Sourvein – Black Fangs

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Sourvein
Black Fangs
Candlelight


2011 has thus far been a cracking year for sludge metal, particularly when acts like Crowbar and Weedeater are pumping out quality records and the likes of Eyehategod are destroying venues all over the shop. Hence, Sourvein’s return is all too welcoming if southern-fried sludge is your thing.
Sourvein know too well the power of the riff, hence the production on ‘Black Fangs’ places the guitar (provided here by James Haun) to the fore. Bassist Ahmasi O’Daniel and drummer Jeffrie Moen provide capable amounts of groove and crash to back up those riffs, while vocalist T-Roy Medlin stays just below the top of the mix. As always, he sounds like a ravenous, unhinged beast trying to break out of a cage. Overall, the album sounds gritty throughout the furious hateful onslaught and that’s the way it should be.
The majority of the album, for me, is decent sludge metal – nothing over the top in terms of something memorable or something to force into that slow nodding jam; but there are some killer tracks to be found; opener ‘Fangs’ begins with some trademark sludge feedback, before launching into the main riff. Vocalist T-Roy Medlin roars the place down, and if that transition into the second riff is as devastating live as it on this record, there’ll be a few people black and blue in the pit.  Outstanding.
That’s a knack that Sourvein, whatever the line-up, have down to a fine art, and although not every song on ‘Black Fangs’ stands out to memory, the casual ease with which they seemingly conjure with riffs is evident – ‘Nighteyes’ builds the pressure and releases it with atomic power, a dirge that constricts and suffocates in equal measure; similarly, ‘Gemini’ has this effect later in the album – although it’s rather more like getting clubbed round the head as they shift gears again part way through the song. There’s a couple of faster numbers too – ‘Gasp!’ and ‘Nomadic’, the latter of which giving a nod to 70’s riffage, certainly one of the album’s highlights.
It’s an album reeking with whiskey-drenched bile, filthy riffs and a sonic pulverization that will resonate for some time. It won’t quite top my personal list of sludge highlights in 2011, although I’ll keep that close to my chest for now. But I certainly enjoyed this record and you should too. ‘Black Fangs’ is an excellent return from these North Carolinans.
Peter Clegg

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