Monday, October 21, 2013

... CLAGG "Gather your Beasts" (Album Review)

After a long wait of 4 years since the release of "Lord of Sleep", Australia's best Stoner/Sludge band CLAGG are back with a meaty 4th album entitled "Gather your Beasts" and - clearly, that's one of the best news of this fall !!!  
In this overcrowded worldwide scene, there's a real risk for an underground band to get on hiatus or even disappear in the asshole of oblivion in people's mind when such a long delay happen - between two releases, and I presume that if you're coming from the other side of the planet, meaning you're also missing regular or even sporadical Live opportunities like Tours or Festivals here and there, this doesn't help any way either... As true as it can be to its predecessor, do the guys succeed in making this "Gather your Beasts" a winner all the fucking way?!!!

Naturally, in the first listenings, this long wait and the way the band  grabs your balls - both seriously enhance the extreme delightment to listen this monster of oppressive and groove-laden heaviness that is relying on a pretty original blend of  filthy and fuzzy sludge with groovy stoner' n' roll... but in fact the soufflé never goes flat, thanx to heady riffage, versatility and addictive weedy atmopsheres which make it like there had been no rupture in time, because, believe me, the guys have puted so much in here !!!
I don't know the exact reasons of this absence of 4 years and who gives a fuck after all now that they're back with force and masterful arguments ? one thing is sure, this album has not been composed in a few weeks !  What quickly becomes evident to your ears is that the production is much more consistant and well-balanced than before and the methodology behind their craft much heavier and densely infectious too.

The album starts with a couple of pure sludgey songs "Five Curses" and "Gather your Beasts", those are pretty long pieces (even if we never reach 15 minutes long songs, like at several times on the 2nd sprawling album) - soaked in slow moving heaviness with thick and chunky riffs, throaty malignant vocals and fuzzily distorted bass. Ominous and uncompromised, the tone is also slightly bluesy and southern fried which (like in Weedeater) gives a more accessible balance with the crudeness and overall brutal aggression... Clagg is terribly addictive good shit !  

"The Great Mortality" proves to be maybe the most representative of what CLAGG can achieve here, with a scene of expression that deeply remains swampy and crushing; the tempo is upbeated in its first part with a massive metallic riff, bursting drums and a great dose of groove, leading to a slow crushing 2nd part full of unhealthy misery... this is maybe not as Doom as the song "Lord of the Deep" was, but it is utterly haunting ! 

"The dream is Dead" is another highlight with its Cisnerosian hypnotizing bass lines into a groovy cocktail of riffs and nasty vocals, this song and the closer "Pathways to Oblivion" expand the variety in the songwriting with a brighter tone infused in a catchy psyched-out fuzz of the highest order that Goatsnake would not disown in the hazy soloing especially!!! 

It may sound cliché or easy to say, but the cover of the album sets a perfect representation of its content, with obscure and ugly caracters from a sort of subterranean imagery, malicious and edgy to tear apart, resolved to accomplish their devilries with graceful brutality and an aesthetic perversion. I dig this artwork and more than once you'll feel the presence of those scary creatures surrounding you ... "Gather the Beasts" may not shine as the most original album of the year but as a refined behemoth it's definitely a very solid album which will easily appeal to fans of Weedeater, Sleep and Church of Misery ... Don't fucking miss it !

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