Croatian label Geenger Records have released Menhir which brings together two Sludge/Post Metal bands from Belgrade in the shape of In From the Cold and Nula. Being English and possessing the English centric blinkers that many of us have I have not heard of either act before, so unwrapping the vinyl platter was an even more exciting occurrence than usual. Serbia not being the first country that springs to mind when thinking of swampy, smoky riff filled tunes. Intriguing.

In From the Cold kick things off with the instrumental “The Unknown Lives” – split itself into two parts: I Invoking Drums of War and II Lair of the Leptyrcon.  The first part is a superfluous intro of patty cake background noise. This soon segues nicely into a full rounded post metal riff rider a la Baroness, all warm tones and big sound.  “Vracam Se Dole” (trans. I’m Back Down) is a short, gruff vocal led stoner groove. Punchy passages are followed by drawn out riffs and rolling drums.

The third and final offering of IFTC is the 10 minute “2 Live 4” which sees the quartet able to let loose.  The vocals are tortured and sound as though they are recorded from inside a metal cell. The riffs are massive and carry the listener along on the crest of a sonic wave. There are sections which remind me of reggae, others of psychedelia when the cry of a baby wah breaks the bass heavy beast.  The solos soar and the drums and bass continue their journey like giants surrounded by hummingbirds.  Seriously groovy. This is a track to be savoured in its entirety.

Side two is Nula’s crack at the whip. “Trosenja Tela” is up first. The emphasis here is more on metal. Milos Milosevic’s vocal style is more gothic in nature than those of In From the Cold and the track is more traditional groove with tinges of metalcore to my ears.  “Silazak u prah” is more of the same. It sounds like a hundred things at once. A mashed up, moshed up Eurometal casserole rather than a succulent slab (of seitan of course!).  This sounds like the sort of band that I was seeing at battle of the bands shows in 2002.  ”Usnuo/Savrsen/Sam” rounds things off . This is one for Machine Head fans. Nowt wrong with that. It just does not fit with In From the Cold. Very strange bedfellows and a combo that does neither act a favour.

I will definitely check In From the Cold out again.

I better split the score

(In From the Cold 3.5/5 – Nula 1.5/5 Matt Mason)