For Fans Of is a column that takes one very well-known and popular band that our writers and readers are fans of, and then our staff write about a small group of lesser-known bands that do similar things and who we think you all might like as well and give a listen to.
No name could better evoke the downtempo hatred and nihilistic glee inherent to sludge metal better than Eyehategod. Really, there’s nobody else quite like them: one of the foremost proprietors of the style, the New Orleans natives formed in the late 80s and put out the classic, genre-forming sludge album Take As Needed For Pain in 1993 to much acclaim, issuing from there a couple subsequent releases but maintaining a long, long radio silence after 2000 until returning with their self-titled Eyehategod in 2014. It’s not like they really needed to do much following Take As Needed For Pain, though, since that album led to an explosion of sludge metal bands due to the sheer hatred, both of the self and of the world around, contained within. Every track from the band is sheer malevolence that has them throwing punk vocals over downtuned, fuzzed-out bluesy rock riffs and walls of distorted feedback in a combo as groovy as it is aggressive, and we’ll be damned if it doesn’t work. Really, after listening to anything by them, it’s clear why they’ve become the giants of underground metal they have, and why they have such the legions of followers they do. Today, we’re going to present to you some of the worshipers at Eyehategod’s altar of sonic violence, in the hopes that you’ll find some of your new favorite groups. So, without further ado, here’s “For Fans Of: Eyehategod.” Enjoy.
SubRosa – More Constant Than The Gods
While they aren’t exactly as “straightforward” sludge as Eyehategod, SubRosa carry plenty of weight with their name. Their music is more melodic, with more focus on the sound of the track as opposed to the sound of the instruments, if that makes any sense. What I mean by that is that SubRosa goes beyond simply trying to be a sludge band; they enter the stratosphere, trying to combine post-rock, sludge metal, and even some atmospheric music to create a sound that is larger than life, and one that the band has grown accustomed to producing.
The melodies they produce with their vocals soar leagues above the rest of the scene, and the band effortlessly combines their own special brand of heavy sludge music with clean vocals to create a sound that extremely relaxing, given how abrasive the instruments can be at some points. This record speaks volumes about the evolution of sludge music, and this band is a prime example of what happens when you try new things and go about them gradually: you end up finding what works really well, and honing your sound to be a cut above the rest. SubRosa are far from legends, but with a few more years and some more branching out, they just might be someday.
Harvey Milk – Life…The Best Game In Town
Though they may not be quite as unabashedly crushing as Eyehategod, Georgia’s Harvey Milk feel a lot more like kindred spirits to the band than a lot of their more metallic peers and actually share quite a few things in common. Though Harvey Milk certainly incorporates plenty of metal influences into their sound, it’s their undeniable blues and rock influences that really helped separate them as one of the more interesting groups to crawl out of the slimy, Southern metal underground of the early 1990s. Pair this with the band’s unquestionable Melvins influences that can be seen all over their discography and you’ve got yourself one of the most frequently-overlooked groups in the stoner metal scene.
The band’s reunion album, 2008’s hulking Life…the Best Game in Town, sounds about as grimy and weathered as the Iron Maiden poster that adorns the cover. It’s a plodding and occasionally crushing experience that certainly sets off its very unsettling tones with “Death Goes to the Winner,” relying heavily on repetition and the caustic vocal performances of Creston Spiers. Spiers sounds like an absolute fucking maniac throughout the entirety of this album, who takes just as much time channeling his inner Delta bluesman as he does digging through the same gravel pits that Mike IX Williams’ vocal cords dwell in. The band also isn’t afraid to speed things up and kick it up into some dizzying hard rock licks that’d make Clutch scratch their heads in tracks like “Barnburner” and “After All I’ve Done for You, This Is How You Repay Me,” although things almost always quickly devolve back into loads of droning nihilism.
Heavy on the emotions, dripping in bong water and modestly recorded, this record was one of the better reunion albums of its time and still feels like one of the band’s most cohesive statements yet, despite Spiers’ beliefs that it’s the bands weakest link in their discography. If you’re looking for a fuzz-laden behemoth of an album that would provide you with plenty of negativity to wallow in, Life…the Best Game in Town is just the thing you’re aching for.
Grief – Come to Grief
When it comes to doom – and particularly genre classics – there isn’t a wealth of variety in terms of subgenres. Any particular band typically attains the genre’s low-and-slow mindset through herbal measures and then branches off into their direction of choice. But as with anything, there are both name brand and hidden gem veterans that operate within multiple styles, ultimately pushing more than one genre into new territory. The oft-forgotten Grief surfaced from Boston in the Nineties and accomplished just this, pedaling the filthiest sludge at doom tempos for truly misanthropic results on overlooked genre classics like Come to Grief.
Though the band don’t have the tinge of Southern grit showcased by their NOLA kin, Grief effortlessly match Eyehategod’s attitude with the infamous attitude of Boston hardcore/metal And while the band may not rise above a bludgeoning trudge, their brand of sludge/doom produces some of the most gruesome, bottom-dwelling iterations ever laid to tape. Imagine Black Sabbath’s eponymous, landmark track smashed and scattered in every direction, with Grief crawling atop the piles of scattered bones and ash and cursing the indifferent, desolate sky. But the album’s pace bolsters the band’s sludge tendencies; the album knows exactly when to slide in some shuffling riffs and double kick pedals to simulate skulls smashing underfoot. IT may be odd to label a classic album as “underrated,” but it’s a damn shame that Come to Grief receives far less emphasis than it deserves in terms of its essential status. For fans of both doom and sludge, Grief should always be on frequent rotation.
Admiral Angry – Buster
Have you ever listened to something so heavy that it physically hurt? I don’t mean like at a concert where you forgot earplugs or something (although believe me, I’ve been there, and it ain’t fun), I mean putting on an album for the first time and getting an earhole-fucking, shit-kicking, gut-churning dose of unadulterated pain? Well, buddy, if you’re reading an article for more bands along the lines of Eyehategod, you probably crave that visceral, nausea-inducing vehemence the same way I do, and if you haven’t heard of Admiral Angry yet, you’re about to find an album that’s going to rock your world.
From start to finish, Buster is a full-on inferno of sludge metal that throws all notions of subtlety and dynamics to the side in favor of pummeling anger, brutally straightforward lyricism (accompanied by equally straightforward song titles, such as “Kill Yourself” and “Bug Vomit”), and the heaviest guitar tones this side of Gojira. Seriously, you won’t find something more openly nasty than Buster, and that’s a compliment this group of madmen take in stride. In addition, shortly after the release of this album, one of their members passed away due to cystic fibrosis, and so a chunk of any money made off this record goes to research to find a cure for the disease. Destroy any and all around you at the same time as donating to a good cause? If you’re not entirely about that, you’re probably not the kind of person who would appreciate this sort of music anyway.
Sloth Herder – Abandon Pop Sensibility
What else needs to be said about Sloth Herder other than the name of this album? They are raw, pure misanthropy given to the masses in the form of dirty, crushing blackened, sludgey grindcore. They may not have the raw groove or blues sensibility of Southern heroes Eyehategod, but what they lack in that they by far make up in attitude. After, a key part of the EHG formula is the bleak outlook on life that fuels their music, and just about nobody represents that outlook than Sloth Herder. If you want to feel to feel like you were run over by a bulldozer, than that bulldozer chose to continually reverse and drive over you yet again, than Sloth Herder just might be the band for you. If you love that raw, dirty Eyehategod attitude that makes them so lovable in the first place, while also having a soft spot for artists such as Primitive Man, than Sloth Herder is definitely for you.