“Rotten Human Kingdom”

By Dr. Abner Mality

Looking for long tracks full of monstrously thick sludgy riffs? You’ll find them here. SUBTERRAEN is a French trio looking to provide maximum misery with their album about a planet choking in its own filth...ours. Yes, “Rotten Human Kingdom” delivers on the depressing promise of its title.

Although more atmospheric moments are not totally lacking here, this band is focused much more of the sheer massive weight of crushing doom riffs, delivered with plenty of feedback and a guitar sound reminiscent of CONAN and ELECTRIC WIZARD. Three main tracks all plod for more than 10 minutes, hammering your head with turgid slow brutality. “Wrath of a Downtrodden Planet” crawls on hands and knees for more than 18 minutes of punishing sludge. While it might make many holler “uncle”, experienced sludge and doom fans will dig the monolithic sound. Only the brief instrumental “Oceans Are Rising” offers any relief and even this tune is melancholy.

There’s not tons of subtle nuance in SUBTERRAEN’s attack and I’m sure they know it. I for one am kind of glad we have a sludge band that doesn’t waste time with pianos, weepy strings, precious female vocals, synthscapes and the like. They just want to bash your head in.