Bastard Of The Skies - Ichor! Ichor!

Hailing from Blackburn in the UK, Bastard Of The Skies seem to be injecting more filth into their sound with every recording they do. From the first demo in 2007, then to the debut full length album in 2008 to this new album "Ichor Ichor", the band keep pushing their sound and style to new heights of grittiness. This might have something to do with numerous line-up changes and instrument swapping that has taken place. The latest changes is bass player Rob Beesley has taken on the second guitar role while the bass is now played by Claire Horrocks. Drummer Craig Hetherington has been replaced by Matt Aldred, these changes within the ranks haven't hurt the band, in fact it seems to have injected a even more filthier edge to the thunderous noise they create. The sound of Bastard Of The Skies is a interesting one, too fast paced to be Doom Metal and yet they have a very Doomy sound while at the same time they sound too metallic and punky at times to be called sludge even though the closet tag you can put on them is "Sludge Metal". If you are confused, just put this in your CD player and any doubts are soon blown away by the sheer dynamics of the pulverizing attack this band has.

Within the time the short, intense opening track "Just A Horse" has to deliver its destructive forces, its obvious "Bastards Of The Skies" are intent on musical destruction. Riffs come at you fast and thick while the rest of the band pummels along in unison, this is the kind of track where you have to hit the repeat button just to take it all in one more time to hear everything. "Can You Fly Bobby" slows things down to a gritty Doom Metal slog fest while still played with the intensity of a Sludge meets Thrash Metal hybrid band. The nearest reference point may be High On Fire but "Bastards" does it with a kind of garage-rock type of metallic thrash and bash approach which sounds more like a live recording than its does a studio take. With the next track "Tree Of Woe" on the other hand, they bring out some dirty, Stoner Doom riffage that has a underlying ominous vibe. Creeping with seething intensity, the track has some unusual twists and turns that you don't expect to hear the first time around. Like all the songs on the album, there is melodic grooves hidden under the over-powering guitar sound and once they are firmly stuck in your mind, you will re-visit them time and time again.

One of the strongest grooves shows up on "A Legendary Temper" but its also full of memorable hooks but played at mid-tempo speed. The band makes it sound so easy that they seem to be in total cruise mode when they do it like this. If there is a blueprint for the sound of the band it is best summed up by a tune like "A Legendary Temper". If that track didn't give you the musical buzz you were looking for then the next track will, its called "Evensong" and its a major highlight of the disc. Plenty of doom riffage on display here which is all deliver to your ears in extremely heavy weight fashion. This type of musical assault is made even more monstrous by shifting genres all in the one song, keeping you guessing as to where the song will go next. At this stage of the album, song lengths get longer and tunes become even more varied and unique. "Lariat" echoes the best work from High On Fire without copying anything and i doubt if Matt Pike could come up anything this varied and multi-dimensional. "Lariat" may not be the best track on the album but its still a great track in its own right with more unpredictable twists and turns.

"Splendour! Splendour!" is a lengthy riff workout that begins and ends in pretty calm fashion for this band anyway but the bulk of the song bashes away and builds and moves mountains with the force of a 1000 rhinos. Its a pounding, apocalyptic, churning doom / sludge feast of monster riffs and its not pretty, this is dirty, grime swamp rock all the way. "Skies of the Bastard" contains mutated, seriously disturbed riffing with the hoarse, bellowing angry vocals creating a atmosphere that might be too unsettling for sensitive listeners. Don't go hitting eject just yet though for there is a hidden track which i just found out is called "Debbie Rochon", it features more of the weird and wonderfully disturbed vocals and sick, twisting guitar licks which at times sound like a kind of industrial Doom Metal. Mastered by James Plotkin, "Ichor Ichor" shows the band is still growing and getting better and more intense at delivering quality Sludge Metal. I don't really see how they can get any better than this to be honest, this is a killer disc from start to finish that sounds more American than it does British. Bastards Of The Skies can now rest knowing that they have risen to the top of the pack of Sludge Metal bands and there seems to be millions of those right now. Where they go from here is anybody's guess but for now i put them in the top five Sludge groups in the world. They have created a timeless, musical benchmark for Sludge Metal bands everywhere. Listen to Bastards Of The Skies people and hear how its done. Pulverizing goodness.

1. Just A Horse
2. Can You Fly Bobby?
3. Tree Of Woe
4. A Legendary Temper
5. Evensong
6. Lariat
7. Splendour! Splendour!
8. Skies Of The Bastard

Mother Should Know Records
Reviewer: Ed
May 19, 2010

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