Of course, this sounds has not remained restricted to the Southern states and numerous countries can claim to have some bands like that at home, one major stronghold being the UK. Byzanthian Neckbeard (what a name!!!!) from Guernsey is another example for the thriving UK scene and “Minaton” is their third release (after a previous album and an EP in September). Maybe the sparseness and isolation on one of those Channel Islands is a good thing for the band as they do not have to think of the needs and necessities of a (large) local scene but can concentrate completely on their music.
On the new record, they show again how a band whose major sound construct is already pretty irrelevant can still gather followers. Their riffs are flexing muscles just like the bull on the cover of the record seems to be flexing his neck and the groove they got seems straight out of the Pantera-parade book. Together with a more than solid bass-attack that makes for a well-trained rhythm section.
Of course, neither of their singers sound like Phil, but that doesn’t matter because their vocals fit to the music which benefits immensely from that duality. However, those are not the only ‘vocals’ on Minaton as there are some vocal samples used throughout the record, with the spoken word intro being one of the most intense moments of those 40 minutes.
To sum it all up, the Guernsey trio is not the next big thing in a genre that has seen so many bands come and go as they didn’t have the energy, the drive, the groove or the strength needed to stay around for long. Byzanthian Neckbeard has all of it and that is a good thing for all Sludge fans because those riffs will carry the band far with all its doom and gloom and stoner and... well, you get it! Sludge on!