Hailing from Toronto, Sludgehammer, has unleashed their vicious thrash and groove metal infused style unto the world with the release of their 1st album, The Fallen Sun. From the get go, these guys demonstrate a take no prisoners style and immediately release a bolt of powerful speed metal antics onto the listener. The albums’ introductory track, ‘Demons from the Wood Work’ illustrates already the band’s admirable musicianship with everything from the tight song structure to the mesmerising guitar work on offer here. Yet while they maintain that edge and grittiness that thrash metal provides, there’s still a good amount of groove and melodies to balance things out.
Throughout the album, you can tell that the guys have really thought about song structure and done their best to include a vast array of different patterns and arrangements that are important because after listening to the full album, it seems as though the guitar is the main force behind their music. Songs like ‘The Black Abyss’ and ‘Ectogenises,’ as a result, are in your face and really pack a punch with the tight nip riffs. The vocals seem to borrow a lot from the traditional death metal style which adds another layer of hardness to the already heavy music. ‘Carrion Eater,’ which was also made into a music video, offers a slightly different style and features more clean cut traditional heavy metal elements. While the track is still full of that angsty thrash edge, there’s a lot more melody brought into the mix, particularly at the opening, whose riff sounds as though it should belong on a 1980’s, Iron Maiden record.
Sludgehammer’s debut record is a throwback of sorts. Not only do they bring back that classic thrash sound that derived from the 80s but the raw production really helps to give their music an old school feel to it. While many bands today strive to aim for the cleanest, swankiest production possible, Sludgehammer’s is a little rough around the edges but that makes the sound more raw and brutal. This is especially evident in tracks such as ‘Carnivorous Forest’ because when the guitar goes into full force, it doesn’t sound crisp but a more grizzly texture and everything sounds distorted as a result, similar to the typical doom metal guitar style.
Besides the impressive onslaught of dual guitar and song structures throughout, however, Sludgehammer give nothing new here at all and because of that, the album is pretty average. You’ll really enjoy it if you love thrash, particularly bands like Destruction, Kreator and Exodus, but I don’t think that this will impress the masses. Towards the end of the record, Sludgehammer had worn out their welcome as things began to get rather repetative It didn’t appear to me really until the final track, ‘Revolting,’ how uninspiring their sound really was, they definitely really too much on clichés. And the two bonus tracks, ‘Organ Harvester’ and ‘Casualties’ are just as forgettable. This isn’t me saying that this is a bad album, it’s just me saying that The Fallen Sun is just an average attempt. However, I can see that the band do have a great amount of potential and if they spend more time working on their individual sound rather than spending it writing mediocre guitar solos, they could really have something special here.
- Demons from the woodwork
- Intestines Entwined
- The Black Abyss
- Carrion Eater
- Consuming Afterbirth
- Carnivorous Forest
- Organ Harvester (bonus track)
- Casualties (bonus track
Release date: 14th June 2016