For all the stunning, inventive metal currently out in the world, whether it’s plastered across the home pages of every blog or hiding deep in the corners of Bandcamp, it never gets tiring to see a band pushing the genre forward. Boston, MA’s Lesser Glow have been doing exciting things with sludge since their debut album Ruined in 2018, but the follow-up takes the genre to new realms entirely.
Sludge has long held an ability to offer catharsis – the all-consuming atmospheres, interspersed by gargantuan riffs and tortured cries, offer a uniquely effective form of release. Here, however, Lesser Glow explore vulnerability in a way that differs from the genre’s muscular, feedback-reliant norm, with a style that’s at once destructive and serene. Most impressive is how the band has made these two juxtaposing styles work in tandem as well as on their own. Nullity sounds more expansive than its predecessor by virtue of being bolder both in attack and retreat, with booming percussion giving the record more grit in the heavier passages, whilst the band’s melodic sensibilities have also never been more prominent.
Intricacies sit atop even the most direct riffs, with the brooding croons and spacious atmospheres combining to remind of the oddly alluring power of early Alice In Chains. At their most proggy and ambient, there’s even cause to liken Lesser Glow to modern-day Opeth (see the latter half of ‘Fostering This Nullity’ for the most prominent evidence of this). Truthfully, though, whilst comparisons to the likes of Vile Creature could be made, the band sound like no one but themselves, with otherworldly hymnal passages lending the album a ritualistic feel like no other.
Sludge has perhaps never been closer to the forefront of the metal genre than it is right now, with what seems like an infinite number of talented artists bringing something new to this intensely powerful strain of extreme metal. Lesser Glow will have to fight to get their voices heard amongst a populated scene, but there’s room for all, and the band more than deserve any praise that will surely come their way.
Nullity is out now on Pelagic Records. Order here.
Words: George Parr