No one can say the title of Sloth.‘s full length debut, Slow As Shit, didn’t at least spark some interest. It did for me, mainly because I’m drawn to slow and heavy music. But might that title be a bit too obvious? While the album gives us no surprises in delivery — after all, it is doom with traces of sludge and stoner metal — there are plenty in its use of atmosphere. It gives the album an expansive feel and an overall sound larger than the title would otherwise suggest.
At its heaviest, the album recalls bands like Bongripper and Boris, but the most apparent influence is Pallbearer. At times, the songs borrow quite a bit from the post rock arena. “Waking Up” plays out as the title suggests, with a quiet lead in then a gradual crescendo that feels much like drawing the covers back on a new day. Light and spacious guitar tones lend to a feeling of hope while the drums plod away like echoes in the background.
For the most part, the album is void of vocals, with Sloth. mastermind Blake Caverly choosing instead to let the music do the talking. With this kind of approach, there’s generally no room for error, and “Call of the Sloth” rises to the challenge. The band uses the track’s longer runtime to incorporate several stylistic shifts. We begin with dreamy high notes that slowly transition into sludgy doom. Then, the song leans heavily on quiet atmosphere through its middle section, before closing with a high flying sound and the faster speed of traditional metal.
“Awaken That Which Lies Amongst the Trees” is an entirely heavier track than the rest. Crunchy riffs and battle-ready percussion cast out any doubts as to whether this album had teeth buried somewhere. Further into the track, a tremolo-picked section shows some strong black metal roots. It is here that vocals appear, and Caverly uses them to accentuate these black metal stylings, rather than lead them. Jarring and gruff screams take the listener by surprise and add a nice touch to what ends up being one of the album’s biggest highlights. Sure the song would have been just as good without the vocals but they are well done and don’t hang around long.
Overall, Slow as Shit is a decent debut from this one-man project. The sleepy stoner aspect tends to get tiresome through the first half but the album is somewhat redeemed in the heavier last half. It won’t be what I pick for a caustic doom fix, but on a rainy day it will fit the bill nicely.