|Cultural origins||Mid-late 1980s Washington State, United States|
Sludge metal (also known as sludge or sludge doom) is a genre of heavy metal music that originated through combining elements of doom metal and hardcore punk. It is typically harsh and abrasive, often featuring shouted vocals, heavily distorted instruments and sharply contrasting tempos. The Melvins from the US state of Washington produced the first sludge metal albums in the mid-late 1980s.
The key characteristics of both sludge and doom metal are a slow tempo combined with down-tuned, heavily-distorted guitars to deliver the heaviest feel that is possible. The drummer must be able to lead the band through the slow parts of a piece with an accurate time feel, which is much harder to achieve when compared with playing faster pieces.Sludge metal includes sections of the aggression, shouted vocals and occasional fast tempos of hardcore punk.
As The New York Times wrote on The Melvins, "The shorthand term for the kind of rock descending from early Black Sabbath and late Black Flag is sludge, because it's so slow and dense."According to Metal Hammer , sludge metal "[s]pawned from a messy collision of Black Sabbath's downcast metal, Black Flag's tortured hardcore and the sub/dom grind of early Swans, shaken up with lashings of cheap whisky and bad pharmaceuticals". Mike IX Williams, vocalist for Eyehategod, suggests that "the moniker of sludge apparently has to do with the slowness, the dirtiness, the filth and general feel of decadence the tunes convey".
Due to the similarities between sludge and stoner metal, there is often a crossover between the two genres,but sludge metal generally avoids stoner metal's usage of psychedelia.
In the early 1980s, the Seattle branch of the indie movement was influenced by punk rock, however it removed its speed and its structure and added elements of metal. The Melvins slowed down punk rock to develop their own slow, heavy, sludgy sound.In 1984, the punk rock band Black Flag went visiting small towns across the US to bring punk to the more remote parts of the country. By this time their music had become slow and sludgy, less like the Sex Pistols and more like Black Sabbath. Krist Novoselic (later the bass player with Nirvana) recalls going along with the Melvins to see one of these shows, after which the Melvins front man Buzz Osborne began writing "slow and heavy riffs" to form a dirge–like music that was the beginning of northwest grunge. In the remoteness of Montesano, Washington, the Melvins were able to experiment without fear of rejection but also to reach an audience and interact with other bands. Initially, the Melvins played fast hardcore punk, and when other bands were doing the same they slowed down as much as they could and added heavy metal into their mix.
The Melvins' Six Songs (1986) is regarded as the first sludge album,with Gluey Porch Treatments (1987) regarded as the first post-punk sludge album. The hardcore punk spasms that the Melvins mixed into the dirge-like songs of Gluey Porch Treatments provides one of the key differences that distinguishes sludge from doom metal. At this time, the band was also key in the development of the Washington grunge scene. The Nirvana single record "Love Buzz/Big Cheese" (1988) was described by their record label Sub Pop as "heavy pop sludge". The Seattle music author and journalist Gillian G. Gaar writes that Nirvana's first studio album Bleach (1989) "does have its share – some would say more than its share – of dirty sludge".
The American music author and journalist Michael Azerrad described the short-lived Seattle band Blood Circus (1988) as a sludge metal band,with rock journalist Ned Raggett writing in AllMusic describing the band's music as "rough and ready, sludgy guitar rock with a bad attitude". Examples of crossover tracks between sludge and grunge include Soundgarden's "Slaves & Bulldozers" (1991) and Alice in Chains' "Sludge Factory" (1995). Soundgarden is described as having demonstrated both the good and bad aspects of fusing punk and sludge metal.
According to vocalist Phil Anselmo:
Back in those days, everything in the underground was fast, fast, fast. It was the rule of the day...But when the Melvins came out with their first record, Gluey Porch Treatments, it really broke the mold, especially in New Orleans. People began to appreciate playing slower.
Key bands in the development of sludge metal include Acid Bath, Buzzoven, Corrupted, Crowbar, Down, Eyehategod, and Grief in addition to the Melvins.By the late 1990s, small sludge scenes could be found across many countries.
By the early 2000s, sludge metal had formed cross-over works with stoner metal. Examples of cross-over tracks between sludge and stoner metal include Bongzilla – Gateway (2002) and High on Fire – The Yeti (2002).
