Upon seeing blackened doom metal as the descriptor for Jagged Mouth and their full length debut Louring, flags went up immediately. Probably unfair but we’ve heard that song and dance before and more often than not the outcome doesn’t match the hype. But when one hour spiraled into five and several spins turned into an obsession, that descriptor is an honest one even if it only scratches the surface. Louring is anchored in slow and methodical doom metal to be sure but vile sludge and a hateful attitude is what sets this album apart and it does all this in the first couple of minutes.
When thinking of bands just getting their feet wet, expectations are wildly inaccurate. Particularly when a debut comes roughly a year after a band forms. Such is the case for Albuquerque’s Jagged Mouth. Definitely not first timers as the two founding members of this three piece have been in bands of their own so at least they have experience on their side. The songwriting is well thought out and offers enough variance to keep even the most hardened of doom fans entertained. Take “Lingers the Taolith” for example. Spending most of its eight plus minutes wallowing in repetitive murky doom it excels because of the vicious vocal approach from Alex Cantwell. But that’s not all, the track also revels in melodicism and colorful, bluesy guitar work. To put it plain, this band has taken an otherwise monotonous track and made it not only exciting but inconceivably nasty at the same time.
Vile and wretched is what made the initial impressions of Louring stand out. There’s a hint of Thou in the gutter sludge and vocals but the foundation of doom metal stays true throughout. Devastating and even beautiful at times and providing that slow, bludgeoning doom is you thing, there’s moments of pure aural bliss. And “If Hope Conspires Against Us” is exactly that. At over 15 minutes long it could easily be mistaken for a doom-drone marathon but, again, the writing takes front and center. Starting out gentle this track sways the listener into a sense of ease but it doesn’t take long to get back to the utterly foul and blackened doom this band does so well.
Enough cannot be said about Jagged Mouth’s debut Louring. It’s a rousing success of epic proportions and one that will dethrone some of the most revered acts that feel they have this market cornered. Louring is that anomaly of an album that starts and stays strong but the same can be said for this band being able to keep attention spans at an all time high for nearly an hour. Amongst the highly regarded — and rightfully so — contemporary doom artists of late, Jagged Mouth bring back that looming sense of danger and violence that without the kind of balance this sickeningly sweet debut offers, this genre would wither and die.