To be considered genre-defying is probably the greatest accolade for any artist, I have talked about uniqueness in my reviews before and how although it may seem obvious to say it’s always the solitary bands that stick with us. In an age where you can hammer and chisel classical records tape them back together play and record it and sell it on Bandcamp (something in my ever-growing Bandcamp wishlist of oddities) it would seem that it is genuinely difficult to make a statement. In one sense the idea of an endless chasm of music enthrals me but in another it makes the search for the diamonds in the rough so much harder.

Lurk are a Finnish band of many styles which we will come to talk about soon, but first let us look to their history. The band began in 2008 and has worked consistently since to bring us three full length albums a self-titular release in 2012 followed by Kaldera in 2014 and finally the album we are here to talk about Fringe in 2016. However the album has now been re-released through the mighty ineffable Transcending Obscurity Records and will hopefully allow these titans to reach a well deserved, larger audience.

So let us delve into the previously mentioned genre tags of Lurk, a combination of Death, Doom, Sludge and Atmospheric Metal is present here in an endless mixture that is unlike its counterparts and capable of shifting without any hiccups from aspect to aspect. The opening notes of Ostrakismos are a haunting, noisy plummet into metallic bliss and serve as a progressive tumble into a thick puddle of Sludge ridden ooze, a perfect opener that shows this bands full potential whilst also easing us into the oncoming devastation. The notes of the bouquet don’t stop there as we are even presented with Stoner Rock tinged riffs in tracks like Tale Blade and Furrow.

Vocally this release is a powerhouse of massive cavernous, guttural Death Metal inspired barbarity that is at times slow, dragging and morose. This only compliments the dirge lashed guitars and dissonant drums. The mixture of influences is endless, at times you really sense a full Death Metal vibe for example in Offshoot, yet at other times the atmospheric edge takes to the forefront, Fringe is not an album but rather a journey into the underbelly of Sludge soaked, Doom draped, Death Metal.

Do I think Lurk could do more, in some ways yes, I think all bands can always do more, but that is why it is important for bands to reflect upon their creations. For example the ending of the concluding symphony Proteus Syndrome exhibits some horrendous fuzz fuelled noise aspects that I think could be utilized further, but by Lurk injecting this into their sound it shows a hunger to grow and a thirst to expand and experiment. If you want the best of the Sludge/ Doom world then bear Lurk in mind.

(9/10 George Caley)