I have only just recovered from the last time the shaman asked me to review something from Dry Cough Records. That record was Resent Crosshairs – a stagnant pool of miserable sludge, in other words it was great. So when the opportunity rose to dive head first into another piece of filth, well I got my Covid-19 full body suit and breathing apparatus, prayed to Cheesus Crust and took the plunge.
The aforementioned record is Finish sludge merchants Slave Hands with their new release No More Feelings. The record is the groups fourth full length in seven years and their first on the British label. I’d like to shout out to Andy and Dry Cough for putting out records of this level of pollutant in the UK. The label has great releases under their belt alongside a killer distro selection on their website.
Slave Hands channel the suffocating sludge sounds of nineties groups such as Grief, Noothgrush and Corrupted. The sound they put out is heavier than an anvil dipped in wet cement and filthier than a zombie whose just broke light after digging its way out of its grave. With a record title like No More Feelings coupled with track titles such as Malignant Filth Vessel and Misery Is The Secret To Happiness you know you’re in for a abrasive yet despondent experience. The artwork is like an amalgamation of Altars Of Madness and Come To Grief, I find something new every-time I look at the maddening image.
The intro, Misery Is The Secret To Happiness, is a over a minute of caustic feedback intertwined with a sample of what sounds like a strained mother shouting at her daughter about their dead sister and the daughter screaming back about why she did it. It’s an incredibly bleak introduction to the record. The first full track is the aptly titled Misery Is The Secret To Happiness and it’s where you’re introduced to what Slave Hands are all about. Kicking in with thick crusty riffs, throbbing bass tones, deep growled vocals and an utterly corrosive production to give us the 90s sludge quadfecta. The track has a tepid melody that makes you feel like you’re swaying from side to side; it’s disorientating but killer and disgustingly heavy.
No More Feelings is a uncompromising disease ridden sludge monster…
The album is a suitable tone for the fearful and dark times we all currently live in. To Sink Deep is a slow teeth pulling exercise in misery with a guitar tone that reminds me of Electric Wizards Dopethrone. It’s got this washed out dissonance that really adds to the sound on display with a real death doom feel, especially as it rounds out. One of best things about the record is the vocals on display. They’re not aggressive or abrasive, they’re more sanguine and morose, which is just perfect. There is an occasional surprising tone change on the record, for example, on the Faith the guitar work sounds almost hopeful and surprisingly melodic. However, this is short lived as Slave Hands tear up the melody with more thick and suffocating sludge.
Trapped Inside And Left Outside kicks off with a sample about depression, talking about having no drive, poor judgement, bad relationships and money issues. It slowly fizzles out as this tense reverb builds up and drowns the sample out, it perfectly nails the morose atmosphere Slave Hands have been burying us in throughout the entire record. Album closer Forgotten Trail is a real highlight. It’s a thunderous and hypnotic track that crushes everything around it…including my ear drums.
No More Feelings is a uncompromising disease ridden sludge monster. I’ve always preferred my sludge to be raw, abrasive and harrowing like the 90s scene mentioned earlier in this review. Slave Hands have nailed this and No More Feelings is a great release from the group. So if you like your music to drag you down into the abyss with monstrous riffs, abrasive production and ogre like vocals then Slave Hands is for you. If you liked this one then check out Resent’s Crosshairs and any of the 90s band mentioned above, you will not be disappointed!
Scribed by: Matt Alexander