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Demonic Death Judge: Skygods

I envy young listeners who are learning to enjoy sludge for the first time--there's just something magical about discovering the power of the riff, the grooves, and the basic chord changes. I've listened to sludge for a long time, arguably since I discovered Black Sabbath and the indisputable riff-master Tony Iommi. Though I never get tired of sludge, I worry about comparing new music to the past so much that I forget to comment on what makes current sludge so much fun. It isn't enough to say that these bands are merely writing the kind of music Black Sabbath should have written had they explored different paths. Much better, in my view, to argue that sludge serves as a response, perhaps even an adaptation, of that sound. In other words, sludge should be understood as an expansion of that sound, a means of understanding its power and its promise. It would be unfair to Skygods simply to compare it to Black Sabbath. Instead, I want to discuss this album in light of the sheer pleasure that comes from listening to a band that is actually good at exploring the sound that sludge celebrates. Demonic Death Judge does everything right, but they also leave us wanting more. I offer, as an example, the closing song "Pilgrimage," a ten minute journey toward an unknown shrine. Listeners will appreciate the variety of sounds in this song from the brief flirtation with a wah-like sound from the bass in the opening moments to the strumming guitar chords at the end.

I recommend that fans listen to this album with special attention to the bass lines and the way they interact with the guitar parts. Unlike most albums, the bass doesn't always stick to the root of the dominant chords. Instead, the bass lines sometimes break free and roam around the fretboard in an effort to bring about a greater sense of groove. Check out some of the early tracks on this album for the best examples of what I'm talking about. As for the vocals, I was pleasantly surprised with how well the growling, guttural, sound worked here, especially on the last two tracks "Nemesis" and "Pilgrimage." The other tracks are solid even if they don't quite reach the quality of these last two. This album is definitely worth a listen.

Track Listing:
1. Skygods
2. Salomontaari
3. Latitude
4. Knee High
5. Aqua Hiatus
6. Cyberprick
7. Nemesis
8. Pilgrimage

Added: November 1st 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2246
Language: english

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