Sludge metal is a genre that is, to say the least, overplayed. It's a genre that many might justifiably argue has been played out even. When it comes down to it, people like Neurosis and Crowbar laid an insanely good foundation based on a few key rules. So in this incredibly dense scene, it's always strangely satisfying to find something that stands out and is interesting, especially with a new band. Even if the execution isn't where it needs to be, finding bands who make a special point of focusing on their songwriting and generating a sense of emotion that goes far beyond many of the genres normal tropes makes for a fascinating listen.
With a balls-out assault reminiscent of Ilsa but a sense of introspection that ties into bands like Cult Of Luna the latest from Tarasque, Innen Aussen is a masterfully executed and strangely satisfying release that will get you to dive in deep and remember why you might have grown to love this genre in the first place.
What gets me with Innen Aussen is the band's ability to fuse dark and light. This is a record that takes the listener on something of a journey, but not only that, it has a sort of guiding thread throughout that makes it cohesive and thrilling. The breadth of a song like 'Truemmerfeld' is stunning, it balances eerie and powerful melodies reminiscent of the best doom bands with a sonic assault that could almost be compared to a hardcore band. Toss in moments of stoner rock, a few powerful and fuzzy solos and you start to get a sense for a band that not only grooves but who can counterbalance this with stunning crescendos and dips into acoustic magic.
While they definitely shy away from the more rock and roll side of things, this album remains intellectually fascinating and features songs that move forward in a clear and interesting way. Now yes, the band doesn't always have the execution I'd like and certain ideas can stretch on for too long or feel a little too tropey, but the bones are there, and that's what matters.
While it can certainly feel like Tarasque is trying to bring in a few too many elements here, Innen Aussen remains a stimulating listen and one with a sense of maturity many of their peers lack. With a mere five tracks, they take you on a journey that many groups couldn't imagine embarking upon. Conceptually I really dig this band, and for a debut EP, this suggests a lot of promise.
Rather than relying on things like 'massive riffs bro' one gets the sense that Innen Aussen was almost composed like a piece of classical music with the focus laying on movements. It makes for a strange sonic journey and one that I wouldn't mind taking again. This is certainly a weird release and it's one that makes you ask a few questions about the genre. However, it gives Tarasque a lot of ground to work from and I think that will see them evolve into something greater.