Oxford Dictionary’s primary definition of ‘autopsy’ is “a postmortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease.” Pairing the definition with the current landscape of death metal, the gut churning miasma of Autopsy and the abyssal sound of Winter are still ever present. The down-tuned, horror-filled, hacked-to-bits aura surrounding Sanguissuggabogg, FLUIDS, and Fulci is clear evidence. The genre is evolving, but the brutal march forward (think The Begotten) out of hell remains. Defined succinctly, the genre has gone through a slog of the most glorious kind. It comes as no surprise that a death metal group has bubbled up from the States with the moniker of Slog.
All that said one cannot simply take up a title of such girth and magnitude. Slog easily assumes the etymological mantle. Their debut album, Graves, is a beautifully arduous sonic journey. Each track feels like depth charge going off and obliterating all that surrounds it with a shock wave from the beyond. Although thoroughly steeped in doom and gloom, Slog intersperses technical veracity throughout, making it an impressive tour de force of bludgeoning death metal. Set in the middle of the album, ’Ceremonial Magicks’ is as close to the classic abominable sound of ‘In The Grip Of Winter’ by Autopsy while still maintaining a unique flavor all its own. The bellowing unearthly vocals, the tastefully brutal set playing, the almost demented yet alluring tone of the guitar work, and the thunderous bass make for a glorious first offering from Slog.
If the US death/doomers were going for an ethos that sounds like a decomposed corpse ripped from the grave, thrown into a twisted mortuary by some possessed diener, and then brought back to life by otherworldly means, they succeeded with exquisite horrifying nature.
Graves is out now via Morbid and Miserable Records and can be ordered here.
Words: Garrett A. Tanner