As I learned about the basic metal genres some twenty years ago and got to doom metal, I first came across the extreme, ultra-slow style with growling vocals (think Esoteric), then the slow-ish hardrock of Candlemass. Obviously the chronology of these styles’ appearance was actually the reverse, but I never really cared. Later, I was introduced to the notion that stoner rock with some, rather ill-defined, characteristics could also be labeled “doom”, and as many of you may know the last few years have seen many different forms of the genre appear. I’ve been as flabbergasted as the next guy. Well, with this re-issue of Noothgrush’s 1997 split with Corrupted, I may just have found the missing link between the metal doom and the fuzzy, borderline progressive stuff that sometimes bears the label just to confuse me.
Now, to imply that this release contains “stoner rock” would be to misrepresent it gravely. Perhaps “krokodil user rock” would be more apt. Quite aside from the metal tendencies evident throughout, the sludgy misery lacks any sense of groovy fun and laid back chillaxation. Noothgrush sound something like Brainbombs playing slow paced black metal – at least that may be a good starting point for understanding what’s going on here. It’s slow but violent, and the screaming vocals add yet another level of aggression and/or desperation. Corrupted are even filthier, as the band moniker may suggest. Once again there is a slight underground black metal vibe, at least so far as the sound is concerned. Black Funeral’s Journeys Into Horizons Lost demo has a similar vibe. The vocals are furthermore guttural beyond belief. Both bands have that quality of building bridges between doom metal “proper” and sludge/stoner doom. The style is not quite funeral doom, certainly not the “heavy metal” doom of the Candlemass or Black Sabbath variety, but rather a fuzzy, druggy messiness.
It is difficult to pick a favorite here – Noothgrush is clearly the more accessible act, with Corrupted’s drums actually causing other instruments to cut out somewhat at times – but Corrupted have an invincible charm that makes their one, immense track feel more like it’s from a reissue of a 1997 demo than of a LP. That being said, the actual mastering (redone for this reissue by Brad Boatright) is rather crisp and clear. It’s like listening to your favorite tape on a really good sound system, if that makes any sense. Noothgrush do have the spicier band name though, and truth be told they sound at least as great from an objective standpoint.
Noothgrush and Corrupted deserve each other, and any one interested in the perverse possibilities of the fluent doom genre would really be an ass to miss this one. The LP will be available in two versions – silver in clear with black smoke and just plain old black. It will be released on August the 25th, and is of course available for pre-order from 20 Buck Spin.