Eyehategod formed in Harvey, Louisiana, in 1988 and is credited with originating a new style - New Orleans hardcore-edged sludge.Another point of view is that New Orleans was the birthplace of the sludgecore movement, with Eyehategod being given the most credit for it. Sludgecore combines sludge metal with hardcore punk, and possesses a slow pace, a low guitar tuning, and a grinding dirge-like feel. Bands regarded as sludgecore include Acid Bath, Eyehategod, and Soilent Green, and all three formed in Louisiana. Crowbar formed in 1991 and mixed "detuned, lethargic sludged-out metal with hardcore and southern elements". According to rock journalist Steve Huey writing in AllMusic, Eyehategod was a sludge metal band that became part of the "Southern sludgecore scene". This scene also included Crowbar and Down, with all three bands being influenced by Black Flag, Black Sabbath, and the Melvins. Some of these bands incorporated Southern rock influences.
Eyehategod's debut album In the Name of Suffering includes slow-paced songs similar to early Melvins, but contains a few fast-tempo hardcore punk passages.The guitars (electric guitar and bass guitar) are often played with large amounts of feedback. Vocals are usually shouted or screamed. The lyrics of Crowbar are generally pessimistic in nature. Buzzoven lyrics concerning drug abuse, and Acid Bath concerning rape, abortion, death, and self-loathing can be found.
Grunge is an alternative rock genre and subculture that emerged during the mid-1980s in the American Pacific Northwest state of Washington, particularly in Seattle and nearby towns. Grunge fuses elements of punk rock and heavy metal, featuring the distorted electric guitar sound used in both genres, although some bands performed with more emphasis on one or the other. Like these genres, grunge typically uses electric guitar, bass guitar, drums and vocals. Grunge also incorporates influences from indie rock bands such as Sonic Youth. Lyrics are typically angst-filled and introspective, often addressing themes such as social alienation, self-doubt, abuse, neglect, betrayal, social and emotional isolation, psychological trauma and a desire for freedom.
Hardcore punk is a punk rock music genre and subculture that originated in the late 1970s. It is generally faster, harder, and more aggressive than other forms of punk rock. Its roots can be traced to earlier punk scenes in San Francisco and Southern California which arose as a reaction against the still predominant hippie cultural climate of the time. It was also inspired by New York punk rock and early proto-punk. Hardcore punk generally disavows commercialism, the established music industry and "anything similar to the characteristics of mainstream rock" and often addresses social and political topics with "confrontational, politically-charged lyrics."
My War is the second studio album by American band Black Flag. It polarized fans on its release in 1984 on SST Records over the LP's B-side, on which the band added heavy metal influences by slowing the tempo and adding ponderous guitar riffs, despite the reputation the band had earned as leaders in fast hardcore punk on its first album, Damaged (1981). It is regarded as one of the first post-hardcore albums.
Melvins are an American rock band formed in 1983, in Montesano, Washington. Their early work was key to the development of both grunge and sludge metal. They have mostly performed as a trio but also in recent years as a quartet with either two drummers or two bassists. Since 1984, vocalist and guitarist Buzz Osborne and drummer Dale Crover have been constant members. The band was named after a supervisor at a Thriftway in Montesano, where Osborne also worked as a clerk; "Melvin" was disliked by other employees, and the band's members felt it to be an appropriately ridiculous name.
Alternative rock is a category of rock music that emerged from the independent music underground of the 1970s and became widely popular in the 1990s. "Alternative" refers to the genre's distinction from mainstream or commercial rock or pop music. The term's original meaning was broader, referring to a generation of musicians unified by their collective debt to either the musical style or simply the independent, DIY ethos of punk rock, which in the late 1970s laid the groundwork for alternative music.
Doom metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music that typically uses slower tempos, low-tuned guitars and a much "thicker" or "heavier" sound than other heavy metal genres. Both the music and the lyrics intend to evoke a sense of despair, dread, and impending doom. The genre is strongly influenced by the early work of Black Sabbath, who formed a prototype for doom metal. During the first half of the 1980s, a number of bands such as Witchfinder General from England, American bands Pentagram, Saint Vitus, the Obsessed, Trouble, and Cirith Ungol, and Swedish band Candlemass defined doom metal as a distinct genre.
