This year is evidently the one for New Orleans metal! First Down, then Crowbar and now Eyehategod. The sludge world rejoices!
Being that this is Eyehategod‘s first release since 2000’s Confederacy of Ruined Lives, my expectations have been high for this self-titled album. They are no strangers to hard times and have lived through such tribulations as drug abuse, poverty, hurricanes and, most recently, the loss of drummer Joey LaCaze, whose tracks appear here. You can feel these emotions flow through the entire album. Mike Williams’ vocals are angry, and his trademark screams and snarls haven’t diminished over the years. Jimmy Bower (also of Down) and fellow guitarist Brian Patton lay down some seriously heavy riffs, and bassist Gary Mader holds down the bottom-end on bass. The whole album is polished production wise, but don’t fear – this doesn’t affect Eyehategod‘s ability to cast their ire on listeners. Bower described this album perfectly as “Black Sabbath mixed with Black Flag with a little bit of Skynyrd and the element of blues thrown in there.”
“Agitation! Propaganda!” starts off with blistering punk attitude. It’s fast paced, but it slows down to a sludgy, Sabbath-y ending. Williams’ vocals are as sharp as ever. “Trying to Crack the Hard Dollar” is feedback-laden, southern doom at it’s best, and “Parish Motel Sickness” continues the abuse. “Robitussin and Rejection” is Eyehategod at their finest, and it is easily my favorite song here. It’s heavy, slow and just plain dark with anger that seethes and oozes.
“Flags and Cities Bound” is an all together different animal. It’s like listening to a spoken word train wreck, and Williams preaches with a vengeance amidst rabid feedback. “Nobody Told Me” brings back the traditional sludge sound Eyehategod practically invented. It has a southern flavor mixed with Corrosion of Conformity riffing and melody. “Medicine Noose” adds blues to the punk/Black Flag attitude, and “The Age of Boot Camp” closes this masterpiece wallowing in tried-and-true sludge.
Eyehategod, while only four albums deep in their 25 year career, are pioneers of this sound and genre. They beat you senseless, but leave you thirsting for more. If you are a fan of Eyehategod, you will love this album. If you aren’t a fan, you soon will be.
Eyehategod is out now on Housecore Records.
Rating: 5/5 Stars