Swamp Coffin – Noose Almighty (APF Records)
Maybe it’s the weather.
Maybe it’s post-industrial decline.
Maybe it’s just something in the water.
Whatever it is, Britain makes good sludge.
From Iron Monkey to Pist, Mistress to Mastiff, the UK has long been coated in the sticky stuff.
And Swamp Coffin do it better than most.
Noose Almighty – the band’s debut full-length – doesn’t reinvent that crusty wheel.
But in harnessing (very) personal grief, despair and hopelessness, the Rotherham trio have birthed a record that is steeped in raw emotion… and crushes with every chord.
Yes, sludge metal can be an uninspiring dirge. But Swamp Coffin have the songwriting nous to hold your attention throughout.
It’s no mean feat.
Ok, so the Yorkshire act know their NOLA (check out Barbarian Windsor for exhibit A). But like the legendary Iron Monkey, their tunes convey a particularly British brand of anguish and hatred.
These are songs born of boarded up high streets, rain soaked concrete and alienation.
They stink of decay and corruption.
Opener Your Problem slithers its way across a dank graveyard before erupting into a tense, soul burning groove, Knuckledragger and Welcome To Rot boast the kind of simple, deliciously addictive riffs that every sludge band should have (but don’t), and the doomed out title track is cloaked in oppressive, all-consuming atmospherics.
At the centre of the maelstrom is co-founder Jon Rhodes: his caustic roar pushes the intensity of Noose Almighty into the red.
The rage of Jaegerbombsaway, for instance, could melt cities.
And throughout the album’s six tracks, the punishment simply never lets up.
Swamp Coffin plant their flag in the sludge
South Yorkshire is synonymous with British steel.
But in the hands of Swamp Coffin, that steel is rusty, caked in filth and ready to cut deep.
This is an almighty piece of work – make no mistake.
Main image: Ellen Rhodes.