Dysgeusia #8: Swimming in a sea of sludge



The eighth edition of Dysgeusia finds Getintothis’ Mark Greenwood dealing with a variety of sludge-based material – some musical and some not.

My cat has a secret hiding hole underneath a cupboard in the kitchen. After investigating a household leak I was forced to investigate Beechnut’s preserve with the aid of a mop and a scraper.

What presided under there was an uncanny mix of dust, hair, secreted feline toys, loose tobacco and a strange, viscous brown substance that appeared to curdle and congeal the assembled stuff. Adding water to this mix suggested danger.

Gloveless, I’m attempting to merge the tropes of clotted dirt to a dark corner of the metal genre commonly known as Sludge. This especially heavy and dark musical form borrows its influence from diverse and obscure bands as random as Eyehategod, Witchfinder General, Pentagram, Napalm Death, Lynyrd Skynyrd and early ZZ Top.

Thematically, Sludge bands draw on a thick cigar blended with whisky, high quality marijuana, black sorcery and a heavy dose of pessimism crudely de-tuned to 21st century gloom.

Monolord are a typical and formidable example, blending frosty riffs with throbbing rhythms and a post-Osbourne nasal sneer that implores you to give up your soul to the devil. Some may say that I’m sliding off into doom/stoner metal rhetoric here, which is understandable, but it’s the dirty layers of bass and guitar that effect the swallowing of greasy gunk while drowning in a cesspit.


Perhaps Liverpool’s Iron Witch are a more fitting example. Their more aggressive tendencies reveal a fascination with drugs, guns and unprotected sex. You can smell the grease and ink emanating from these ferociously tattooed hooligans who conjure up a brutal blend of Scouse moonshine. If you fancy a swig, look out for their upcoming gig at Maguire’s Pizza Bar on 4 July with the equally salubrious Iced Out (who somehow managed a pass out from Durham Jail).


Further afield, Scandinavia provides an equally toxic gene pool appropriate for the de-cultivation of filthy riffs. The Hypnotic Voodoo Rhythms of Hashbreath provide a useful concoction of the black arts and extreme atrophic heaviness.


Veering across the murky Atlantic Ocean, North Carolina’s Etiolated offer no hope of sunlight, pinning helpless souls to concrete surfaces and letting them rot. Check out the Grey Limbs/Grey Skies tape if you don’t mind being pounded to oblivion with a sledgehammer.

You can’t really eradicate dark matter…you can only shift it about a bit. My mop has turned from white, to grey, to brown to black and is weeping in the corner desperate to be disposed of.

Belligerently, the sludge remains dispersed but mysteriously intact. My cat has abandoned his former hole, the bleached environment no longer providing a temporary asylum from the tempest of the ominous hoover.

He’s now taken to escaping up the chimney where darkness, black soot and grime provide shelter and comfort for his meditations. Appropriately, Sludge music provides an equally cosy sarcophagus for the listener to contemplate – this esoteric genre befits veterans of the unholy racket, offering a pertinent context for those who delight in an occasional snort of gunpowder, soil and bourbon.

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