Extreme metal has many sub-genres. Some would say too many. One that has always seemed to be kind of an anomaly is the sludge metal genre. It’s a genre that’s not tossed around too often, and it seems that one really has to be in the mood for it to really enjoy it. But if you like the style and find a band that does it right, it can be a very satisfying listen.

The trademark of Whitehorse’s most recent full-length is the slow, plodding pace. But I’m not talking normal plodding here – I’m talking wading-through-waist-deep-mud-while-dragging-a-sled-full-of-300 pound weights style plodding. Fans of Eyehategod, Dopethrone, and similar bands will feel right at home here. Four of the five tracks clock in at over six minutes, which really helps to drive home their brooding, almost painfully heavy sound. It’s like a gorilla sitting on your chest, but one you really don’t want to tell to go away anytime soon.

They do switch up the pace just a little with track four – “Control, Annihilate.” At four minutes it’s the shortest track and a relatively faster one, but don’t worry there is nary a blast beat or double-time riff to be found. It’s a good track to break up the album, but not straying too far stylistically turns out to be a good choice. These Australians know their foundation is slow riffs, thick bass lines and drums that seem to take an eternity to go from beat-to-beat.

The vocals range from a hollow death growl to a mid-range, black metal-style rasp. The death growl further adds to the heavy nature of this disc and luckily the rasp never reaches that ultra high pitched grating sound. But as a whole the vocals are used in a minimalistic sense, which really helps to let the music breathe and the almost depressive effect of their style come through much more powerfully.

So if you want a change from the break-neck pace of the new Hate Eternal or Origin, grab a scotch and a cigar and kick back and chill with this album. Just make sure it’s on a day where you don’t have a long to-do list, as you won’t feel like doing any of it after being crushed by Progression.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kevin E
June 27th, 2011


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