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Slomatics | ‘Future Echo Return’

It’s been two years since Slomatic’s ‘Estron’ landed, setting down with all the power and weight of a long-lost Soviet mega-rocket.

That record was a special one in the band’s history; and certainly their most ambitious to date.

It put the immense heft of the Belfast group’s sludge on a more considered path.

Beyond the (killer) riffs, there was genuine refinement, with slow, building synths and a smoother approach to the group’s vocals. It made for a trip of a record, enjoyable in both primal power and cosmic tinge.

‘Future Echo Return’ confirms the band still have their feet very much planted on the Land of Giant Riffs, but with their eyes cast to the stars above.

Volcanic Fuzz

The group have not evolved off into something weird. One spin of this marks it instantly as the band we recognise.

They’re still intent on suffocating the listener under layers of volcanic fuzz – but that refined edge to the electric attack is more prevalent. We can now expect hills and valleys of sonic intensity, and that’s exactly what ‘Future Echo Returns’ gives us.

The ever-more utilised vocals of drummer M. Harvey come into their own when utilised. They’re at their best on the stride-and-smother of ‘Electric Breath’. The band sound at ease with the power at their fingertips, pounding the ears off the listener.

You can take giant riffs for granted when it comes to this band – but there’s a clarity and mass here that puts other groups to shame.

Strictly Sludge

The impact of the production is especially clear on ‘Rat Chariot’, with the guitars landing blows that are almost staggering.

The image of Godzilla and Mothra pounding each other often come to mind when Slomatics get going, but it’s especially satisfying with the excellent vocals provided here.

Similarly, they’ve never realised something as brooding and wistful as ‘Ritual Beginnings’ before.

This is a layered intermission with plenty of picked guitar; all cold stars and the dust of millennia, before the battering recommences.

Here’s where the frustration can set in a little. These new elements; the clear, strident singing, the crafting of mellow new soundscapes – they’re touched upon but never fully fleshed out.

Admittedly, it’s hard to imagine sludge getting much more inventive than this and still being strictly sludge, and perhaps that purity of sound is very deliberate on their part. It’s just the wondering: are there songs in the Slomatics of 2016 that could potentially be even more interesting?

Power Trio

The band have always been fantastic at doing more with less. ‘Celeste’, from way back in their demo days, is a study in how to make a simple chord progression a heart-tugging affair of total heaviness.

That power, pulling so much from raw elements, still pulses through these tracks.

For my money, this is a very solid follow-up for Slomatics. Strong songs, a spot-on production, and those new dynamics – consider it another waypoint delivered by one of the island’s most powerful trios.

3.7 / 5 – Lorcan Archer ::: 09/06/16

  1. Thanks for the review. Out 2nd September on Black Bow Records, available for pre order now.

  2. RusticTrombone Says:

    Sounds class!! Can’t wait to hear the rest.

  3. Eoin McLove Says:

    Not under-produced enough for my liking. A pity…

  4. sounding great to me, cant wait to hear the full thing. Estronomicon

  5. welshchris Says:

    I’ll have to make a special edition, 20th generation cassette dub for you Andy 🙂

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