Lumbar - The First and Last Days of Unwelcome
Southern Lord
Sludge/Doom Metal
7 songs (24:36)
Release year: 2013
Southern Lord
Reviewed by Neill

I remember being on Facebook, and seeing post made on the YOB page that Mike was going to be doing vocals in a new band, called Lumbar along with Tad Doyle and Aaron Edge from Brothers of the Sonic Cloth among other bands. To say I was excited was an understatement. I could only imagine how this would sound. I couldn't wait until the album got released, and as soon as I saw this available to review I had to jump on it.

I'm pretty sure anyone reading this review knows about the history of the band, and Aaron's health situation. I won't go into the details behind it, but if anything good can be said about that horrible situation, it's this record. The album is almost exactly what I would have expected, except the short run time.

Let me just get the "bad" out of the way first. Bad needs to be in quotes because it's very subjective. The album itself is one of the shortest I've heard in ages that was not an EP. At a little less than 25 minutes, the album seems to barley get going and it's over. Some may have a problem with this. I do believe in quality over quantity, which this album does have in spades, but 25 minutes for a full length album is still hard to get my mind around. Again, a very subjective issue, as I'm sure most people don't mind one bit, but I do feel it constricts the songs slightly, and I do think more could have been done on this album than there was.

With that out of the way, let's focus on the actual album. As I mentioned earlier, the quality on this album is up there among the best of the year. Day One starts the album off with a sample and some industrial noises/sounds playing underneath before the music starts in. As soon as the music kicks in, and Mike's vocals begin wailing, you know you're in for a treat. Being that YOB is among one of my favorite bands, getting to review an album with Mike on it is an honor. The music is sludgy as expected, and just pours slowly out of the speakers. The deep tone of the bass and guitars are just amazing. The vocals are performed with such emotion and passion. One thing I want to mention ( to anyone who has not been on the bands Facebook page) is that the drums were actually from a different recoding. Aaron took drum tracks he had done from another recording, mixed them around and pieced them together for this record, then writing all the riffs to accompany those drum tracks. Simply amazing.

Most of the time the music crawls along and quakes the ground beneath you, but there are a few moment of some "faster" elements. Never losing the heaviness or overall sound, these moments do help to break up the songs a bit, so it's not the same sound the entire way through. Further, as mentioned, the vocals are very well done. From the wails, to screams and gruff sounds, everything fits the music perfectly, and again, the emotion is tangible and you feel like you're going on this incredible (albeit tragic) journey the album is based around. You can feel the desperation, the anger and anguish, and honestly, I am glad for that. I hesitate to use the word "relies," but this album would obviously not exist had certain situations been different. I appreciate the emotion put into this album, and you can tell this was, to an extent anyway, a very cathartic piece of work.

I feel bad having to put a score on this album. Such an emotional piece of work, and something so personal to the artists involved. However, I will say this, the album is among my favorites of the year. In a Year where Windhand had not made a new record, this would be my top album. As it is, this is an amazing doom/sludge record, and an incredible metal album. I would highly, highly, recommend everyone to check this out. The work involved, the performances, the emotion, the story, everything about this record comes together to create a cathartic experience, and one of the most enjoyable listens from this year. Please support this album by listening at the bandcamp page.

Killing Songs :
Day 1, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7
Neill quoted 90 / 100
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