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Stricken – From A Well Of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born

Stricken
From A Well Of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 09 May 2022, 1:29 AM

STRICKEN is a sludge/doom band from Seattle, Washington. "From a Well of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born," is their full length debut album. Considering this is a debut album, and the only other release being a demo from 2018, this is a pretty strong effort. The band's confidence seems to ride high—they know what sound they are going for and go straight for the throat. Sludge is supposedly a mix of doom and hardcore but there are a ton of bands with a sludge aspect to them that really don't display much of a hardcore or punk feel. These bands tend to concentrate on the abrasive dirty fee of the genre. STRICKEN has plenty of focus on that end but there is also an undeniable energy to their music that aligns alongside hardcore.

As you can imagine, this gives this album a varied sound, at least in terms of presentation. The opening track, "Consuming Misery," has a thick, slow, groove that forms the meat of the song. Rob Ropkins vocals are a clean shout and resonate off the riffs well. The mid section of the song stands out because of his bass that seeps out from the slightly melodic riffs of Nick Charlton but Chris Wozniak's drums can't be discounted for their solid approach. "Sacrifice," hits hard and reminds me of CROWBAR with how the vocals stretch across the massive riffs. Musically, the song begins as as a dirge of sludge and doom but ramps up over time into an even harder hitting riff fest. The double bass is consuming, acting like a large army on the move to bring all out annihilation.

"Eon" has that hardcore energy, especially with the drums and vocals. This song is more up-tempo and the riffs more direct than a slow crawl. The vocals are centered mores towards a rougher style in places but that energetic shout returns before a thunderous section pulverized the landscape. The album is capped off with the eleven and a half minute epic, "Beyond The Void." As any long song on an albums end should do, this one fully encompasses the ideas and overall vibe of the album as a whole. After a build up of just over three minutes, the song explodes around the 3:15 mark, the riffs coupled with pounding bass, both form guitar and drums. The song rides high here, the increasingly intricate drumming allowing for the perfect opportunity for the vocals to give their all. Slightly dissonant melody breaks through, creating a bridge to the other side that leads to a furious section where the drums go crazy over riffs—then it all settles into a doom groove and from there the band knocks out of the park.

All in all, I enjoyed my time with STRICKEN's brand of sludge/doom. "From a Well of Emptiness, A Stygian Serpent Born," has a lot of crossover appeal that will pull fans from different corners across the scene together.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Consuming Misery
2. Divine Appointment
3. Sacrifice
4. Eon
5. Dishonored In Death
6. Sudden Fall
7. Beyond The Void
Lineup:
Rob Ropkins – Bass, Vocals
Chris Wozniak – Drums
Nick Chartlon - Guitars
Record Label: Horror Pain Gore Death
     


Rating

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Edited 22 May 2022
 

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