Haggatha – V

Genre: Sludge | Label: Mass Deadening/Nerve Altar
Location: Vancouver, BC, Canada| Listen: Bandcamp

Vancouver’s Haggatha has finally unleashed their third album, “V,” after an excruciating wait from 2012’s “IV.” Those familiar with the band’s previous efforts can relate, as Haggatha’s brand of sludge paints a bleak soundscape dominated by slow, infectious. The band has rewarded our patience with “V,” as they offer six songs of crushing magnitude.

haggatha v front

Fans of classic sludge bands such as Eyehategod, Noothgrush, and especially Grief will find much to love about Haggatha. Unlike those bands, Haggatha never really kicks into tempos beyond a mid-pace, so there’s no punk parts that are typical of sludge. Instead, the band relies on hypnotic pacing that eventually break away like the death of the universe.

Perhaps the fact that this record barely approaches a mid tempo speed may be concerning to those who question how a sludge band could write anything memorable without the genre’s staple approach to dynamic songwriting. Fear not, as Haggatha are a band that give songs their own nuances to keep things interesting. The opening track, “Scrying,” uses dissonant notes and a 7/8 time signature in its middle section, for example.

Some later-era Grief influence is really clear on tracks like “Swallowing Bile” and “Animal Husbandry,” both of which feature some high fretboard work, adding melodies into the colossal riffs as they cascade into the songs endings. “Sherman” starts off with some of this as well before the song really gives away to a slow crawl, where as “Filled With Idiots” gets right into a full out guitar solo.

Two members of the band do vocals, which again will lead to comparisons with Grief, as one member does lower death metal vocals, and the other has a higher scream that one would expect to hear in a sludge band. They balance each other out well throughout the record. Particularly, they do some interesting layering at the end of “No Light No Life,” creating an almost ethereal feeling.


The band opted to record once again with Jesse Gander, who has had his hand in several Vancouver favourites such as AHNA, Massgrave, Chapel, and many more. His sound is very professional and manages to balance heaviness with clarity. For those that have seen Haggatha live, part of their appeal is the the physical loudness, which translates well here thanks to the recording.

Haggatha continues to be one of the leaders of doom/sludge in Canada, and this record solidifies their position. This isn’t music that’s made for putting on for your friends – this is music for getting lost in.


Noothgrush – Entropy

Genre: Sludge | Label: Fuck Yoga Records
Location: Oakland, CA, USA| Listen: Bandcamp

In regards to sludge, there are three bands I consider to be essential to the genre: Eyehategod, Grief, and Noothgrush. Noothgrush never released as much material as the other two bands, but they’ve certainly left their mark on the genre. While Eyehategod incorporates more punkier grooves in their music, and Grief is usually set on slow crawls, Noothgrush straddles that middle line between the two approaches.

noothgrush entropy front

Having reformed in 2011 after a ten year hiatus, Noothgrush haven’t wasted any time putting out new releases. There’s been a few releases of old material, and there’s been some new material: the split 12″ with Coffins, and this 7″. The band looks a little different now, with Dino Sommese (former Dystopia drummer) taking over the vocal department. That being said, Noothgrush sound like they haven’t missed a beat, and “Entropy” certainly doesn’t sound like the band was broken up for ten years.

“Entropy” consists of two tracks – the A-side title-track, and an old song re-recorded for the B-side. Both are solid slabs of sludge. The A-side embodies the main qualities that made Noothgrush so amazing in their initial existence: big riffs that groove along to pounding drums, with savagely screamed vocals that can tear through flesh. As the song grooves along, it breaks down into an even slower part, increasing the magnitude of heaviness put forth. The outro of this track is cool too, it has a nice melody that leaves a feeling of desolation.

The B-side, as I mentioned, is an old song that was re-recorded for this 7″. “Life Shatters into Pieces of Anguish” was originally on the band’s 1994 demo, and appears here with a twist: Dino sings on this song. His singing voice sounds kind of like Ozzy but less nasally, which is fitting for a sludge/doom metal band. The feeling of agony is really displayed well thanks to the vocal performance. Again, this song has a fantastic break about 3/4 of the way through, entering devastating realms of slow riffage.

noothgrush entropy back

This is a really solid 7″, and both songs benefit from thick guitar/bass tones and a pounding drum sound. I’m glad Noothgrush decided to record some new material, even if it’s only been a handful of songs. Based on that, I’m sure a full length would be welcomed, but if they choose just to release smaller releases, I won’t complain. Thankfully, the price of this EP is very affordable, and anyone who digs Noothgrush should get their hands on it.