The debut from Maryland based blackened grinders Sloth Herder is just what you’d expect it to be: raw, dirty and positively unhinged. Though it wouldn’t be too out of character for me to say that there are some definitely elements of sludge here and there, sparsed out in between furious bouts of pulsating black metal and punishing grind. The record only comes in at about thirty-five minutes, but it feels longer due to the number of different layers explored within the performance. Some of these include minature experiments with riff compositions that sound not unlike pieces sampled from a horror soundtrack, or hints of proggy death that as you could only expect; beef up the overall performance to near gargantuan levels of quality. Me and grind haven’t always seen eye to eye, mostly because much of it that I’ve heard comes off very basic (sans some amazing grind acts that manage to stick out from the pack every now and then) and there are very few approaches to this genre that don’t go in one ear and out the other. Sure, it can be done justice; but it often just comes off as a bunch of loud and unruly noise with no real pattern other than to follow punk and death metal structures up until the end of an album. Minus a small exception, most grind records go in and out sounding like the same song. That’s why I’m thankful for bands like Anaal Nathrakh and Sloth Herder, which challenge my thoughts on grind and allow me to experience the genre in a new and more intelligent manner.
What that basically means, is that you are actually getting fine craftsmanship here and it’s at such a refined level that I daresay Sloth Herder are one of the best grindcore influenced outlets that I’ve heard in recent memory. They don’t stick to a common structure, which doesn’t just sound good on the album; it will also sound good on the stage. I don’t think listeners will be bored of a performance where each song carries a different vibe as the last, whether that be one of the album’s many pulverisers or one of it’s few acoustic interludes. There are even some nodes to Satyricon and Goatwhore here, but none so much in the lieu of Pantera worship. These gentlemen are simply writing more technically calbrated riffs that sometimes feel like they have bits of latter-era Death, Atheist and early Cynic rumbling about within the Norwegian permafrost which serves as a foggy overtone for the record’s atmosphere. Lyrically, I can’t discern anything but it doesn’t really matter to me with a listen as memorable and remarkable as this one is.
It may be overstepping my boundaries a little to say that No Pity, No Sunrise is more vehement and unbridled than quite a few of the black metal records I’ve heard as of late, and I think that’s due to the grind sensibilities, which just make everything just a tad bit weightier. Sloth Herder is definitely the kind of band that that one heavy metal elitist in your group will be championing as the best thing since sliced bread and the wheel, but they are literally so memorable a band that any sort of exposure they can get (beyond that one guy in the faded out Bathory tee) will do them justice. I heard that Wormrot dropped out of MDF this year, so considering the fact that these guys more or less live in the area, they deserve a slot on the bill (if they aren’t on there already – some logos are very difficult to read on that flyer, it looks like someone spilled jam all over it for the most part) performing with greats that they can surely aspire to. It’s safe to say that Sloth Herder are the next big thing in grind, especially when it melds in with black metal, prog, technicality and eerie little atmospheres. I’d definitely pay to see them. This has got to be electrifying when performed right in front of your face, so jump on the chance to see them perform if you get it.
Though just in case you can’t see the band live, the record will have dropped as of this review and you can pick it up for a mere five bones. Not bad at all for what so far has been one of my favorite listens of the year. No Pity, No Sunrise is the kind of record that you’ll need to listen to more than once to fully comprehend it, and with such exhilarating compositions, you won’t be able to help yourself once you’ve hit play the first time through. Again, the record comes off much longer than it actually is and has the amazing power to musically slow down time. Very few albums can do this and only the best stick with you. As far as I’m concerned, it’s time to start giving these guys some publicity in the form of major articles and possibly even some magazine covers. I think Sloth Herder are the next big thing, and it’s about time that they were recognized.