When I read the promo stuff that the Shaman sent me with this record, I was definitely intrigued. How do you create a 3 track, forty minute LP combining the energy of crust punk and crushing sludge doom? That just totally shouldn’t work, but it turns out somehow, it can.
Take the opening track, ‘Sanity Is For The Passive’. The first five minutes or so is raucous, vitriolic d-beat thunder, all spitting teeth and flailing limbs. All of a sudden the song drops out into howling feedback and then becomes a glistening, Cult of Luna-esque monster. It is the aural equivalent of that moment in action movies where the car chase ends in a vehicle flying off a cliff into slow motion. It is bleakly beautiful, a stark reminder of the impact such a stylistic twist can bring. Riffs crash into focus, jagged peaks in the gloom while whispering voices create a sense of foreboding. It is almost like listening to two different bands smashed together. But it isn’t disjointed, nor jarring. This sounds like the future. Bands have long been fiddling and twisting genres to create something original or unique, and this is what Nux Vomica do here.
‘Reeling’ opens with a mournful, gentle guitar resembling something from latter day Isis or Agalloch, then slowly builds into a rising crescendo of post metal. There is something definitely Neurosis about it, the clean melodies overlaid by a savage roar but not dampened by it. It is an uplifting track; vast spacious riffs create breathing room for the propulsive drumming. It is much more measured than the previous track, eschewing almost all the traditional ideas of what hardcore punk and d-beat are, while still retaining that vital spirit. It is a slow burning monster.
The massive ‘Choked At The Roots’ starts with a rumbling bassline, and becomes a psychedelic sludge odyssey. Possessed of subtle moments that seep into your brain, and a great riff when it finally kicks in, ‘Choked At The Roots’ is the ideal combination of this post metal/sludge hybrid that has become Nux Vomica’s modus operandi. It provides the sprawling landscape for the thunderous riffing to tear along. A titanic track of ebb and flow, peak and trough, and probably one of the finest tracks put out this year so far. I love every second, from the faster sections down to the slow burn ominous mid-section.
Nux Vomica’s self-titled record is a sprawling journey; a handbook on combining soaring riffs and the rawness of crust. They have moved into the territory of luminaries like Isis or Cult of Luna, but have brought within themselves a foundation of punkish energy. It is an interesting mix, and it works well, even over tracks that are longer than six of your average Discharge songs. Ever since Neurosis began to twist and stretch hardcore and metal into new, huge shapes, bands have attempted to create the same majesty. Nux Vomica come mighty close on this record, and while not reaching the same lofty heights of Von Till et al, they’ve created a monster in this.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson