Sludge metal is an extreme style of music that originated through combining elements of doom metal and hardcore punk.
Sludge metal is a subgenre of Metal that combines the slow, dirty, dark instrumentals and atmosphere of Doom Metal with the aggressive, harsh and abrasive screams and shouts credited to Hardcore Punk. A typical sludge song places heavy emphasis on guitar feedback, distorted but groovy riffs, and angry, pained vocals. It also isn’t uncommon for songs to engage in occasional quick bursts of speed and technicality attributed to more traditional forms of hardcore. Lyrical themes borrow both from the angry social and political commentary of punk and from the sad and melancholic themes of doom metal.
Many sludge bands compose slow-paced songs that contain brief hardcore passages.
I’ve been listening to Metal since the early 1980’s so believe me when I tell you, these are the TOP 10 All Time Best Albums:
- Cough: Sigillum Luciferi – Conceived in the fertile metal underground of Richmond, VA circa 2005, COUGH have sought to be the heaviest band ever since their inception. The band takes inspiration from the most savage aspects of extreme music, from crushing doom metal and grimy sludge to early black metal.
- Cough: Ritual Abuse –Between hospital visits and bouts of near-insanity, COUGH slowly labored forward with the writing of their follow-up full-length Ritual Abuse. The band had signed to Relapse Records and returned to Chicago, IL, enlisting Parker once again to record their sophomore album. That LP, their aptly-titled Relapse debut Ritual Abuse, delivered thoroughly massive, psychedelic doom via five epic tracks of impenetrable walls of sludge.
- Black Sabbath: Volume 4 – Reaching beyond their own musical roots by the time they recorded their fourth album in 1972, coming up with an amalgam of classic heavy riffing, a growing sense of melody and even some touches of progressive rock. Black Sabbath proved they were far from done with experimenting with difference methods of manipulating the art of music. Tony Iommi decided to down-tune his guitar even further from what he did for ‘Master of Reality’. The album endures as a classic today.
- Acid Bath: Paegan Terrorism Tactics –Their second and final album further establishes the band’s unique Southern punk/sludge/goth metal hybrid, only with warmer, fuller production and a more melodic songwriting approach than on their debut. The songs here are all over the map, but bound together in part by frontman Dax Riggs‘ powerful singing and dark lyrics. Easily one of the best Vocalists around.
- Graves at Sea: The Curse That Is – This album is heavy, very muddy, sharp, and vibrates the edge of your sanity. The vocals are very harsh, but they are the key to the mood that this album wants to deliver.
- 16: Drop Out – The beastly, throbbing riffs and tortured screams of 16’s now-legendary Drop Out album sent shockwaves through the international music scene upon its ’96 release. It’s obvious why over a decade later; the band made visceral anguish, angst, and disillusionment sound downright anthemic. 16 put an ugly, angry face on disenfranchised youth and Drop Out became a touchstone and soundtrack for the next generation of heavy rock trail blazers and trendsetters.
- Saint Vitus: Born Too Late – The godfathers of American Doom Metal. A statement weighing as heavy as this band sounds. Nonetheless this is simply the truth.
- Brainoil: Death of This Dry Season – This album picks up the furious hardcore sludge sound that Brain oil is well known for as though they’d never left. A little older and a little wiser, it’s a short, sharp shock of intense aural battery, conceivably like an amalgamation of other ugly sounding Bay Area stalwarts such as Abscess and Black Cobra, yet never sounding enough like anyone else to pinpoint a direct influence. Pure doom sludge hardcore punk freak music for fans of heavy ass down tuned thick riffs.
- Lord Mantis: Spawning the Nephilim – Utilizing his time in black metal outfit Nachtmystium to his advantage, guitarist/vocalist Andrew Markuszewski has learned to embrace torment, bleakness and fury, combining them with extraordinary results in latest bludgeoning outfit Lord Mantis. Doom-y and baneful, this album is a continual onslaught of scorching vocal shrieks blasting out over methodical yet odd metallic structures.
- Type O Negative: Dead Again – 10-song musical journey through the darkest depths of the human condition. Love, loss, insanity, morality, mayhem, your secret dreams and worst nightmares are all included in the Type O Negative formula, created by the self-taught professor of emotional chemistry, Peter Steele.
I know there are a ton more albums that could hit this list, but these are my favorites. If you could, what albums would you add to this list and why?
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