The Abominable Iron Sloth
The Abominable Iron Sloth
1/3/2007 - Review by: Etiam
The Abominable Iron Sloth - S/T - 2006 - Goodfellow Records
An Ice Age megatherium covered in steel would seem impossible to miss or mistake for anything else, but this Abominable Iron Sloth was still a puzzle at first. Goodfellow Records is a fairly new label with acts ranging from crust to punk to experimental, so is on its own not a strong indicator of this band’s style. The white cover and artsy press photos do not look particularly skull crushing, either.
Yet, upon opening the booklet we are regaled with a fully illustrated back-story explaining how The Abominable Iron Sloth came to be, and it is a grisly tale indeed, tipping the scales of prediction back towards darker realms. Yet even so, doom bands do not often resort to comics to get their point across, nor are their song titles anything like, ‘Hats Made of Veal and That New Car Scent’...
Perhaps this noncommittal image is precisely the goal of The Sloth—it is said to be a crafty beast, after all—best to sneak up on its victims disguised by misperception. Ergo, turn loose The Abominable Iron Sloth, and let its character speak for itself.
Opener ‘Hats Made of Veal and That New Car Scent’ turns out to be a righteous bludgeoning, immediately displaying an affinity for subtly step-wise shifting riffs that compliment the sludge metal style so well and a bass-heavy tuning to match. This is a theme sustained throughout and is one of ‘TAIS’s two most defining qualities. Nearly every track on this eponymous debut plays out like perpetual breakdown. Although the tempos range only from slow to barely medium throughout, and double bass, solos, and speeding riffs are nowhere to be found, ‘TAIS’ always feels like it’s ripe to explode into the bloodthirsty monster we read about in the album booklet.
The second most notable feature of The Abominable Iron Sloth’s style is the tremendous, caterwauling vocal performance. They seem almost too aggressive for the music at times, yet nevertheless define the style of ‘TAIS’ as much as, if not more, than the music itself. And truly, few if any vocal styles would so convincingly and confidently perform such lines as, “When you’re spoon-fed bullshit from day one, you ain’t gonna know sugar when it finally comes”, nearly acappella, or the entirety of the song ‘Parasite Hilton And Other Flaws Inherent To Wealth ‘, the deliciously terse, “Run, slut, run.”
‘TAIS’ unfortunately does not always live up to its unique and fearsome namesake; the majority of these tracks are pleasurable enough but are really not fit for dismembering the innocent and feasting upon their blood. Some tracks, such as the aforementioned ‘Parasite…’ and released single, ‘I Am the Carcass’ are especially memorable, but others cut between heaviness and predictability too closely.
One could say, though, that ‘TAIS’ serves as the beast’s ruminations as it prepares for war, flexing its muscles, and that these more reserved tracks are but a precursor for what is to come. If this is so, the next release will then hopefully chronicle the impending onslaught and break free from its current chains. Acclaimed success in the sludge/doom field is awfully hard to come by, but The Abominable Iron Sloth has the means to do so, and this debut is a powerful start. May the beast roam free.
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