Review Summary: Bringin' da cr00sh.
For anyone who’s ever wondered what a bunch of really angry Melvins fans sound like, they needn’t look any further than the U.S. sludge scene in the ‘90s. Once the raw and aggressive hardcore sound found itself melding with the heaviness and slower tempos of post-Sabbath doom metal, it was only a matter of time before bands started taking it to new extremes. In 1999, after a couple demos, an EP, and quite a few splits, Noothgrush finally assembled their debut full-length, Erode the Person
, a landmark album for the genre. Taking Grief’s pioneering formula and dirtying up even a bit further, the Californian group managed to stamp out their own legacy, even if they went somewhat unnoticed compared to some of their contemporaries.
Slow, pounding riffs trudge forward, destroying everything in their path and make the listener want to do the same, as each note, dripping with pure hatred and malignant intent, seeps out of the speakers. Lurching bass notes and intently smashed drums accompany low, lumbering chords caked in just the right grimy tone. Contemptuous, visceral hardcore screams adorn the instrumentation fittingly, encompassing lyrical themes as spiteful and as hopeless as the music itself. The group’s down-tuned, condensed take on Pink Floyd’s “Sysyphus” and “Narrow Way” from Ummagumma
is pure psychedelic bliss. Their simplistic sludge recipe benefits greatly just from the excellent timing of each dynamic. When the vocals come in, where there are bends, where there’s feedback – all of these things contribute to how infectious every punishing moment is. Throughout the album, each riff, each groove is as wholly satisfying as the last.
Suffice it to say you won’t find a lot of finesse here. But that’s not really the point. Erode the Person
is forty minutes of punch-you-in-the-reproductive-organs sludge with no apologies offered. There are albums to put on when you want that warm and fuzzy, and then there’s those you throw on when you want to say, “Fu
ck the world,” and drive an armor-plated tank straight out of Road Warrior down the interstate, pancaking compact cars like insignificant road kill. This is the latter. And you have to hand it to them: Noothgrush seem to have a knack for making you feel just as pissed off as they are.
“Others may hate you.
But those who hate you don’t win…
…Unless you hate them.
And, then, you destroy yourself.”