Okay, the latter is something that you might not read in every review for every sludge record but if to be honest, sludge has its roots more in doom than in punk although some people might say that it is a slowed-down version of the distorted punk riffs noticeable in blackened hardcore bands. Don’t believe me? Well, listen to the debut by Belgian sludge band Growing Horns.
They show very well that sludge is not about being slowed-down but rather about being sped-up. It is definitely faster than doom but listening to the structures one can hardly but notice that they are playing with sometimes minute changes to the pace of a song. Sometimes they break it down by letting the reins run free and the bull lead the path to extinction. They have more than five toes in a rich honey glass full of riffs that might make some well-established act blush.
If you listen to the five tracks on their self-released record, which add up to roughly 32 minutes, you will hear that here the candles are blown out by some harsh winds but not by a tropical downpour of Biblical measures. No, they know very well how to establish a sound that oscillates between the sound of leathery skin being rubbed up and down a roughly-plastered wall and the crack of a single bone snapped in two after having been under constant stress by the grip of a Minotaur trying to make your head crack open like the one in Game of Thrones.
The clearest connection to doom is the way their use the vocals of Dufus Demon, their “singer”, who every often gurgles with a cocktail of elves’ blood and bull-piss before spit-singing his own version of crooning. One of the most impressive moments is – believe it or not – the ending, when they experiment with a piano melody. That really got me wanting more, but then the opening track starts again and there we are again – at pissed-off doom aka straight-forward sludge.