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Slomatics - Canyons

Slomatics
Canyons
by Gary Hernandez at 25 June 2019, 2:22 PM

For 15 years SLOMATICS have been cranking out fuzz laden Sludge/Doom as consistently as darkness seeps from the void. For the uninitiated, SLOMATICS have been around since 2004. They hail from Belfast, Ireland and comprise three members. When you click on the ‘complete lineup’ tab for SLOMATICS in Encyclopaedia Metallum, only four names pop up. Remarkably, over the span of their 15-year career, they have had only one lineup change. In 2011 ex-NAUT drummer, Marty, replaced ex-NAUT drummer, Joe. That’s right, even their lineup changes are consistent.

In June 2019, SLOMATICS released “Canyons,” their sixth full-length album (seventh if you count their live album). “Canyons” is a fistful of cosmic Sludge, with riffs hanging in sustain like objects hurtling through frictionless space. Marty’s vocals, saturated with echo-chambered tonality, add to atmosphere of vast, emptiness. Even his gutturals sound like they are rising from the bottom of a stone well, in space. Thematically, reading through the song titles triggers cosmic existential despair—Do androids dream of electric sheep? Only if they have tentacles and surf the abyss.

“Canyons” is diverse in tempo and song length, but consistent in theme and tone. “Gears of Despair,” the opening track, comes in at over nine minutes, while “Arms of the Sun” is a scant two minutes. There are achingly slow, synth-based movements and tracks which beg for digitally or organically induced visual interpretation (“Seven Echoes” and “Arms of the Sun”). There are also tracks so heavy with fuzz that they seem barely able to escape their own gravity (“Mind Fortresses on Theia” and “Cosmic Guilt”). How SLOMATICS get so much sound out of a three-piece band I am sure will be the subject of someone’s Nobel Prize winning study.

My personal favorite track is “Telemachus My Son,” which starts with a slow-grove drum intro before it gains lift-off with a powerful Stoner-laced riff. That riff, in turn, grows in intensity until it achieves critical velocity with Marty’s vocals. The song then expands across several movements, but stays tethered to its essential riff. For me it’s the perfect Stoner meet Doom hybrid.

While there is a lot to applaud about “Canyons,” in the end it is a classic piece of Sludge/Doom. Is it groundbreaking? Probably not, but I don’t think you come to SLOMATICS for groundbreaking. You come to SLOMATICS to stay rooted. All in all, “Canyons” is an excellent offering. It keeps SLOMATICS relevant, and reminds everyone just how good Doom can be.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 8

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Gears of Despair
2. Cosmic Guilt
3. Seven Echoes
4. Telemachus, My Son
5. Beyond the Canopy
6. Arms of the Sun
7. Mind Fortresses on Theia
8. Organic Caverns II
Lineup:
Chris – Guitars
David – Guitars
Marty – Drums, vocals 
Record Label: Black Bow Records
     


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