Sloth – The Voice of God – Review


The Voice of God (TMC)
by Craig Regala

This is not extreme music, this is elemental music. “Extreme” is a non-musical value, oft premised on social reaction or intellectual pretension. This Sloth record is purely heavy rock born of the molten tar pits that heaved the very early Blue Cheer into view and the wicked burned-over thud of Zeppelin live in ’69. You know, back when they were in the midst of cracking Gothic Brit thunder out of old blues changes married to the ever-deepening vortex of Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly’s “Innna-Godda-Da Vida,” and the simple, murderous humming drone of the Stooges first onslaught. Add the width, heft and doom of Nixon-era Sabbath without the fancy, jazzy stuff or the proto-prog rock jumpiness to complete the parenting.

Much like their spiritual brothers, Sons of Otis, and labelmates Electric Wizard, the natural voicing and deep non-treated bass/drums/guitar focus keeps the music in the “norm,” so to speak. More importantly, Sloth’s rhythmic focus on the slow, inexorable arc of the wrecking ball over the stiff pound of the piledriver marries them to the body, to history, to Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum, and I hope, to you. Closer to Robin Trower’s deeply slow blues than any “black, industrial or death” doom, The Voice… draws on the droning whirl that has fueled most folk-derived music, be it made with bagpipes, sitars, ouds, guitars or amassed monk’s voices. Tunes exist through identifiable structures (parts sound like sections of “Dazed and Confused” when the only thing Zeppelin was referencing was the crushing “sound” it was rolling off the stage), the singing carries stretched and anguished melodies but no farther “out” than Alice in Chains or Goatsnake. Some of it’s even, well, not pretty, but clean and swaying as it rides into the downtuned minor chord bed the band lays down. I hope this gets to the people that’d like it. There’s a hundred thousand of ‘m out there somewhere.
(PO Box 629 Port Washington, NY 11050)