Black Fangs

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Crazy as it seems, 2011's Black Fangs is only Sourvein's third true album, and their first in nine years! Even more curiously, the Cape Fear, North Carolina-based sludge-doom ensemble spent all that time issuing some 18 songs spread over seven separate EPs and split releases, while leader T-Roy Medlin coped with Spinal Tap-like turnover that saw nearly a dozen musicians shift through his ranks. Anything but optimal working conditions, in other words, but conditions that also make the mere existence of Black Fangs seem like something of a triumph, even before the needle hits the groove. When it does, Medlin immediately sets about venting all of his pent-up bile and frustration in the form of familiarly visceral, vicious, and viscous sludge-doom that emanates from the speakers like a particularly toxic swamp gas. Whether that means sucking the doom right out of aortal Sabbath power chords ("Fangs," "Night Eyes," "Gemini," etc.), crushing and snorting every hardcore grain in sight ("Flux"), or squeezing the last "Gasp" out of willingly suffocated listeners, there's everything to love but nothing remotely innovative about his throat-lacerating vocals, acid-corroded riffs, and disorienting feedback swirls. Of course, keep in mind that Medlin actually helped to pioneer this sound back in the day, so you can't exactly begrudge his desire to carry on wallowing in its misery ‘til kingdom come -- nor his followers' eagerness to wallow in it right along with him. Heck, they've waited long enough and, at this rate, there's no guarantee that Sourvein will be issuing another new album this decade! Best to enjoy what they have and leave the complaining to others.

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