Faces of the Bog - Ego Death
Self Release
Progressive Sludge
7 songs (51' 23")
Release year: 2016
Reviewed by Andy

Last year, Chicago's Faces of the Bog joined an thriving local scene of metal experimentalists, contributing a mystical but abrasive progressive-sludge. Ego Death succeeds in weaving avant-garde themes into a doomy sonic backdrop that recalls the heaviest moments of early-90s grunge. While complex, there's nothing delicate about the downtempo grinds and wailing feedback of the majority of the tracks.

The guitars are low and slam like freight cars into Danny Garcia's drums, which, along with the bass, are turned up higher in the mix than usual, a method that gives more percussive snap to the albums. Think of early Soundgarden's leviathan guitar riffs, but with more psychedelic noise on top. The pacing of the music, though slow, has a brooding menace to it, the sullen crunching of the rhythm guitars murkily wandering beneath howling feedback solos. When the vocals aren't grating out a tortured sound to rival the guitars, they're dim and grey, a subdued monotony of despair.

The title track partakes of this sort of thing too, though venturing further at the end into psychedelic territory with an overdubbed wah-wah bass solo. Blue Lotus takes a more ethereal tack, trippy guitar solos coiling lazily around the clean portions, which include the most sharply defined vocals on the album, broken up periodically by crushing but muted sludge riffing. This one, and Drifter in the Abyss, the one that sparked my comparison to Soundgarden's sound, make Ego Death one of last year's better progressive sludge albums, and start Faces of the Bog's existence on a sound footing.

Bandcamp: https://facesofthebog.bandcamp.com/album/ego-death.

Killing Songs :
Blue Lotus, Drifter in the Abyss
Andy quoted 81 / 100
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