Mike McGrath-Bryan looks at Irish metal’s latest offering
Irish metal is brilliant. You know this. Oftentimes, however, it can get lost in its obsession with tradition and orthodoxy, and every so often a release comes along that takes that oeuvre and gives it a good shake. Dublin black-metal outfit (don’t call them punks!) Sodb (pronounced Sod-uv) have given us such an effort, with a debut demo that takes the existing wisdom of the kvlt mire and bends it to their will, and on solid-black cassette through metal record shop Into the Void’s new in-house label for that matter too.
Eschewing the genre’s penchant for thin production with buoyantly thick tones on all instruments, it resonates unlike anything of its kind, the antithesis to an oftentimes stifling precedent. Deep, dub-like bass runs underneath the serpentine title track, shifting from fierce, dissonant necro to psychedelia to metal bombast and back, with lyrical flourishes as Gaeilge. Aigre Re creeps and stalks at its own pace, a marathon against the temptation to kick into higher gear that tests the listener’s patience before setting off into an old-fashioned galloping metal tempo. Tethered builds from a sorrowful opening noodling to a clatterslap trundle that keeps the affair in lower gear, opting for the slow build before bursting into blastbeats that miraculously sit wonderfully low in the mix, doing their job while not going of their way to keep the listener’s attention away from the song. Respectful kowtows to black metal’s past are made with Old and Withered Form’s intro, a tape-thin wall of sound giving way to frantic blasts and inestimably bleak riffs.
This is fresh. Genuinely original, bringing to mind a more sedate and pragmatic companion to Liturgy’s sun-worshipping heroics. This is defiant of genre limitations and the ridiculous conventions of metal’s multifarious factions and subgenres, and is it ever better off for it.