(Metal Blade Records)
I was thrilled to hear Metal Blade signed these stoner/sludge/doom legends. Hopefully, this security and echelon gets Sourvein the exposure and accolades which the band deserves. Aquatic Occult is a fine example of the sweaty riffs which T-Roy Medlin has been peddling for years. Twenty years, to be precise. Sourvein is an institution, technically this band has housed Jimmy Bowers in NOLA (Eyehategod, Down, Superjoint, Crowbar, COC). The band moved a few times to LA, NYC, and NC, grabbing many legendary names; Henry Vazquez of Saint Vitus and Spirit Caravan, Liz Buckingham of Electric Wizard and 13, and the living myth, Dixie Dave of Buzzoven, Weedeater, and Bongzilla. Many others have spent time in this band, but those names should give you a hint of the pedigree. Splits with Graves At Sea, Coffins, Church of Misery and Buzzoven ain’t too shabby either. Sourvein have delivered four full lengths, enduring many hardships in sixteen years. Their self-titled debut was in 2000. Releases like Ghetto Angel, Black Fangs, Imperial Bastard and Will to Mangle are testament to T-Roy’s credit, endurance, and skills. Resettled in his home of coastal North Carolina, Medlin drops an ode to the maritime; its seduction and perils.
Slow and sludge-drenched, Aquatic Occult does go against the grain with shorter than expected tracks. Most of these fourteen songs stay under three or four minutes. That length still allows the listener to meander through thick guitars and ensnaring rhythms. And with fourteen tracks, we get a variety that entertains with more spice and nuances than most doom bands. “Mermaids” conjure a lighter feel with a swaying single guitar line. While the following, “Urchins” is a wild, fiery thick riff with screamed harsh vocals.
Aquatic Occult was produced by NC’s Mike Dean of C.O.C. The grit and experience of two close friends and musical peers exposes a brilliant sound. Slow and captivating, elusive tracks like the four minute “High Tide” push the speakers to their capacity. The guitar’s screeching and the vocal’s desperation reel in the listener. Despite the rotation of heavy hitting bassists. They never get lost in the shuffle of the mix. Aquatic is no exception and conjures up doom’s greatest weapon. The winding of slow riffs and drums are exemplified on the penultimate track, “Choral Bones”. While the last track embraces a more jam feel with an organ bouncing on the song.
T-Roy’s focus and intensity is better than ever here. He finally has a megaphone for his distinct voice. Try to grab it on clear blue vinyl if you can for the full effect.
READ the wild and stunning tale of T-Roy, much in his own words, here. (Hutch)
RIYL: Acid King, Church of Misery, High on Fire, Yob, Saint Vitus