With a track record that dates all the way back to 1993, it’s a testament to perseverance and dedication that T. Roy, the only and founding member of Sourvein, has continued to fuel his project through record label instability and periods of severe depression. It’s no wonder he has earned such a respected reputation in the world of sludge and doom, right up along side the fellow North Carolina lords of Buzzov*en.
With a new home on Metal Blade Records, Sourvein releases their fourth full-length album Aquatic Occult featuring an impressive array of helping hands including, but not limited to, Randy Blythe of Lamb of God, Dean Berry of Iron Monkey and Stig Miller of Amebix.
As the name implies, Aquatic Occult is musically conceptualized around the theme of water, with samplings clearly heard in the opening track ‘Tempest (Of Desire)’ and closing track ‘Oceanic Procession’. A clear homage to their coastal origin Cape Fear NC, all the tracks are given aquatic names and the track names themselves can be an indicator of what kind of intensity to expect upon listening.
For example, the first single ‘Occypus’ (featuring Randy Blythe), with it’s maximally distorted riffage and aggressively thickened growls, represents fierceness and unpredictability – which is an accurate interpretation of an octopus. As opposed to the out-of-the-box track ‘Mermaids’ with its clean reverb-inflected vocals and whiny drawn out riffs, it can be interpreted to represent the mystical creature although this track is the weakest on this album.
However, it’s quite apparent throughout the album that the ability to memorably heavy guitar riffs comes easily to T. Roy. If you are as heavily into sludge as myself, you know how important it is for a slow chugging riff to be as blood curdling as possible. The heavy hitters on this album are ‘Hymn to Poseidon’, ‘In The Wind’ and ‘Urchins,’ featuring the most soul-crushing riffs so far this year. The more pensive doom tracks on this album lie within ‘Cape Fearian’, channeling the Judgement-era Anathema with its dark celtic melody, and ‘Bermuda Showdown’, channeling Neurosis-style minimalistic grooves with hesitant military drums marching alongside it.
The entire album is infested with T. Roy’s yells of his true realities and misfortunes, but he makes it clear that there is a light at the end of his tunnel. And although this honest album does have a few questionable lapses in production, Sourvein’s Aquatic Occult is a great fourth LP release and you’d be crazy to not look forward to more.
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