Have you ever heard a sound so unrepentantly and monolithically dense it makes your head feel as though it’s in danger of bursting and your eyes feel like they will burst from their sockets in a shower of gore? This debut long player from Belgian noise mongers Sardonis is that sound!!! Originally released on CD a few months ago by Meteor City, this album has now been lovingly released on vinyl by not one, not two but three labels opting in. In short this album is so fucking heavy it takes three labels to lift it!!!!
Two years ago when their debut 7″ landed I questioned the band’s authenticity; surely an instrumental two piece consisting solely of drums and guitar must be overdubbing some bass somewhere to achieve such a thick wall of sound. My suspicions were, however, dashed and somehow it is actually possible for two people to create a tone so crushingly heavy it makes The Melvins sound like The Carpenters.
Sardonis don’t really do subtle, they do heavy, very fucking heavy. Being entirely instrumental, on hearing the original single, I did wonder if it would be possible for the band to sustain the listener’s interest over the course of a full album. It turns out that there is enough sonic diversion in the Sardonis arsenal to keep any devotee of the crunch happy as they drift from monumentally powerful doom that bullies Cathedral into submission and flushes their heads down the toilet, to grinding sludge to the kind of grimy 80’s thrash that bands like Destruction and Sodom played with wild, beer fuelled abandon. Throughout, whichever style they play through it is all delivered with razor sharp intensity and absolute precision. Just listen to “Ab Incunabulus” which ranges from an expansive yet clean into to a breath taking groove of the highest doom quality yet showcases subtle, almost imperceptible shifts in tempo. “Thor” on the other hand, showcases their crusty thrash tendencies…like Venom with bigger amps and considerably bigger talent!!! We even get some brief respite with the acoustic “More Severe Things Await” which comes across like one of Tony Iommi’s brief interludes from one of the early Sabbath classics.
Halfway through listening to this album you suddenly become aware that you haven’t once heard a vocal line or guitar solo. There simply isn’t room for such frippery in the Sardonis sound. Any deviation from the power of the riff would detract wildly from the overall sound and jar the listener. Riffs and beats, riffs and beats…that’s all there is and that’s all you need.
True this may not be the most original release in recent years; the riffs, majestic as they may be, are not anything you won’t have heard before a million times, but this is delivered with such power and conviction it is hard to ignore the sheer weight of their Cathedral meets High On Fire meets Weedeater skullfuckery!!!! Buy the vinyl and watch it melt on your turntables!!!
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall