Tape Review: Religious Observance – Utter Discomfort 8.0 (Sludge)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Religious Observance
  • Utter Discomfort
  • Sludge/Noise/Doom
  • Melbourne, Victoria
  • December 7, 2018
  • 8/10

I’ve said it a million times and I’ll say it again, the Aussie underground has some of the best sludge bands in the world. We add sludge to everything, like it’s fucking tomato sauce, because it’s the best genre ever. Whether it’s black metal, death metal or doom metal you bet we’ll sludge it up and make it sound as strange as possible.

Artwork by James Moorcroft

Religious Observance is more pure in their take on sludge, blending it into a noisey kind of doom that often feels like a hardcore album, particularly the vocals. Competing well with American sludge heavy hitters like Body Void or Sunrot. It’s essentially a supergroup if you look at the credits, even on the recording side of things. The band formed by members of sludge group She Beast and noise group Colostomy Baguette?.

The result is a really chunky album that puts all its weight on you in the most abrasive way possible, it just holds your whole body down and keeps pummeling for 5 mostly long tracks. Even at it’s chillest there’s at least a discomforting sample being played over slow dirging riffs. The vocals are my favorite part of the album, they can come into any of the tracks no matter what the soundscape is and manage to add something worthwhile.

The main style of screaming is somewhere between black metal and hardcore that doesn’t sound too high or low, it’s in the middle but exuding a lot force behind it. There are also the occasional grugle guttural vocals thrown in for flair. This is a really talented vocalist that clearly has experience in yelling over dark as fuck music. 

I just want to take a moment to appreciate the stage names these people have chosen. It always cracks me up when Aussie’s take on personas because it’s never without humor.

X – Noise

Wayniac – Vocals

The Void – Bass/Vocals

Gnome Lord – Drums

Gooch – Guitar

Filth Bucket – Guitar

Religious Observance: Bandcamp / Facebook / Instagram

Jason Fuller did the recording and mixing on this one and he is responsible for a lot of great modern sludge and grind adjacent releases including bands like Carcinoid, Blunt Shovel, King Parrot, Lucifungus, Mammoth Mammoth and just so much more. He’s had his hand in a lot of pots and most of them are rad, like the most recent Abu Ghraib album which is incredible.

If you go through that link and check out most of the bands he is involved in, you will have gone through a great Aussie metal tour and come out of it with a few new fandoms. There’s a lot of history in Fullers work and it has clearly done wonders here on Utter Discomfort where the doom and noise elements come together in a coherent way. 

This cassette has very few left at the time of writing this and appears to be a one off from a label that is inactive so I’d get on one if you can. The album cover stands out more than the average underground release, it sits confident and menacing in the middle of the black background.

It’s a complete tape.

8/10


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