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Split (EP)


Artists: Ungraven / Slomatics
Label: Blackbow Records
Release Date: 05 March 2021

Blackbow Records releases a split EP from Belfast based Sludge band Slomatics and Industrial Metal Band Ungraven. Each contributes three new tracks. Ungraven was formed in 2019 by Conan frontman Jon Davis and features David Ryley on bass, and Tyler Hodges of Tuskar on drums. Slomatics formed in 2004 and have six albums under their belt (their most recent being Canyons in 2019), along with a number of split releases with Conan, Weed Wizard Bastard and Holly Hunt...

We begin with Ungraven. 'Defeat the Object' greets us with a great low bass and gnarly sound. The vocals are screamed like a distant echo, one word at a time. I’m afraid there isn’t much variation here – although the music is solid. I do like the slight lingering of the vocals at the end, after the music has departed. 'Onwards She Rides to a Certain Death' has more of a galloping beat, albeit in a Grungy way. This has a lot of drive, and should have been used as the opening track to enable the listener to grow into the songs. However, the vocals are sung in one tone. 'Blackened Gates of Eternity' offers more release to excellent drum patterns which are prominent over a low guitar mix and bass. Ungraven’s tracks have become increasingly more animated.

Onto Slomatics, and we open with 'Kaän'. This has a riff reminiscent of early Black Sabbath. The vocals here are reverb-driven, too. But at least these change in tone. There is a slightly lighter moment in the middle of this track, before it returns to the original structure. 'Proto Hag' has some nice atmospheric psychedelic sound effects flicker around the senses, until we are suddenly stamped upon by the slam-heaviness of this moderate-paced song. The vocal style is a little more interesting here, and segues into 'Monitors', the best of the three from Slomatics. I don’t mind the occasional song in this Sludge/Doom sub-genre, but I prefer much more energy and melody in my Metal. My mind wants to shake some of these bands out of their depressive states at times! However, each of these musical styles are valid; it’s all down to personal preference – as in all matters. I have to say though that 'Monitors' is the right song to conclude this album with – and it’s certainly the best of the bunch.


Ty Power

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