"Disperse The Curse"

By Earthdog

Hail! Hornet are one of those bands that sludge fans love while the anti-sludge fans love to hate. This band is the ultimate "sludge-supergroup" with its members coming from Buzzov•en, Alabama Thunderpussy, Weedeater, and Sourvein; and this is a dream line-up but what is even better is this album mostly delivers the goods. The songs here are simple but incredibly infectious and while those anti-sludge folks will call this is "total monotony," the rest of us will get a musical boner over the crushing intensity this offers the listener. What is surprising at first is how clean the production is, I was expecting something far more abrasive and raw but it only takes about 2 minutes to realize that it means nothing - this album still rattles the bones and crushes skulls. For the most part 'Disperse the Curse' is a thrashy onslaught of aggressive, sometimes ominous riffing, and insane screaming vocals and not much else but isn't that enough anyway?

Album opener 'Shoot the Pigs' comes charging out of the gates with such pummeling intensity, it is veering into extreme metal territory and it is almost too intense to be simply called sludge. There are some breakdowns to mix it up a bit but it is predominantly a thrashy exercise in musical extremities. 'Gifted Horse' is only half as long but has double the melody. There is still anger but far more groove. The title track is the closest track here to standardized sludge-metal with a more plodding, doomy vibe. They do hit the gas for the final section of the song but this is already a bit of a welcomed break three tracks into the album. 'Glass Roses' is the album's only instantly forgettable track but it is followed by one of the best tunes in 'Beast of Bourbon.' The band manage to melt your face off with brutal riffing while kicking up some serious grooves in the process.

'Kill the Liars' is an album highlight for the way it builds and its slower, doomy breakdowns. It is a rare moment where Hail! Hornet show they can be diverse if they want to; enjoy it for what it's worth because you won't really hear this amount of diversity in a song for the rest of the album. 'Unholy Foe' and 'Suicide Belt' are pretty standard tunes; nothing new and you probably have heard it all before about a million times by now - good but predictable. 'Dullards Creed' blends some drone with the sludge but is also nothing too spectacular. By the time the track 'Scars' comes thundering in, you might be feel inclined to hit stop especially if you are not an experienced listener of sludge but there is a real treat in store with the album closing 'Blacked Out in Broad Daylight.' This is over eight minutes of unnerving, nihilistic, angry sludge played by people who are masters of their craft.....Excellent way to finish the album.

'Disperse The Curse' is not exactly a masterpiece to my ears. It just lacks enough variety to keep it continually interesting but the personal performances of the entire band are impressive and that is what makes it for me. The album is addictive; the more you listen, the more you find yourself hooked and despite the punishing anger displayed in the these tracks, it is incredibly catchy. If I was to make a top 10 of sludge-metal albums for this year so far, this would have to be in the top 3......check it out.......8/10