A number of heavy metal genres have developed since the emergence of heavy metal during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At times heavy metal genres may overlap or are difficult to distinguish, but they can be identified by a number of traits. They may differ in terms of: instrumentation, tempo, song structure, vocal style, lyrics, guitar playing style, drumming style, and so on.
Extreme metal is a loosely defined umbrella term for a number of related heavy metal music subgenres that have developed since the early 1980s. It has been defined as a "cluster of metal subgenres characterized by sonic, verbal, and visual transgression".
Crowbar is an American sludge metal band formed in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1990. Through infusing a slow, low-keyed, brooding doom metal sound with the aggression of hardcore punk, they pioneered a style known as sludge metal – albeit frontman Kirk Windstein admitted a mild dislike to the term – alongside other bands of the New Orleans heavy metal scene such as Eyehategod, Soilent Green, Acid Bath, and Down.
Gluey Porch Treatments is the debut album by the Melvins. The album was released in 1987 through Alchemy Records. The original release was vinyl only. This album was later released on tape with the Six Songs EP through Boner Records and appears as bonus material on the CD version of Ozma. Tracks 18–29 can only be found on the 1999 Ipecac Recordings re-release; these songs are taken from a boombox demo.
Houdini is the fifth studio album by the Melvins, released in 1993 on Atlantic Records. The album was the band's major label debut after releasing their previous albums on the independent label Boner Records.
Roger "Buzz" Osborne, also known as King Buzzo, is an American guitarist, vocalist and songwriter. He is a founding member of the Melvins, as well as Fantômas and Venomous Concept.
Locust Abortion Technician is the third full-length studio album by American rock band Butthole Surfers, released in March 1987. All songs were written and produced by Butthole Surfers, except for "Kuntz", which was by Thai artists Phloen Phromdaen and Kong Katkamngae, who were originally uncredited for their work. The album was originally released as vinyl on Touch and Go, and was remastered to CD on Latino Buggerveil in 1999.
Post-metal is a style of music that is rooted in heavy metal but explores approaches beyond the genre's conventions. It emerged in the 1990s through the work of bands such as Neurosis and Godflesh who transformed metal texture through experimental composition. Associated with and inspired by post-rock and post-hardcore, the genre employs the darkness and intensity of extreme metal but emphasizes atmosphere, emotion, and even "revelation", drawing on a wide range of sources including ambient, noise, psychedelic, progressive, and classical music to develop an expansive but introspective sound. Post-metal songs are typically long, with loose and layered structures that discard the verse–chorus form in favor of crescendos and repeating themes. The sound centres on guitars and drums; any vocals are usually screamed or growled and resemble an additional instrument.
Stoner rock, also known as stoner metal or stoner doom, is a rock music fusion genre that combines elements of doom metal with psychedelic rock and acid rock. The genre emerged during the early 1990s and was pioneered foremost by Kyuss, and Sleep.
Sofa King Killer was an American sludge metal band from Akron, Ohio.
To Walk a Middle Course is the second studio album by American heavy metal band Kylesa. Released on March 22, 2005 by Prosthetic Records, it was produced by English record producer Alex Newport, who is known for his projects Fudge Tunnel and Nailbomb.
Deep Six is a 1986 compilation album featuring six Seattle-based rock bands. It was the first release by C/Z Records, with a catalogue number of CZ01 for 2,000 copies. The album was reissued as a joint C/Z Records/A&M Records release on April 5, 1994.
The Abominable Iron Sloth is an American sludge metal band from Sacramento, California. The band features vocalist/guitarist Justin Godfrey, guitarists Cayle Hunter and Jeff Irwin, bassist Mike Martin, and drummer Mitch Wheeler. They released their eponymous debut album through Goodfellow Records in early 2006. Their second album, The Id Will Overcome, was released in 2010.
…sounding like a cross between Sleep's drowsy, Black Sabbathy meanderings and Electric Wizard/Burning Witch-style gut-curdling, muddy sludge.
…elements of hardcore punk, psychedelic stoner rock, technical speed metal, and good old-fashioned Black Sabbath sludge appear in their music.