A sonic suffocation and intrusive adventure which smothers the senses whilst igniting the imagination, Hell/Noise/Church the new EP from Scottish metallers Sunsmasher, is one of those exhaustive violations you can only welcome hungrily. The three track release is not a comfortable listen but certainly a compelling ravaging to which addiction is an easy option. A merger of doom, crust, sludge, noise and plenty more, the Glasgow trio’s sound takes no prisoners and shows no mercy ensuring that their new EP is an inescapable predator, one fuelled by a thrillingly corruptive toxicity.
The Glasgow quartet was formed in 2010 with the intent to create ‘claustrophobic, intense, and violent music’ with essences bred in the member’s background in the Scottish grind, crust, and hardcore scenes. Debut release, the Mammothian/Loud/Cult demo a year later drew good attention and helped the band to a potent following which was accelerated as Sunsmasher exhausted stages alongside bands such as Conan, Dragged Into Sunlight, Monarch, and Wormrot. The last couple of years saw a few line-up changes in the band and a stronger crust and noise inspired sound emerging through their original doom seeded invention, the result as evidenced by Hell/Noise/Church, a not exactly unique but certainly a hellacious proposition individual to the band. Mastered by James Plotkin (Khanate/O.L.D.) and recorded with Kevin Hare (Black Sun), the new release easily pushes Sunsmasher into a greater spotlight, one deserving to reward as much as the band thrills.
Axe To Grind emerges from an increasingly intensifying and swirling sonic incitement, though the emergence is more a vicious launch at the ears with guitars and drums carving chunks from the senses and synapses whilst vocals squall with a razor sharp edge and malicious savagery. It is a brutal abrasion of hardcore and noise voracity which within seconds has ears ringing and emotions cowering. The band soon teaches though that they are unafraid to experiment and wrong foot as the track suddenly stops and drops into the thick embrace of an oppressive sludge prowl. Bass and drums find a restraint to their onslaught, though not their bestial intimidation, whilst the guitars merge a melodically hinting sonic tempting with a deeper guttural growl. It is a riveting enticement which consumes and invigorates simultaneously; a droning bait veining it all to captivate infectiously as a stalking low slung groove seduces. With vocal and atmospheric torments searing the air, the track is hypnotic slavery which grows stronger and more compelling over time.
The following Redeemer is just as rapacious but uses a ‘lighter’ sonic toxin to master senses and passions early on. There is a discordant lilt to the guitar call which immediately adds a tempting edge to the opening crawl whilst the lumbering rhythms and heavy throat of the bass provide a formidable canvas for the evolving stature and incitement to ravage. The best track of the three, the song worms its way into the psyche for a long term and intensely lingering chastisement.
Final song Perdition lets a great bass line draw in the imagination first, guitars soon joining it’s tempting with magnetic riffery. The initial premise of the song is almost gentle in comparison to that of the previous tracks, a caustic yet embracing abrading. It is not for long though as the weighty intensity of the track smothers all to enclose and consume the senses. Confirming the invention and exploratory heart of the band, the new thick doom clad swamp of sound is speared by a heavy swaggering groove right out of the Pantera songbook before merging all essences into a choking and enlivening strangling. As all the songs, it twists and turns with enterprise and malevolence, employing all the flavours announced at the start of the review into a mouthwatering and contagious destruction.
Obviously Sunsmasher and Hell/Noise/Church are not going to be for everyone but for noise corruption and feral sonic sculpting within a sludge/doom landscape it is hard to recommend much better.
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