NPON: Nothing Positive Only Negative

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Although Facedowninshit's zealously guarded independence from the music industry machine conspired to keep them out of the public eye, they actually recorded a number of self-financed albums before what many might erroneously presume to be their debut, 2006's Relapse-released NPON: Nothing Positive Only Negative. This turns out to be an aptly descriptive LP title for the North Carolina-based trio, whose self-described "Southern-fried dirt metal" combines the primal misanthropy typical of sub-Mason-Dixon Line sludge, with additional if subtle arrangement complexities reflected in the work of former touring partners like Today Is the Day and fellow Southerners Mastodon. Subtle being the operative word, as the doom-laced "Plasma Center Blues" opens the proceedings on a slowly building, dread-inducing, and primitive-minded grind, and it's not until album-closing excursions like "Rough Sleep" and the evocatively named "Fucked" that the band experiments with more ear-friendly melodies for textural variety. In the meantime, the title track and "Association of Known Undesirables" have shown themselves more familiarly affiliated with the corrosive sludge metal of Eyehategod (unquestionably Facedowninshit's main inspirational forefathers), while the almost pure hardcore rush of "Ten Strip" and the feedback fest "Countless" travel further east into Floridians Cavity's territory. All of the above are pulled off with the confidence, power, and experience of road-tested underground metal warriors, so even if most of Facedowninshit's influences are tattooed upon their riffs and roars, there's plenty on hand here for Southern sludge fans to appreciate.

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