The godfathers of sludge rock are back – well, they are kind of back, because this is is the 2011 reissue of their classic 2000 EP Sovereign. The reissue is scheduled for release on September 20th, and fans will be thrilled to know that, id addition to the four tracks of the original release, it contains a previously unreleased track called 'Misgiven'.
It is no coincidence that Neurosis are often considered the kings of sludge rock, and this release is certainly is a component of the sludge throne from which Neurosis rule the dark empire of sludge. The music is heavy and slow, and expresses a dark emotional landscape of desperation, bleakness, and suppressed anger.
The first track 'Prayer' has a tribal feel to it due to the heavy percussive drumbeats, while the guitar sound evokes images of the oppressive atmosphere of some of the old spaghetti westerns, but with a dose of apocalyptic darkness added. The second track 'An Offering' is equally dark and heavy but much more varied, starting with a tribal-ish intro, but morphs into a quite heavy doomy verse section played first with clean guitars and then with distorted guitars, followed by a more traditional doom metal guitar harmony section. After a repetition of these two parts, the song breaks completely down into one droning note, which increases in intensity before the song explodes into an oddly groovy heavy section, which serves as the last verse of this tune. 'Flood' is more of a post-rock soundscape piece in which the band experiments with dark atmospheres and heavy percussive rhythms. The last track on the original 2000 EP 'Sovereign' picks up on the soundscapy approach, but also contains some heavy and groovy and doomy sections.
Then there is the previously unreleased track 'Misgiven' – I don't want to give to much away here, because I do not want to spoil things, but I can say this much – it is not a pleasant tune to listen to, especially not if you suffer from odontophobia. This should be enough to whet your appetite.
Listening to Sovereign certainly is not an uplifting or pleasant experience, but that is not what you are looking for anyway when listening to dark sludge acts like Neurosis. No, this is dark, heavy and oppressive and droning experimental sludge rock/metal. If that is the kind of thing you like, do not hesitate to check out the reissue of the Sovereign EP.
2. An Offering