Suma ‘Ashes’ CD/LP 2010

Suma 'Ashes' CD/LP 2010Let me tell you, Suma do NOT fuck around – they mean BUSINESS, and their business is cracking your skull WIDE open with their sheer, unrelenting, massive HEAVINESS. Imagine The Melvins’ ‘Lysol’ being played at you full-blast through a wind-tunnel full of Dark Matter; THAT heavy. Seriously, I have no idea how many people there are in this band, or if indeed you can even CALL them ‘people’, but opening track ‘Headwound’ crushes you flat with the sound of what must be four or five THINGS manning EACH instrument. The drums, the guitars, the throbbing, pulsing bass, the howling vocals, ALL sound totally inhuman and mind-bendingly HUGE. THIS is what Lovecraft was describing when he said “a mountain walked or stumbled”. I shit you not.

Coming from the Sons Of Otis school of COSMIC DOOM, this is Suma’s third LP, and with its five tracks adding up to over an hour, ‘Ashes’ is a seriously daunting proposition. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they melted into pullulating slime immediately after finishing recording this beast. I mean, how are they gonna FOLLOW IT?!?

It seems irrelevant to break down each track individually as they are all cut from the same cyclopean cloth, but that is NOT to imply that ‘Ashes’ sounds boring and repetitive – far from it, in fact, but the record IS best taken as a whole and totally immersive experience, rather than as a series of separate tracks, in order to fully comprehend the magnitude of the sound on display here.

Evil sorcerer of sound Billy Anderson has made the forceful, echo-laden vocals sound like five Buzz Osbornes at the same time, and the drums sound like four colossal Dale Crovers. The bass is experienced, rather than felt or heard, and the guitars sound like they could crack open the Marianis Trench even further. ‘Headwound’, ‘Ashes’, ‘Orissa’, ‘Justice’, each track becomes progressively huger, until the climactic point, just over ten minutes in, of final track ‘War On Drugs’, when it seems as though your ears, guts and speakers just CANNOT take any more of a pounding and everything begins to distort – I think my speaker brackets actually BUCKLED – FINALLY, with a ring-modulated bloop of electronics, the assault is over.

When I finally regained my senses after this ordeal, I cleaned the ichor out of my ears, punched the speaker cones back into shape, and PLAYED IT AGAIN.


Label: Speakerphone Recordings (CD) / Throne (LP)

Scribed by: Paul Robertson