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The Ditch and the Delta - The Ditch and the Delta

The Ditch and the Delta
The Ditch and the Delta
by Chris Hawkins at 30 April 2020, 8:11 PM

THE DITCH AND THE DELTA formed in 2014 in Salt Lake City, Utah.  After independently releasing their debut full-length, “Hives in Decline,” the band was picked up by the underground Metal über-label, Prosthetic Records.  2020 sees the band releasing its debut self-titled album for the label.  Theirs is a sound created from a solid cohesion between musicians, a bond that urges each other on to greatness.  While I’m usually reticent to categorize bands within genre parameters, this is a band that epitomizes the Sludge genre.

The first track, “Maimed,” erupts with a ferocious, savage appeal.  It is like a primal cacophony of insatiable lust for violence.  The guitar sound is thicker than New York cheesecake, dense without abandon.  Flurrying about while the guitar tracks engage in circles of dreary, down-tuned gloom is an energized, fluid percussion aided by the most crass-sounding of Turkish cymbals.  The band’s sound is firmly rooted in Sludge tropes and one can hear passages reminiscent of other acts such as bits of CONAN and a touch of TODAY IS THE DAY, but the way they approach their riffs is a style all their own.

The production contained within is centered around the guitar sound.  The sound is expansive and perfectly tailored to the unique chord ideas employed.  The tone of an absolutely overloaded gain circuit is achieved in grand fashion.  The drums pack a definite punch and the production allows for a clear representation of how this guy is truly all over the place!  The band is tuned so low that at time its is difficult to pick out the bass lines but when it drops out, it is certainly noticed upon its return.

Aesthetics of Pain,” the third track, slows things down a bit.  Hearing the band engage in a more restrained effort as such is refreshing after the onslaught of the first two tracks.  The guitar sound is like a man-eating beast on a long leash – the power and aggression are there yet impeded.  The riffs are like explosive bubbles of magma, liquid-hot yet flowing with an inherent devastating beauty.  Particularly in the latter half of the song, the melodic exploration truly opens up and when the gargantuanly low bass comes in, one’s attention is gained in full.  The final track, “Tectonic Selves,” steals the show.  This is by far the most original song on the record and features a unique blend of a chugging dirge with faint hints of melody over top.  It is incredibly difficult to describe but works extremely well.  It ends the album on a high note displaying their skills at the top of their game.

The bottom line is THE DITCH AND THE DELTA have cemented their claim upon some valid Sludge real estate.  Those not into the genre will find it harder to get into the band than bands like TORCHE or even ASG who spice up their songs with more mass appeal and just plain catchiness.  What does come across, though, is the power of this band as a band, the connection between the members.  Some things cannot be faked in the studio and a band’s inherent chemistry is one of them.  What the album really did for me is cause me to wonder about their live sound.  I cannot help but think that where some parts may come across as disjointed at times, they would be better translated in the live setting.  Hopefully, the pestilence that is destroying our society will dissipate so we can enjoy live shows again.  THE DITCH AND THE DELTA is a band I will be on the lookout for in the future.

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

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Maimed
2. Exile
3. Aesthetics of Pain
4. Molt
5. Bleed the Sun
6. Hiraeth
7. Tectonic Selves
Lineup:
Kory Quist – Bass, Vocals
Elliot Secrist - Guitars
Charles Bogus – Drums
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
     


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