Sludgy death metal can be quite addictive. A combination of heavy, groovy riffs and death metal growls, occasional shredding and furious downpicking, sludgy death metal was borne out of the attempt to merge the best of both worlds – sludge and death metal.
From South Wales in the UK, comes death, sludge trio Tides of Sulfur and their debut full-length release from Black Bow Records entitled Extinction Curse. With rocking, sludgy riffs mixing with echoing vocal roars and occasional dark ambient sections, the band’s debut full-length release will entice lovers of thick gooey guitar riffs and slow to mid-tempo groove. This is another winning slab of genre-bending metal. There’s even occasional blasting and shredding to add nuance to the songwriting.
The occasional staccato string plucking adds a dose of atmosphere and melancholia to the dirgy rhythms. The band must hail from a swampland in South Wales by my estimate, as the overall approach to production and guitar effects hint at a clear love for sludgy doom and hard rock the likes of which might be similar to early Corrosion of Conformity. Tides of Sulfur mixes the tempos nicely. The vocals are behind in the mix, and are sent echoing as if from a mineshaft tunneling deep into the black earth.
Some nice songwriting chops show very clearly on Extinction Curse, with the production values on the drums lending an organic feel. The bass is heavy and the lurching basslines add meatiness to the rhythm section. Occasionally the band play doom as the staccato string plucking paces the suffocating atmosphere and burgeoning weight of the guitars and bass. Heavy splicing downpicks send the walls collapsing in minutes and the faster segments and slow transitions all wind in and around each other like copulating serpents. The song structure might be more obvious on some tracks, but those like track five, which is epic in runtime, lends an uncanny evolution of songwriting dynamics, pacing tempos to control the listener’s mood, assuring that the album will never slog too long or blast end-to-end.
Catchy as hell, as fun as a b*ttf*ck, Tides of Sulfur’s Extinction Curse is stoner rock amped up, death doom done sludgy, and metal done right. Good music for a soundtrack to a natural disaster, Extinction Curse should draw raves from metal fans the world over. Sadly though, mainstream metal fans will avoid underground music like this because their ears are addicted to plague metal of the worst kind.
Tides of Sulfur is an appropriate name for the band, as the music on Extinction Curse sounds every bit like a descent into a lake of fire and brimstone. Suffocating atmosphere, heavy as fuck rhythms and rocking riffs make this album a must-have for lovers of sludge, doom and death. When the walls cave in and ash fills the sky, suffocating mankind and drawing forth the end upon us all, it’s not likely a volcanic eruption occurring – it’s Tides of sulfur playing at a venue near you.
Stream this at your own peril!
– Al Necro