Gangrened produce a varied and excellent debut album, confounding expectations with an open-minded take on the sludge genre. I found this to be a very enjoyable album to review, not simply because it confounded expectations in overall vibe but also surprised me frequently throughout listening. Many of the common tropes of early-2000s sludge are present but tend to appear as a reminder of the standard, rather than leaving the listener trapped in what can become quite a generic form.
There are many highlights, the dirge that is Hologrammi in particular. It shuffles along at a funereal pace, as if the weight of the protagonist’s malaise bears down upon barely broad enough shoulders. Bluesy guitar work and bellowed vocals bring to mind Bongzilla and Belfast’s heroes Slomatics. Sparse drumming with plenty of symbol crash maintains a crushing heaviness while Jon Imbernon’s riffage slowly pushes the track onwards.
After a droned intro Kuningatar (Queen) forsakes the unhurried approach of the previous track and kicks into a burly sludge riff. This is very much high energy sludge and a different vibe from earlier on in the record. Once again showing a reticence to be pigeonholed and a fear of predictability as Gangrened then allow the track to drop out of its groove and solo away into a psychedelic jam. Heavily distorted guitar work kicks the track back to the heavy setting and the band closes out with a heavy solo that is reminiscent of Ken from Sons of Otis’s colossal tone.
Bluesy guitar work and bellowed vocals bring to mind Bongzilla and Belfast’s heroes Slomatics…
Deadly Algorithm closes out with the rowdy Triangeli, a rabble rouser of a finale. With a bouncy riff, smashing percussion and shouted vocals the intro is the closest that this record gets to traditional stoner sludge, but true to form Gangrened immediately cut out to a spoken word and atmospheric doom section.
This is a richly varied release that finds new ground in a crowded and sometimes unimaginative field. The incorporation of noise, drone and ambient qualities are very welcome and allow pleasing light to counter the shade of the heavy doom and sludge characteristics that Gangrened employ. Definitely worth a listen or two and you may find something you don’t expect. It’s already out and available on limited run vinyl, digital direct from Gangrened on bandcamp and streaming through the usual suspects.
Label: Burial Records | Domestic System | Kohina Records | Noizeland Records | Odio Sonoro | Quebranta Records | Trepanation Recordings | Violence In The Veins
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram
Scribed by: Ian M