My first review of 2021! I wanted to take it easy and do a quick one, so when I saw something in my inbox that was two tracks long and recommended for Mastodon die-hards like me, I thought it would be perfect to start with. That something was Sumeru‘s upcoming EP Blood Ordinance. So was it the perfect pick?
Well, yes and no. Yes, because these Australian sludge metallers have put together a very good EP. No, because there’s only so many ways you can write “this is really good” about two tracks – but I’ll be damned if I don’t try!
Blood Ordinance starts strong with the opening track “Cold Chamber”. It’s hard not to see that song title and be reminded of the band Coal Chamber, but it’s easy to forget that band exists when Sumeru is delivering a track this crushing. The song starts with the band blasting through at a double-time pace before settling into burly, head-noddy riffage. Crushing riffs and crushing vocals are this EP’s specialty, and the band lets you know that pretty quickly with this track. It’s hard to pick a single favorite riff on this track. The chorus is surprisingly catchy, given that the entire EP is done with harsh vocals. The song ends at a funeral doom pace, as if the band is slyly lighting their cigarettes while walking away from an explosion.
On “Foundry of Dread” the band dives right into a faster-paced groove. They maintain this tempo throughout most of the song, but add in this clever distortion of time towards the end of the song via drum fills. That, combined with dissonant reharmonizations and the eventual octave drop of the final riff makes for a spectacular finish. For my money, this is the stronger of the two tracks, but both are very solid. Every riff on this song exudes main character energy.
These two tracks work very well together, I just wish there was more*! Not only does the band flex their instrumental prowess on these tracks (especially true the drums), but they also show off new vocalist Jake Willoughby. He fits in seamlessly, adding another layer of brutality to the band’s hefty sound. A cursory comparison to the band’s previous work indicates that Sumeru is headed in a heavier direction, as the slider has gradually moved from stoner to sludge through the band’s career.
So there you have it, starting the reviewin’ year off with a bang! I would highly recommend this EP to kindred spirits of mine who wish to find more top-tier underground sludge bands like Hyborian and Witch Ripper. I would also highly recommend this EP to the absolute galaxy-brained individuals who dedicate their days to telling Mastodon they “started sucking after Leviathan” on all the band’s Facebook posts – happy trails!
Sumeru‘s new EP Blood Ordinance will be released on January 21st via Brilliant Emperor Records.
Best Tracks: there’s only two of them, so both
Weakest Tracks: n/a
FFO: Mastodon, High On Fire, Black Tusk