Sourvein – Aquatic Occult (Metal Blade)

Wednesday, 18th May 2016
Rating: 7/10

Pretty cool of Metal Blade to give a band like Sourvein an increased platform. Guided by T-Roy (real name: Troy Medlin) since their 1993 inception, the band has endured its share of hard times…and hard times. With the usual sprawl of lineup changes, geographic hopscotching, and T-Roy’s personal problems, the arduous career of Sourvein appears to met its happy ending, even if Aquatic Occult is the band’s first on Metal Blade. (Read: You never know how long a band will last on a label these days.) But a sap story this is not; Aquatic Occult helps Sourvein maintain their reputation as one of the heaviest bands in the sludge scene.

Certainly we’ve had our druthers with sludge, or stoner sludge, or stoner doom sludge. The style has yet to evolve and probably never will, so one must take an utterly simple band like Sourvein at face-value. The band’s riffs dotter and trip along, never finding more than a few notes to use. Then again, Sourvein’s actual “sound” overrides any sort of technical action, giving the sticky-glue “Avian Dawn” and voluminous “Hymn to Poseidon” some obvious thrust. However, T-Roy and the gang kick out the distortion in favor of relaxed, hazy jams like “Mermaids” and the excellent “Bermuda Sundown,” then, the case of Sourvein can be made.

Help along the way comes in the form of Lamb of God throat Randy Blythe, who chips in on “Ocypuss,” while Corrosion of Conformity drummer Reed Mullin handles drums on nearly all of the album’s songs. So with a little help from his friends, Metal Blade, and the ever-supportive sludge/doom sound, Sourvein should continue to soldier on, battle scars and all. Aquatic Occult is a real testament to hard work and staying true, if anything else.

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