Slugdge - Esoteric Malacology review

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Band: Slugdge
Album: Esoteric Malacology
Release date: March 2018

01. War Squids
02. Crop Killer
03. The Spectral Burrows
04. Slave Goo World
05. Transilvanian Fungus
06. Putrid Fairytale
07. Salt Thrower
08. Limo Vincit Omnia

If you didn't know by now, Slugdge do write songs about snails, but they're no fucking joke. The molluscan deities have blessed them with the power of the riff.

This is Slugdge's fourth album and they've built quite a nice niche for themselves, one of mollusk-themed tech death with endless puns in their names, akin to what Cannabis Corpse does with weed. But more so than them, Slugdge put heavy emphasis on writing absolutely killer music to match their concept, showing that they're more than a gimmick band.

Esoteric Malacology finds Slugdge at their most technical and intricate. While not disfavouring relentless assaults of heaviness, most of the riffs and textures are increasingly complex, perhaps to mimic the Gojira reference in the album's title. For example, "The Spectral Burrows" sounds incredibly akin to something you'd find on The Way Of All Flesh while still maintaining the sluggish essence of the band. All throughout, the album twists and changes in unexpected ways, and considering that most of the tracks are in the 6-8-minute range, it's amazing how creative their songwriting was in order to avoid repetition, leaving us with almost an hour of engaging tech death.

There is really nothing I can come up to criticise it performance-wise. Even though there is no drummer credited and likely the drums were programmed, it's really hard to tell from the music itself, there isn't a moment when the drums sound way too precise and calculated and they have a somewhat organic feeling. The vocals range from deep growls to high growls to cleans and esoteric chants and nothing sounds out of place. The guitars and the sound generally is audibly less sludgy (although they never were, even though their name suggests it, a sludge band), and the sound of the album is quite cleanly death metal-ish with black and prog overtones.

So let us do Lord Mollusk's work and name all the references in the titles, shall we:
- "Esoteric Malacology" = "Esoteric Surgery" by Gojira
- "War Squids" = "War Pigs" by Black Sabbath
- "Crop Killer" = "Cop Killer" by Body Count
- "The Spectral Burrows" = "The Spectral Sorrows" by Edge Of Sanity
- "Slave Goo World" = "Slave New World" by Sepultura
- "Transilvanian Fungus" = "Transylvanian Hunger" by Darkthrone
- "Putrid Fairytale" = "Lucid Fairytale" by Napalm Death
- "Salt Thrower" = Bolt Thrower
- "Limo Vincit Omnia" = latin for "slime conquers all"

While cutting back on the dirtier sludge undertones, Slugdge instead deliver their most intricate album to date. Slugs and snails and riffs.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 10
Originality: 8
Production: 9


Written on 12.04.2018 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments: 9   Visited by: 243 users
12.04.2018 - 11:02
I love that this band is actually good now to just listen to this new album!
12.04.2018 - 11:41
My album of the year so far, nothing else even comes close.

It's worth noting that they are already in the process of writing new songs for the new album and perhaps even more importantly TBDM drummer Alan Cassidy joined the band as well, and is contributing to the writing apparently. Can't effin wait.
12.04.2018 - 19:48
Go tell that long tongue liar
Go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
You tell em that God's gonna cut em down
12.04.2018 - 20:00
I like. Very good for any fan of death metal. They definitely have a gift for riff writing.
13.04.2018 - 00:58
Yea this album is amazing! Definite contender for album of the year. I'm hoping Willowtip will re-release their previous three records on cd as two of them were digital only and the other had a vinyl release. Band is phenomenal!
13.04.2018 - 09:54
All their previous releases were very strong, but this one is even better. I love it how some of the songs contain references to bands from which Slugdge took the inspiration for their song titles (i.e. Transilvanian Fungus).
14.04.2018 - 01:31
Track: 'War Squids' gives me a bigtime Scarve vibe.
10.01.2019 - 06:35
A dude from work recommended this album to me. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I don't know if I'd say it's 9 material for me personally... however your review makes me want to revisit it. I only listened to it a couple times.
10.11.2019 - 07:26
Learnt here that the drums were programmed; didn't even notice while having it play in the car today. Then again, it's not the most attentive of listens while driving but I like what I'm hearing! Good variety in the songwriting and vocals.

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