Sludge is a delightfully simple sub genre. For me it requires two things a devastating, rib rattling, ground shaking musical backdrop and harsh larynx shredding vocals. Wroclaw’s Black Smoke got the memo and have delivered on their debut – Holy Reptilian Mother.
Opening with the buzz of an amp and some feedback “The Last of Us” tears out of the speakers like a honey badger from a trap before leaning back into a mahoosive smoke enshrouded groove. Damian Sniezek is rupturing his vocal chords to get the point across and fuck I am listening to him. “Iron Lung” (I wonder if this is named for Scissorfights alma mater?) opens with a low gravelly prolonged growl before Sniezek spits punk attitude all over the huge riffs. Here he is supported by a low death growl which acts as the perfect foil for his sneering narration. Bassist Piotr Hucal and drummer Gniewko Swiatek are the crushing heartbeat whilst Krzysztof Szczypka unleashes riff after devastating riff. The ending is a mesmeric neckwrecking punk doom fistbanging crescendo.
All of which makes the bizarre “China Girl” like, plucked intro to Stormtripper! Shroomtripper! with its added saxophone even more crazy and delightful. To hear the fuzzed up bassline rumble underneath a cheesey 70’s porno sax sex section is truly grin making. This is jazzy stoner evil mushroom music. Think Iron Monkey with a brass section. Ooooooh! Such a choppy riff too.
Ethanol is basement dwelling bath tub gin swilling music. There is possible blindness in every swig of this dirty brew but it is well worth the risk. Tortured shouts behind the rasped vocals conjure aural DT’s as we hear someone hoofing up their stomach lining in the background. Underneath this alcoholic madness the dirty drum and bass continue, ignoring the sputum and ramblings above. Straightjacket required! The use of electronics on here add further modern atmosphere to the delightfully dire diorama. (minus points for alliteration) .
Connection was Severed starts with a stoner groove before breaking down into what sounds like a Commodore 64 game loading in 1985. Maybe that is the real sound of dial up – hang on I think it was. Tumbling drums and thunderous riffs accompany the downfall of the computer world.
Acid is Not a Cheap Wine sounds like it was recorded in a tin shack in Arkansas . Raw and rusty edges to slice your knees and elbows. Ooh I hope I’ve had my tetanus shot. Think of the scene in 28 days later when the infected army lad is chomping at the protagonists from the end of the chain that is holding him. That is what this track sounds like. I do not have a clue what the words are. Just that the singer is angry as fuck and may bite my nose off. Again the gargantuan riffs continue unaffected by the hate and bile being spewed.
Release the Cocken opens with a twanging elastic band of a intro before the melody is replicated with full bombast by the band. Mythological penile beasts obviously need a titanic soundtrack.
The whole filth ridden kitbag is brought to a crushing ending by the title track which is built around a giant choppy shared riff that is equal parts drum, bass and guitar. By the time the track and album have finished I have a ringing in my ears and shit eating grin on my face. Black Smoke make the kind of dirty noise that makes you want to get sweaty and encrusted with moss and bark chippings. That’s a good thing in this charging point centric world.
(8.5/10 Matt Mason)