The Underground-Below-Underground; Music News, Reviews, And Streams; From Sludge Metal To Free Jazz; Film, Visual Arts, Literature, Video Games; And Tech Features
Heavier than the heaviest of the past decade is Weedeater’s brand new beast, one that goes by the name “Goliathan.” The aforementioned would number among two of Weedeater’s own records, two Sourvein monstrosities, several Church Of Misery, a couple Sons Of Otis, one or two Jucifer, EHG, Pentagram, Om, Vitus, and countless newcomers –sorry, no Electric Wizard for me– so, yeah, it’s fairly a pushing statement, but not one I would refuse to defend.
At a time when most sludge records are glopped with post-rock one way or another, albums filled with riffs — those governed by riff and riff only, are unremittingly set to win my plaudits. And none of that concerns which side of the sludge the band in question is in; it may be a bunch of hardcore kids playing fast shit, some prog-heads; putting layers of riff on top of another, or just a pack of stoners, smoking the fuck out of each note. It’s the riff that matters. That’s been what sludge’s been all about, since day one, when it didn’t even have a proper tag. Those early “Gluey Porch Treatments” days. Weedeater happen to be an example of the third group, if not the finest example, and are they the type hailing the riff, you bet, dollars against doughnuts, they are.
It wasn’t until early 2000’s that Weedeater crept into the sludge pit; by then the scene was essentially a fraternity with not enough purveyors to persevere, as the giant strides of Eyehategod, Sleep, and Buzzov•en had all been left in caesura due to label disinterest, personal problems, and numerous other reasons. For all that, Weedeater’s pertinacity and bullheadedness made ’em both tough-to-take-down and a leading force. Dixie, along with T.roy from Sourvein, has served as a rightful godfather of the genre, during the second ten-years, and with “Goliathan,” he continues to maintain that in the third chapter, as well. I mean, hell, it was grand to see him reunite with reverend Dirtkicker back in 2011, but deep down, Dixie will always be remembered for Weedeater.
A slight change sees Whores‘ Travis Owen at the heart of the line-up, for “Goliathan,” and that turns out to be for the best. Not that I dislike any of Keko’s works on the previous records, but Owen; he gives such a majestic performance on this record that it would be outright homicidal not to give him credit for. It is best exemplified in the title track, which comes right after the highly ironic, southern opener ‘Processional,’ where the foundations are not built parallel and note to note, attempting to arrive at the synchronization similar to those seen in death doom and occasionally doom metal, but in a gradual unfolding, underneath the riff. It certainly all tastes to my ears like the standpoint of the late Joey LaCaze. And it’s all been so masterfully put through.
The guitars and bass interlock, and in the thick of a momentum generated by the drumline, all you do is falter across — it’s the sort of time one would effectually be cognizant of how Meshuggah, conceiving “Nothing,” followed Sleep’s suit. “Goliathan” has already knocked out the listener at that point, and that’s barely even halfway thru; plainly why I don’t judge the band too harshly for the overall short length of the record — there is just no filler in there, and maybe even if they had decided to include last year’s ‘Hot Doughnuts Now’ in the tracklist, it wouldn’t have seemed all too short.
Simply a new benchmark for ‘heavy’ and ‘heaviness’ both, “Goliathan” is a defining moment for Weedeater and sludge scene — half an hour of wall-to-wall riffage meant for hours and hours of re-listens.
Written by Ari Wilson