Saturday, 22 October 2011

Slabdragger - Regress


So, this is the second Holy Roar album review I've done recently, but this time it's on the mighty Slabdragger. Again, this album has been out a while, so I'm sorry for being so slow to get it done.

First of all, a bit of an introduction for the uninitiated. Slabdragger are a slow, thundery sludge band from Croydon, UK. They are made up of Yusuf Tary on bass and vocals,
Sam Thredder on guitar and vocals and Matt Byrne on Drums.

These guys are really starting to take off in the UK, with a recent appearance at Birmingham's very own underground music and arts festival, Supersonic under their belts, the only way is up.


Anyway, onto Regress, which is Slabdragger's debut album for Holy Roar. It's an eight tracker which lasts around 47 minutes. It begins with Bab el-mandeb, which builds with crunchy sludgy riffs and awesome dual growling vocals. The song is mainly instrumental and includes a really consistent low end, slow groove. The mixture of low rasping and higher pitched growls add to a sense of foreboding evil. The song includes a really cool lead guitar solo and even a bass solo, which bands don;t seem to do very often. Even on the evidence of this first song, Slabdragger seem to have the muscle and music to stand alongside scene vets like High on Fire. Their second track Erroneous Maximus is the shortest song on the album, at 2.24. It's a much more immediate song, showing Slabdragger's willingness to change pace. They also include some cool choral singing into the song, which adds a symphonic black metal influence to the song. The album gets progressively heavier after this, but manages to include more traditional clean riffs and vocals to remind listeners of where the genre and Slabdragger's influence came from.

fourth song Iron Vulture is the bands longest songs nearly ten minutes. The riffing in the intro is more conventionally paced, before Slabdragger break out into their doomy sludge again. There's good changes of pace in the song and jazzy/bluesy bass parts can be heard over the top of the music, and shows the obvious skills of bassist Yusuf Tary. Along with the solo work of guitarist Sam Thredder and the brilliant drumming of Matt Byrne holding it all together, this is probably the most complete track on the album. Slabdragger then use movie samples that sound like they where recorded straight from an old wireless radio and contact low end feedback in the first of two instrumental tracks. Needless to say, it's sounds really evil and fits the album perfectly!

The sixth track, Murky Fen uses one repeated riff to anchor the rest of the song, and brings back those dual rasping vocals with more prominence. Seventh track, Woe Betide, is the second instrumental track on Regress, which follows Slabdragger's sludgy formula, before employing a gorgeous solo, which breathes life into the song, which abruptly ends and moves into their final track.

Overall it's cool to listen to a British sludge band, as there really hasn't been one properly since Electric Wizard last released a record. Don't get me wrong,  there are loads of other really cool sludge bands in the UK scene that deserve exploring, but from someone like me, who listens to mainly more urgent, stomping hardcore and metal, it's nice to slow down and appreciate musicianship in a slower setting, as with Slabdragger you can!

You can follow Slabdragger on their Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Slabdragger and through Myspace at http://www.myspace.com/slabdragger. Also, make sure you go and visit Holy Roar Records at http://holyroarrecords.com, where you can pick an awesome two LP version of Regress.






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