The Cosmic Cornucopia

Usually when perusing the promo portal I skip over reissues and re-releases to focus my attention on new stuff. However, upon discovering Willowtip records was repackaging the three full-length albums from UK’s highly innovative extreme metal duo Slugdge and dubbing it The Cosmic Cornucopia, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to delve in and spread the word. Ever since stumbling across the band’s exceptional second LP Gastronomicon a couple of years ago, Slugdge’s endlessly creative and innovative combination of extreme styles has kept me captivated and consistently coming back for more of their zany brand of offbeat extreme metal. And now with proper label backing, hopefully Slugdge will begin getting the accolades and attention they sorely deserve.

Don’t be fooled by the band’s quirky obsession with all things slug related or their endless procession of clever song title puns, musically Slugdge mean serious fucking business. Beginning with their debut album Born of Slime from 2013, Slugdge immediately grip you with their genre bending sound, mish-mashing various extreme components into a slime ridden package of cohesive though schizoid and refreshingly unpredictable songwriting.  Influences are difficult to pinpoint, a testament to Slugdge’s unique vision, however their sound is enveloped with darkly sinister vibes and sludgy blackened tones along with traces of doom, prog, thrash and death. The strong death metal presence features hearty nods to the classic Floridian and Gothenburg metal scenes, sitting comfortably alongside more modern sensibilities and their own quirky brand of edgy extreme metal hybridization.

Accompanying the excellent musicianship, catchy songwriting and uncompromising uniqueness of the Slugdge sound are the deranged and deliciously versatile vocals of Matt Moss. The dude possesses an awesome array of demented growls, shrieks and screams to go along with his belting melodic cleans, unleashed in unpredictable ways and leaving a memorable impact. Overall his unhinged delivery and strong vocal range recall the work of Anaal Nathrakh’s Dave Hunt. High praise indeed. 2013 debut Born of Slime exhibits the kind of quirky and innovative sound the band would move closer to perfecting on subsequent albums, but it remains an excellent debut in its own right. From the seething progressive sludge-doom of “Eyehatesalt” to the warped hellride of “Killing Fields,” Born of Slime is frequently brilliant and certainly never dull.

While Born of Slime remains a strong introduction to Slugdge’s unique formula, the two follow-up albums take their music to a whole other level of excellence. 2014’s Gastronomicon blew me away and served as my own gut punching introduction to the band and remains arguably their strongest release up to this point in their hopefully lengthy career. Gastronomicon is an action packed ride of adrenaline pumping metal. Killer cuts like the blistering title track, with its powerhouse vocal melodies, shape-shifting twists and muscular blackened melo-death, sets a high early standard that Slugdge maintain with impressive consistency. They frequently intercut their quirky metal weirdness with down and dirty riffage and corrosive grooves, evidenced on the vicious “Slimewave Zero” and the unhinged attack of “Invertahate.”

Although I slightly prefer Gastronomicon, Slugdge’s most recent LP, 2015’s Dim and Slimeridden Kingdoms, is certainly no slouch and contains many of Slugdge’s signature songwriting quirks and traits. Overall it feels like a more refined and measured release, featuring a stronger melodic sensibility and proggier bent. “Spore Ensemble” stands out with its hugely memorable guitar melodies, interspersed with thrashy bursts of proggy blackened death, with the stellar mix of serpentine melody and explosiveness a treat to behold. The band’s tradition of writing songs of hefty length continues but never at the cost of quality songwriting. Each song is so densely packed, filled with memorable moments, and carefully orchestrated that time flies by, evidenced on the nearly eight minute stunner, “Suffering Quahog.” A triumph of eclectic yet fluid songwriting, “Suffering Quahog” finds Slugdge effortlessly shifting gears and styles to devastating effect, from riffy sludge-doom, to expansive bursts of melody, gritty blasting and technically adventurous prog-death, it’s a wonderful showcase of the band’s supreme compositional prowess.

Personal preferences aside, all three albums come highly recommended. Unfortunately I can’t comment directly on the packaging for the physical edition, however, whether dishing out the cash for the physical or digital formats, I wholeheartedly recommended the uninitiated to get on board. Slugdge write incredibly fun, bravely adventurous and infectiously crafted extreme metal songs, blazing a silvery trail of slug-inspired innovation and controlled madness.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
March 22nd, 2017


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