This record gives me a pleasure most sludge doesn’t: the feeling of heavy metal. I like music with a strong back. A lot of music is heavy without being strong. The rhythm sections are weak, and the riffs don’t do much besides expressing down-tuning. I don’t need some Pro Tooled creation – that’s just compensation for weakness – but I like heavy music to have backbone, and I rarely get that from the beards-and-beer set.
But Hail!Hornet has backbone. Much of Disperse the Curse sounds like Obituary as a hardcore band, with Brian Johnson on vocals after losing what little tonality he had left. The drums have crisp heft, breaking into double bass that has oomph because it’s infrequent. Songs march with muscle, avoiding sludge’s usual fuzzy softness. My favorite is “Beast of Bourbon”, which has red-hot harmony leads and the charging feel of Blind-era COC.
Hail!Hornet is an all-star team of sludge. T-Roy Medlin fronts Sourvein (we interviewed him here), “Dixie” Dave Collins plays bass in Weedeater, Vince Burke plays guitar in Beaten Back to Pure, and Erik Larson drums for various bands, including Birds of Prey. But I prefer this side project. It’s a stronger beast. Too bad this record lacks printed lyrics, though the song titles say that the forecast is “miserable”. Thankfully, the music isn’t.— Cosmo Lee
Relapse is giving away two CD’s of this fine album. For a chance to win one, simply leave in the comments below your best story about being stung or bitten by an insect. The two most brutal stories will win. International entrants are welcome. Entries are due by midnight PST a week from today, Tuesday, August 16.