New Orleans, Louisiana-based lords of sludge Eyehategod have been through a lot in a career spanning more than twenty-five years.
Now with the release of their fifth album (to great anticipation) they’re back to infect the world with their genre defining music.
It’s taken fourteen years for Eyehategod to create the follow-up to Confederacy Of Ruined Lives but considering what the members have been doing in that time it’s more than understandable why. Hurricane Katrina, getting clean, a short spell in prison, a little known side-project called Down and the tragic death of a band member quite recently: you could say that it’s been 99 Miles Of Bad Road for these guys.
With this new album do they blow the barn doors off, or ease back into the process slowly?
Eyehategod open their eponymous fifth album with the punk-tinged sludgefest Agitation! Propaganda!. It’s been on the band’s Youtube channel for quite a while, and if you’re anything like me you will have listened to it tirelessly but if you haven’t heres a quick capsule review: fast, heavy. Bolting out of the gate with a vengeance this shows that Eyehategod are taking absolutely no prisoners with this latest release before moving towards a crushing blues heaviness that they do so well.
Trying To Crack The Hard Dollar continues this heaviness by throwing in a slightly faster refrain after the verses to bring their trademark groove to the fore of the music. Leading very well into the third track with a haze of feedback, Eyehategod take a slower approach with Parish Motel Sickness. A powerful crushing slab of pure sludge with a distinct marching rhythm guaranteed to get even the most ardent thrasher head-banging and foot-stomping.
So far, vocalist Mike Williams is at his throat-wrenching best, his well known snarl cutting right to the very pain and anguish that seem to encapsulate Eyehategod’s lyrics. The band up the pace again with Quitters’ Offensive; an all out groovy track that really shows they know their way around a heavy blues riff. Chugging guitars also up the ante by taking the rhythm to a straighter sound rather than swung.
Nobody Told Me brings more of a doom influenced Black Sabbath sound to the album. It’s in very much the same vein as Electric Funeral. The influence is very clear throughout most of these slower songs – check out the Sabbath medley they recorded several years ago if you ever get the opportunity. Another staple of Eyehategod’s music is feedback intros leading into heavy blues riffs, and this is no more evident than in Worthless Rescue. They keep this song bluesy through the use of slow and ever-changing riffs to keep the listener and (I imagine) themselves thoroughly entertained.
Framed To The Wall takes us back to a fast paced punk sound to grant some levity to the album so far, a good move made by the band so that people not so familiar with their sound can listen to something slightly different. Eyehategod should sound like battle-worn generals at this point in their career but they don’t. Their music is still incredibly energised and visceral without sounding forced or like they’re just going through the motions.
Robitussin And Rejection puts us right back into the thick of their slow and heavy sound like a force of nature, no hanging around here for people to adjust. With only three songs left to go Eyehategod chose to have Flags And Cities Bound as more of a spoken word song over guitars feeding back and a very strong bassline. However the heaviness does come back, possibly the heaviest part of the album, a beat down riff to rival even the most core of metalcore bands.
Two songs left and a Medicine Noose awaits us. A song of completely and utterly killer riffs, each better than the last. This one displays Eyehategod’s diversity better than any other on the album, shifting from ever changing blues to an almost thrash sound with pure ease and then back to the blues with the same ease. And with that we have reached The Age Of Boot Camp, the final song on this display of unrelenting sludge. Chugging guitars, long held power chords and grim vocals dominate what should be known as the epitaph of another great Eyehategod album.
Is this album what we expect of Eyehategod? Undoubtedly yes. Are we disappointed? Hell no!
Don’t be fooled they’ve been missed over the last fourteen years, but this album is so much more than nostalgia; it is instead a testament to what a great underground band can achieve with time and talent.
Eyehategod have been called legends and genre defining over the past twenty-five years, this album only solidifies that notion. They may not be the biggest band in the world, but by God the fans will get what they want.