Hailing from Arvada, Colorado, a city built on the original site where the first nugget of Rockies gold was discovered in 1850, doom-dwellers Ketch have discovered something far darker lurking in their waters.

Anyone dipping their sluice pan in this river will find a mixture of death, sludge and, as their album-title so eloquently describes, plenty of dread. This first long-player from them comes with their self-titled EP tacked on the end so this release certainly isn’t short on playtime.

They open up with a lilting bassline that curls itself around your senses like smoke, but soon bursts into flame and meaty riffery. With the screeching vocal completing the set, those listening will be sent whirling like dervishes, banging heads, punching fists. “Fertile Rites By Sacrifice” is a fine introduction – simple, aggressive and weighty.

From here things start getting a little fraught as the disturbing madness that lurks within their song-writing starts tearing the structures apart. Chaotic rhythms, furred-up electrics, anomalous chords and bristling vocal that tears maniacally at the flesh. Rumbling butchery that eventually catches the groove before suddenly disappearing from view.

“En Nomine Eius” [translation: “In The Name Of Jesus Christ”] echoes elegiacally, warbling sweetly before tearing your face clean off with a single swipe. The double-kicking fury is bone-shattering. Like a mix of Iron Monkey and Slabdragger, with hints of Monolord and Weedeater, this is heaviosity in overdrive; low-lidded and psychotic. Pitching straight into “Monsters Of The World”, an atonal death growling bastard from the very depths of Hell itself. You know something’s afoot when your cat fixes you with narrowed eyes and pins its ears back yet refuses to move from the room.

One sore point – “Estranged”, with its tuneless piano collapse and echoing whispers intoning scripture it’s clearly designed to bring to mind the horrors that lurk in the mind, but by the second play simply starts drives you nuts. “ALL WORK AND NO PLAY MAKES JACK A DULL BOY…”

Happily, all’s well that ends well as they resort to type. Oh, and their 5-track EP that follows has plenty to offer the doom fiends amongst you. Definitely, check out “Counting Sunsets” – it’s a cold-blooded killer of a track.

Ketch don’t do things by halves. This is hearty, brutal fare with exotic flourishes that hint at something beyond your usual experience. Slap on your death mask, bring your weed and come get some.

(7.5/10 John Skibeat)