Crank this to 9.5 of 11
| Editor's Pick
Sludge, Stoner rock, Doom
Sleep, High on Fire, Electric Wizard
This album is the complete package for sludge fans that want something a bit different. What Regress contains that many other sludge metal bands do not are two distinct features. The first being dynamic vocals that we can only describe as demonic and evil. They also throw in some pretty chilling harmonizing vocals. The second feature entails variation and depth. Signature sludge metal albums will lull you into a stooper often with their insanely long drudging riffs. Instead, Slabdragger delight with an album so rich in diversity and intricate detail that you will hear new and different riffs each time. Slabdragger impress from beginning to the very last note on Regress concocting a refreshing sound all their own.
The opening track "Bal El-Mandeb" sucks you in immediately with its tumultuous bass grinding blending into a series of different guitar melodies and blissful trances. It runs close to 10 minutes and exemplifies the precision and detail that the remainder of the album will exude. Sludge metal fans will be in awe as the track pleasantly surprises avoiding the all to common repetitive riff and drone. The second track "Erroneous Maximus" further intrigues with its brevity and intensity fueled by progressive metal overtones and tremendous grooves. Great touch with the chanting vocals. Our jaws remain open further through Regress as we hit track four, "Iron Vulture," an epic 9 minute doom euphoric trip leaving you light-headed. Just past the 4 minute mark we hit a whole new level of intensity that we thought could not be reached. The song is so finely crafted and quite the headphone experience with its multi-layered bass-work and fuzz filled feedback. This song will rival any sludge metal song you put it up against... shear brilliance. At the 5 minute mark they drop this filthy, sludge metal monster jam and you realize that you don't care about anything anymore, just Slabdragger.
Regress continues its eclectic ways leading us through different mazes and surprises. The closing tack, "Trichome Odyssey" is such a nice touch to round-out the album. The track features a soothing floating 8 minutes allowing the listener to debrief and cleanse after the first 7 song onslaught. "Trichome Odyssey" features a different vocal style and calming echo. A perfect way to end a very special work.
Apparently Slabdragger is still active, although we have yet to receive a follow-up to the 2011 full length, other than a split EP with Meadows in 2012. We hope this is not the last work we will hear from the UK sludge masters. Our editors are anxious for their sophomore album. Regress is a clear Editor's Pick for its ability to break the monotony of so many sludge metal albums out there. In addition, it scores bonus points for its brilliant and blatant name. If you want a terrific sludge metal headphone experience and album that will stay fresh in your rotation, this album is a must. - 5/16/2014
Standout Tracks: Iron Vulture, Erroneous Maximus