Lord of the Deep
posted on 4/2011 By:
Clagg’s Lord of the Deep, their third excursion in sludgy doom, is one hell of a listenable record. Of course, one has to be ready to endure songs whose lengths range from 7-plus-change to 16 minutes, based around downtuned riffing, gargly howls as vocals and minimal to non-existent groove. If one’s into the style, though, one might easily appreciate what these Australians have in store.
Clagg’s modus operandi is not much different from that of any other band doing sludge-doom: the songs are long and mainly slow, there’s not much variation in the riff department and everything is based on and around the oppressive ambiance the music itself creates and its trance-inducing repetitiveness. But these Aussies have a tendency of carefully adding little dashes of “colour” onto their otherwise undifferentiated slab of heaviness: be it the quasi-Isis intro of “Carrion”, some melodic breathers stuck strategically between two supa-heavy parts, or some flanged, psychedelic-tinged leads, there’s always a little thing that prevents the music from sinking into redundancy.
Also, the band doesn’t seem to be afraid of trying some slow-swinging groove here and there, or some warm, fuzzy stoner guitar licks that make the barren territory of Clagg’s musical vision seem an itsy-bitsy less unfriendly. Of course, this being a sludge-doom record, the riffing is as monolithic as it gets and not a ray of light penetrates the darkness the music creates, along with the tortured (and some times double-tracked) screamed vocals. While we're on the vocal department, the only curveball the record holds is “The Harvest”, where Scotty uses some clean – but totally bereft of colour – singing before launching into some deep growls and some piercing screeches.
The bottom line is that Clagg has mastered the heavosity that’s part-and-parcel with their chosen style, and now they're trying a few things out to see if they work, which actually happens. For all its heaviness and monolithic nature, Lord Of The Deep avoids the pitfall of making the listener feel overwhelmed by those two characteristics. If one likes his metal slow and low, one would do well to check out Clagg, as the rewards they offer are as huge as the kraken on the cover.
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