Attention all bass players!!! Your services are no longer required, you have been deemed surplus to requirements. Please collect your belongings and don’t let the door hit you in the arse on your way out!!!
It must indeed be a worrying time for the lowly four string plucker. For so many years now he has been overshadowed by his musical colleagues the guitarist and vocalist and considered “the guy that stands at the back out of the lights” just look at Tom Hamilton from Aerosmith, whatshisname out of Judas Priest (it might be Dave something, I can’t remember), John-Paul Jones and John Entwhistle. The latter pair were even overshadowed by drummers for Christ’s sake and that takes some doing!!! They are now in danger of becoming extinct as an increasing number of bands strip down to the basics and eschew the lower frequencies.
Sardonis are another guitar and drums instrumental two piece and hail from the rock and roll wasteland that is…Belgium. For two guys they make a mighty sound that is steeped in the heritage of classic doom but isn’t afraid to chuck in some more contemporary sounds to their blackened cauldron of rock.
Opening track “Nero D’Avola” is pure doom drawing on some of the more obvious influences such as Cathedral and St Vitus as opposed to the more retro tones of Sabbath. I know it’s hard to imagine two people creating an epic sound with such a stripped down approach but somehow they have managed it as this track rolls along like a mammoth dragging its balls in the snow.
“Skullcrusher AD” does exactly what it says on the tin…crushes. Building from an atmospheric intro this soon kicks the door in with more prime heavyweight sludge. This is thicker than a house full of Big Brother contestants!!!
he next track “MOR” is far from middle-of-the-road as it ups the pace with some brutal staccato drumming and a riff which brings to mind some of Eyehategod or Bongzilla’s more lucid and smoke free moments. The mighty Behemoth of doom is never too far away though as he puts the boot in for another lesson in down tempo aural buggery in the mid section.
Lastly we have the fantastically titled “Sick Horses”. Here the Eyehategod comparisons are more obvious as well as a nod to some old school thrash as the drums blast from the start. This isn’t your nice clean Anthrax style thrash though, oh no, this is your dirty Venom meets Sodom in a swamp style thrash. Mr Doom makes his expected appearance though to remind you of these guys’ true colours.
The sound here is immense, obviously the guitars have been double tracked to thicken the sound but have they cheated and added some bass? It’s so hard to tell as the low end is here in abundance, maybe we’ll only find out if they can get their arse over here so we can catch them live. If you had told me six months ago I would be digging an instrumental two piece band let alone two bands (check out Sheffield’s Rachmanite), I would have puffed out my chest, declared you a fool and demanded you go away and listen to Geezer Butler and pray to the Lord Dio for forgiveness!!! Now, bring it on I say, let’s bend the rules of tradition.
As with any music of this nature, I do wonder how this could be sustained over a whole album or a full live set without the benefit of vocals or the extra dimension a bassist can add to the compositions, but taken on it’s own merit this release is a must have, and at a limited run of 250 copies (50 on white vinyl, 200 on black) I suspect this won’t be available for too long. Fear not though as a full length will be coming on Electric Earth records in 2009.
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall