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Music Review

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Noose Almighty


Artist: Swamp Coffin
Label: APF Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 26 November 2021

APF Records releases Noose Almighty, the new album by English Sludge band Swamp Coffin. The band features Jon Rhodes on vocals and guitar, Martyn White on bass and David Wistow on drums. It was recorded at Top Floor Audioworks in Sheffield by Owen Claxton, who also mixed and mastered their previous release. Amidst personal adversity, Noose Almighty was recorded in three days (after extensive rehearsals) to leave time for ‘experimentation’ and layering. The band is said to be rooted in 1990s Sludge but with a Black Sabbath groove. The release is available for download...

'Barbarian Windsor' slams straight in, giving us an unceremonious low and gritty introduction to the Sabbath groove and growled vocals, which I’m normally an advocate for. These are not an uncomfortable listening experience, but are not as coherent as some other bands out there. I do like the heavy bass and guitar-driven stomp and grind sound, which is very clear for a down and dirty Sludge band. There is a screamed vocal variation near the end of this opener. Aside from the quicker bass drums pattern Jaegerbombsaway maintains the moderate basement level pace and vocal style. The power and intensity cannot be denied, but I would prefer more variety in all respects. This track is saved from anonymity by the first gentle change in structure near the end. 'Knuckledragger' ups the stakes a little with a brutal opening, but it soon settles down to the normal groove. The vocals are significantly more urgent and expressive, however, and there is a nice guitar piece which could have been exploited much more as a change in direction.

The title track, 'Noose Almighty' has more feeling at the outset, with nice atmospheric and plaintive guitar joined completely at odds by the half-growled half-shouted words into the creative vacuum of this ballad. When the full band sound breaks in it isn’t much different to their normal pace. But somehow this song is different. It stands out and works really well. A guitar melody plays in the background and the song plays-out with a return to the solitary atmospheric guitar. Nice. 'Welcome to Rot' powerfully riffs its way back into existence with familiar structure and style, albeit with brief drum-breaks. I do love the grittiness. There are some nice variations inherent in this piece, introduced by the lovely guitar melody. Unfortunately, the nicer moments are "swamped" by the immoveable hulk and unstoppable juggernaut of the standard sound. 'Your Problem' begins ultra-slowly, like a heavy goods train making its first tentative efforts to move. This idea is great but, again, not exploited, as the beast returns to its familiar surroundings.

I feel comfortable listening to these songs. They are heavy and powerful, and just melodic enough to keep my interest. If Swamp Coffin was to support one of my favourite bands I certainly wouldn’t be disappointed. You may detect a "but" coming, and it's simply that I feel the band needs to broaden its approach within the chosen sub-genre to maintain people’s interest. They are a new band though, so we should certainly give them time do develop their sound. Without doubt, there is potential here.


Ty Power