Roareth - Acts I-VI
The Maple Forum
Sludge/Drone Metal
1 songs (45:42)
Release year: 2010
Roareth, The Maple Forum
Reviewed by Khelek

Roareth is a little-known band from the U.S. that is trying to get their vision of sludge metal out there to the masses. The format is different than most albums, with all six songs or "acts" combined into one 45 minute long track. Some of the parts of this album are quite distinct, while others blend together so that you're not really sure where one ends and another begins. Why these aren't broken into different songs isn’t really clear to me, perhaps the band felt that it would be more immersive without the hard cuts in there. While I don't think the band has accomplished this goal of a theatrical piece that flows together, there is some interesting material here.

These guys are really trying to paint a bigger picture here, and right from the start this album has a sort of horror theme running through it. The opening, while not interesting musically, sets a good tone for the album with tense samples that ultimately lead into the band's first "act" of the album, letting loose some big, heavy riffs and deep growls. It sounds like pretty standard sludge metal to me, albeit quite dark, and this continues as the pace picks up a few minutes into the song. The tempo continues changing throughout this song, even calming from time to time with clean electric guitar work before chugging on with more big riffs. The first act ends around 8 minutes in and the next one opens with single, distorted guitar notes as the lead. It doesn't have the same foreboding type of sound at first, though the vocals add some of this dark feeling. So far the problem is that I haven’t really heard anything interesting. When I listen to sludge I need something more than just simple guitar riffs layered over each other and a few tempo changes. While I can get down with minimalism, this album is in danger of being overly simplistic. The riffs here are not particularly memorable, but if drone is your thing then you probably don't care. Sometimes it can get a little monotonous, though they do try to throw more than one variation in. The vocals also tend to blend with the music pretty well, though they can get lost in the heavier parts.

If slow, repetitive sludge is your thing, you may want to check this out, but don't expect anything brilliant. While this album does have some memorable parts, for the most part it's too repetitive and dull to listen to more than 5 minutes or so, much less the whole thing. There are subtle changes between the different acts, though for the most part we're talking about slow, heavy electric guitar and barely-decipherable growled vocals. There is some interesting atmospheric stuff about half an hour into the album, which uses clean electric guitar and bass to create a serene, dark atmosphere. It's an extended instrumental section that does things right. The album finishes out in this manner, and it's actually really relaxing to listen to. I would really like to hear an entire album in this style. So, while they can be boring at times, Roareth show that they do in fact know how to create a convincing musical atmosphere. If they got a bit more creative with their brand of sludgy minimalism, I believe they could create a really interesting album.

Killing Songs :
The last ten minutes of the album are quite good
Khelek quoted 68 / 100
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