Almost every week, Nic Huber dissects the heavy riffs of bands — new and old — in The Wednesday Sludge. This week's column spotlights a newcomer to the Arkansas sludge scene.
There isn't too many reasons to have Southern pride anymore, but one thing I obviously love is southern metal. It's all sonic perfection — just in the sense that we typically play more by feel. Southern metal is not pretty. Dimebag Darrell once said it best, "What may sound like a squeaky out of tune fucking irritating violin to someone sounds like the most serene beautiful tone of a fucking saxophone beautifully in tune to the moonlight."
One of the most underrated scenes in North America is what is coming out of the mountains and forests of Arkansas. Pallbearer is probably the first band that comes to a lot of people's minds, but I personally instantly think of Rwake and vocalist Chris "CT" Terry's other band, Iron Tongue.
Of course, there are a ton of other great bands from a multitude of genres to hail from Arkansas (Evanescence, anyone?) A few weeks back, I was digging around on Bandcamp to find new music when I discovered Sleuthfoot.
The band's self-titled debut album was released independently on July 10, so things are still relatively new for the sludge metallers. Producing heavy blues-driven grooves, Sleuthfoot pulls from their broad musical influences (Melvins, Primus, Weedeater, Acid Bath, et al.) together in a solid cohesion that can only be found in southern metal.
When I approached the band on Facebook, the guys quickly put together a one-sheet like we were still in the '80s. It was an approach I have personally never encountered, so, naturally, I dig that these dudes are old school — or maybe just old. Either way, the band's debut shows great promise.
Following a drug-induced sample which lets the listener know real quick what kind of experience they are about to delve into, the album's opener, "The Filth & The Rotten," begins like a swift punch in the throat. "American Dreamzzz" sinks the quartet into a fat groove, à la Church of Misery, and proves just how serious this band takes whiskey, weed and heavy riffs. "Strange Ones" sends Sleuthfoot on a genre-bending trip which hearkens back to the glory days of Acid Bath with vocalist Joe Gillis half-rapping, half-screaming, the lyrics on top of a melodic, yet doomy, rock riff.
My favorite track at the moment is "The Mountain," which, musically, reminds me of Stoned Jesus and a play on Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water" lick. I feel like these guys are also into a lot of proto metal, but I could be wrong. The album's closer, "The Escapist," begins with a creepy sample from Happiness, a 1998 dramedy starring Jon Lovitz and Philip Seymour Hoffman. The song is by far the slowest and heaviest on the self-titled, with Gillis' emotional lyrics providing catharsis to those who've seen some shit and lived through it.
According to the band's one-sheet, Sleuthfoot is currently seeking out gigs around the Memphis, Little Rock and surrounding areas. "Hopefully we will pick up momentum to do at least a mini tour soon. We would really like to break into the Little Rock scene."
Pallbearer, let these cats open for you!