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Earthship - Withered

by Danny Sanderson at 16 October 2014, 5:53 PM

When most people say "Sludge Metal", it usually conjures up images of New Orleans, and bands like CROWBAR and EYEHATEGOD, as well as a lot of other bands from across the more southern states of the US. The first place you think of definitely wouldn't be Germany. But that is the place where EARTHSHIP, perhaps one of the best Sludge bands I've heard in a while, resides, more specifically in the country's biggest metropolis', Berlin. Just four years after they formed, they've put out two great albums and an equally good EP, and are on the verge of releasing their new record, "Withered".

This album begins with the extremely heavy Sludge anthem, "Sanguine". At just over two and a half minutes, it isn't very long, but it leaves an impression on the listener and sets the tone for what is to come. The song that follows it, "Serpent Cult", serves as the albums first single, and can best be described as being a cross between early MASTODON and CROWBAR. It's got the thick tones and swaying grooves that makes Sludge Metal so good, but it also has a progressive edge to it that isn't typically found in other Sludge bands. "The Garden" is an incredibly interesting song, and doesn't necessarily fit in with the rest of the album, sticking more to a chug than any serious grooves and riffs, although these things are definitely there. "Dead Faint" is a straightforward Sludge song, with plenty of riffs and aggression. Songs like "Adrift" and "Lament of Torment" saunter along with an infectious groove that it's impossible not to head-bang along to, whereas other songs, such as "Throne of Bones" are far more chilled out and upbeat, at least by the standards of the rest of the album. Aside from the opening track, "Emerald Blades" is perhaps the heaviest and most aggressive on the whole album, and has a noticeable ENTOMBED/ENTRAILS influence; it's essentially a Death Metal song with a ton more riffs and attitude. The tenth, title track on this album, is also the shortest, not even making the two-minute mark. But nonetheless, it's a really cool track, starting out in a more relaxed fashion, and when you think that the whole thing is going to be a slow and mellow affair, it gives you one last dose of thick, heavy Sludge to absorb before the album comes to a close.

This is, for all intents and purposes, a really good slab of Sludge. This band are relatively early in their careers, and they are already putting out some really fantastic albums that might well rank alongside some of the albums that the heavyweights of the genre have been putting out in recent years. I would honestly recommend this to anyone who is into CROWBAR, MASTODON and even Death Metal titans like ENTOMBED. It has all of the key ingredients that make the music of these bands great, and I'm sure that this band will be playing alongside these juggernauts in the future.

4 Star Rating

1. Sanguine
2. Serpent Cult
3. The Garden
4. Dead Faint
5. Adrift
6. Throne of Bones
7. Veil of Gloom
8. Lament of Torment
9. Emerald Blades
10. Withered
Jan Oberg - Vocals, Guitar
Sabine Oberg - Bass
Florian Hauser - Drums
Marcel Schulz - Guitar
Record Label: Pelagic Records


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