Inspiration to write about an old album I have only just been tipped off to is a bit like the stars aligning. Everything needs to be right: Curiosity, motivation, alcohol, time. It all needs to line up. Fortunately, after a couple grueling days of sobering up from this past weekend in Baltimore, I finally had my shit organized again. Just in time for the weekend, I was introduced to the lesser-known project called Slitherum and their recently released debut album titled Godbox Suicide. Pale and brooding, yet simultaneously aggressive and catchy, this is an interesting album and one certainly worth getting absorbed in.
Background information on Slitherum is sparse. The trio out of Greece fuses a wide range of influences into their sound, making it a bit difficult to categorize them. I’d have to say it’s a form of industrial gotchic metalcore. On this particular release we get some metalcore breakdowns and chugging on “Feet”, and bit of a more thrashy (yet curiously doomy) sense of riffage on the subsequent title-track. Furthering this semblance of experimentation is a range of vocals that go from gritty barks to echoing chant-like singing that at times would even make the likes of Peter Steele proud. All these influences, instrumentally and vocally, are layered over each other, creating a captivating dynamic to this sound.
But what I appreciate most about this album is the unrelenting dreariness that makes up the crux of the album, despite the industrial features. Yes, it is insanely catchy and melodic at times, but it all keeps reverting back to a similar personality of darkness and depression. From the droning introductory track in “Lechona” to a similar environment created in the opening passages of “Vulnus”, Slitherum takes some definite gotchic influences and applies them to their sound brilliantly. And then you step back and look at the album artwork and totally get lost in the dark shadows of Godbox‘s personality. It is absolutely mesmerizing. Even in the far more industrial moments of “Mother” (yes, there is some of that, too), things seem cohesive enough because of this underlying theme.
With seven tracks not even covering half an hour, this thing certainly doesn’t over stay its welcome. In fact, it leaves us asking for just a little bit more, especially given how much things slow down on the closing tracks in “Child” and “Cure”. The production is beautiful for the sound Slitherum is after. There is just the right amount of density to the varied layers of sounds, allowing the impressive vocals of Nick Marinos to truly elevate the sound. The guitars and bass are carried in a similar fashion (see: the ambiance of “Child”), as their complexities and constant deviation is clear and definitive. Perhaps the percussion could use a bit more bite to help the grandiosity of the sound a little further along, but only a bit. If that, even.
Through seven modestly-timed tracks, Slitherum covers a ton of ground in quick succession. Times of aggression and anger are coupled with those of ambiance and peace. The instrumentals and vocals are as diverse, and it all comes together nicely while the underlying darkness drives their point home. It’s a short listen that you find yourself wanting to repeat a few times over because of how catchy it is, but also to make sure you did in fact catch everything. It’s just the right amount of catchy and complex. Perhaps it is a sound that lacks a true direction, a bit bipolar even. But in terms of displaying Slitherum’s song-writing ability and creativity, Godbox Suicide nails it. We’ve seen what Slitherum is capable of with their debut, and it is certainly worth committing to.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”
Godbox Suicide is available now. For more information on Slitherum, visit the band’s official Facebook page.