(Black Bow Records)
The premier EP from blackened hardcore/sludge outfit Deadwound, Identity Shapes delivers a barebones package that churns with thickness. Like its title, the music found here comes in various forms. What it pulls off in its short run time is not just the balance in tones and sounds, but also combining its elements into one. Some songs make for dirty and fast hitting hardcore material, while some songs come off much slower and equipped with a blackened sludge atmosphere.
“Crucifixed” is an example of keeping things simple, maintaining a steady and slick groove. Only at the end do things pick up in speed, just to then settle down and give way to “Kult Warrior”. This is when we get to experience that blackened sludge atmosphere, as the track rises with a vibrant groove, making way for a thicker sound in guitar. Towards the end of the song, drums kick up significantly and introduce a hardcore beat-down. These multiple styles jump into each other, and are able to sound well together (and never jarring).
Deviating from the heavier sound and taking on a more doom vibe comes “Witch”. Progression is simple and makes for plain rhythm and structure. “Cruel Road” shifts back into gear with the heftier elements and flies forward. Last but not least we find “Babylon” playing to the same ideas as in “Kult Warrior”, but able to set itself apart rather than be a copycat. Leaning towards more atmosphere and weight in aura, the track still contains a prominent use of drums, and solid bright guitar moments.
Other than the underlining tones of sludge, Deadwound’s Identity Shapes has no solid figure to it. This is an EP that contains not just good variety, but great craftsmanship. With stand-alone fast paced hardcore and atmospheric sludge, there’s plenty to keep one hooked on each jam. Great use of balance, shifting tones and speed, make Identity Shapes an indicator for promising work to come from Deadwound.