REVIEW: NEST - Metempsychosis (Sludgelord Records)

Relatively new, Sludgelord Records has been quite successful when it comes to it's pick of representative bands - most likely due to Sludgelord's long history as an online webzine. They've certainly taken their passion to the next level, using their knowledge to pluck the best of the best from the dankest (and I mean dank in the traditional sense) sub-genre there is: sludge metal. It's a sub-genre I've only rarely attributed to bands like Buzzoven, only because it's never really rose to level where I could take it as more then a curiosity. Now I'm not so sure, first there was Coffin Torture - now NEST? Finally, I feel like maybe sludge might be coming into formation as a clearly defined thing thanks to both this label and these bands (so Wikipedia can't sit there telling me that Alice in Chains and the Melvins are sludge anymore. Seriously, don't ever use Wikipedia for metal).

To me, NEST is a whole different breed then most of the genuine sludge I've ever come across. Metempsychosis is a thunderous, angry, depressive, and emotional journey expressed through the most dire way possible. Yeah, there is nothing clean or hopeful here - it's a human hell and it feels like hell here. But what makes it a little different, especially, is the more brief and metallic approach NEST takes. It's very close to the sort of music you'd hear from the likes of DIY hardcore, only a bit slower and bit... blacker? The last third of 'Gallows of Forever' and the track 'From Darkness In Me, Illuminate' are probably the best examples of this.

Unusually, NEST does not dwell on it's tracks or rely on long drawn out sections; songs generally don't outstay their welcome, or stay too far past the 5 minute mark aside from Metempsychosis's nearly 10 minute finale. It was actually surprising to me, that these songs could be so brief but maintain their heaviness - as I've long attributed sonic 'heaviness' to slow bass-laden riffs (I'm sure I'm not the only one).

Thankfully, the music is just as heavy as promised, but the doom-like influence I've come to expect from the genre is down played to great effect - almost in an effort to show that NEST is capable of far more then that, and will offer more then that down the road. It leaves a lot of room, I think for a future exploration of sound - which is something I really like. And, lends to a whole lot of variation within the short amount of time that Metempsychosis runs. No long drawn out introductions either, which is somewhat a staple of sludge.

NEST is a staple of what sludge metal truly is and what it can truly be. In a time where bands, projects, and groups seem to skirt every sub-genre and definition seems to be at a minimum, bands like this need to exist. And, even if you aren't one who finds Metempsychosis particularly important as I do, it's still a damn fine record.

-KEITH, THE ODD-

Make sure to check out NEST's Facebook for updates and more about Metempsychosis here. And, Sludgelord Records for future releases and updates here.