinding thrash, multiple harsh vocal styles, strangled pinch harmonics and plunging death/sludge dysfunction (with low vocals and throbbing double-bass drums to match).  Raging grind encompasses “Mind” from the first note; like an unclean, unwashed version of Soilent Green obsessed with English crust.  The chaos settles into controlled sludgy spurts, often derailing into sloppy riff-grind and society hatin’ punk whenever the boys are tired of indulging in the fucked up slowness and stinging mosquito riff swarms (still plenty of Mason Dixon riffing remains and keeps the head banging).  That death/grind ending completely ices this cake with a nice smooth crust comprised of scabs, ear wax and recently unclogged mucous.

“More Advices” adopts one icky sludgy pacing crawl from the beginning…sticking to it while the riffs change frequently as the tempo stays Oaken n’ rooted to the bottom of the Louisiana swamps.  At nearly 6 minutes in length, finisher “Take my Flesh as Offering” is damn near twice as long as anything else on the record.  With its extensive course of travel you might expect something a little slothier but this cut immediately goes into a staggering, d-beat punk curmudgeon offset by chewy hardcore sludge riffs and maddening reverses that veer into throw-up Cali grindcore.  The riff at 2:25 is a vintage, unstoppable classic where 70s hardrock is given a lethal amphetamine shot of blood boiling sludge which constantly ascends before slowing into a head-nodding bomber you won’t soon forget.  It’s the record’s best riff and song to my ears by a longshot.

Buried Souls have dropped a debut record that surely kicks off my excitement for their upcoming EP that’s due out at the end of the year.  Refusing to stick to one thing for too long, jaunts of lengthy tradition are turned upside down by genre changes that refuse to play to any set of rules.  Fans of sludge, doom, thrash, crust and grind should have a field day with this one…I know I did!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
August 31st, 2016


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    “local radiation factory” slayed me.

  2. Commented by: Jay

    Ha ha, thanks Nick! Glad you dug that one.

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