Review Summary: a diamond in the rough
When listening to a piece as heavy and discordant as SLOTHS’ Transit
, I wonder whether the grimy, coarse effects are a deliberate decision by the band or whether the fact that there wasn’t the equipment or money available to wipe the grease off was simply the harsh reality facing the DIY process. The sludgy, punk, metalcore sound (these are going to be the last genre tags used here, for good reason) exhibited by SLOTHS is made all the more affecting by the distinct lack of polish. Throughout, a likable sloppiness permeates Transit
. It makes the piece all the more gut-wrenching, but this binding factor is only the peak of the mountain. Beneath, there lies a focused, emotional powerhouse, the gravity of which came as a complete surprise. Transit
is a dizzying, oscillating EP that carves down terrain from pounding bass lines, to a hail of crashing chords, to cathartic crescendos, yet always remains grounded by its solid songwriting. The vocals with their indecipherability, exacerbated and sharp in their delivery, only heighten the discordance of the record-- what gives SLOTHS such a palpable potency. Because of the general focus and flow among bandmates, what would normally come across as a spastic clusterfuc
k, instead reveals itself to be incredibly immersive.
More impressive, even, is the layering. Buried under the unabashed Botch-esque fury is a post-rock sort of adeptness, instrumentals you’d expect to hear on an old, lush Mogwai record. A few listens through Transit
and it’s obvious that the main draw isn’t for picking out specific elements of “heavy-genre-here.” Rather, the appeal is the ferocity, the succinctness yet fulfilling feeling that the EP exudes, and that all the emotions exuded from post-rock, or punk, or whatever still come crackling in waves-- only without those nagging feelings when you say to yourself “Oh, this is just like ___ but without the __ and with the ___ !”
The visceral likes of Transit
is anything but contrived, again reinforcing the general feeling of dread that pervades the album, especially when tempos are slowed to a grinding, sludgy slow on “Postcards of Darby Crash.” In retrospect, it’s difficult to imagine that the tiny, DIY epic created by SLOTHS is so punk
out of necessity only. And while the fantastically-named SLOTHS may not have the same name-recognition as counterparts who have released equally-harsh and heavy albums like Ampere, Weekend Nachos, and Pulling Teeth, it’s hard not to listen to Transit
without feeling like it deserves a place among them-- based on merit alone.