Noothgrush
Live For Nothing

The 7” EP was both a blessing and a curse in the 90’s. They were cheap to produce and sell, which meant small labels could produce them easily and that you could walk away from a show with new music even if you only had 2 or 3 bucks to spare. Of course, the rub was that they were pumped out at such a pace they were tough to keep up with. Every week it seemed like Spazz had a half dozen new splits out, and lord knows how many now forgotten bands managed to release one or two EPs before dropping off the face of the earth.

Noothgrush were one of those bands who loved the 7”. They released more than a half dozen splits before releasing a full length, which was more of a compilation that included songs culled from earlier splits and a few unreleased songs. Tracking all those individual, long out of release records now is a tough proposition, but thankfully the band is seeing something of a renaissance this year. Emetic Records has reissued their absolutely essential “Failing Early, Failing Often” compilation and Southern Lord has blessed us with not one, but two live performances from one of the best sludge bands from back in the day.

Noothgrush helped define an agonizingly slow blend of doom and sludge, a sound carried on by more well known contemporaries Grief and Corrupted. They could groove like Eyehategod but preferred to dwell at lower tempos, dragging riffs like corpses from a combine. A decade before Khanate blew the doors off extreme doom with Things Viral, Noothgrush was one of the standard bearers of for super-slow, ultra-crushing metal.

Live for Nothing compiles two live radio shows, 18 tracks totaling over 80 minutes of material from the band at their peak. Brutal and nauseatingly slow, Noothgrush trawl the depths of human misery (and Star Wars lore) for inspiration for their brand of bleak dirge. From the stoney grooves on “Derrel’s Porno Song” to the crawling doom of “Erode the Person”, Noothgrush are bereft of the pretension that plagues so many modern bands. This is no-shit, straight up, heavy-heavy, sludge.  Listen to where they take Celtic Frost’s “Procreation of the Wicked” to hear what I mean. Most of the songs are fairly short, coming in under five minutes, and the record moves briskly, despite the pace of the music, though it’s probably best to split this listen in two.

The recordings are decent, they sound like what you would expect from college radio broadcasts during the 90’s. The first recording has the drums pushed a little too far back and the second has the snare a bit too loud but it doesn’t detract anything from the music. This isn’t dudes in tight pants seeing how many notes they can cram in a riff. It’s a couple of people exorcising frustration and getting in that space where nothing matters but the riff and the tone rumbling through your chest and brain. This is essential listening for doom fans and a vital document of a now lost scene.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
December 8th, 2011

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