17th February 2017 – Black Bow Records
02. Kult Warrior
04. Cruel Road
There’s always space in the world for more sweet, sweet sludge. A band featuring members from Bast, Minoa and Silent Front should assuage anyone in a huff over the “supergroup” tag, and so it should; even without reference to the strength of their collective back catalogue, with such a wide pool of influences it’s unlikely that Deadwound were gonna sound anything approaching straightforward.
Identity Shapes is five tracks of hardcore-informed sludge. From the lumber of “Crucifixed” to the feral roar of “Babylon“, the influence shines through, and though the release is dynamic and interesting it never deviates much from an established sludge/hardcore framework. However, it’s hard to judge this record for being generic even if some if its movements sound familiar; the songs are crammed with ideas, shifting into new sections with skill and rarely dropping momentum. Particularly solid moments are the volatile “Witch” and the gangly “Kult Warrior“; the latter’s play between caustic howls and mighty, distinctive sludge riffs is probably Deadwound’s strongest statement of intent.
The EP is dynamic and varied; there’s a strong inclination towards maintaining power and momentum throughout the generally pacey tracks. The material is arranged with various sections to showcase ideas and influences; a songwriting philosophy that leans in this direction keeps the material fresh; this permits them to tread some familiar ground without sounding trite.
Identity Shapes will appeal to sludge fans who’re unmoved by straight-up hardcore but who acknowledge the links between genres. There’s plenty on the record to appeal to both camps and beyond; noise fans will enjoy some flourishes on “Crucifixed” and frostbitten black metallers may warm to “Witch“. You can hear the Bast influence pretty clearly in the guitar sound; being one of the finest UK weird-sludge acts, it’s great to see some of their direct influence applied to hardcore.
A solid offering with promise. Deadwound may not have a markedly fresh sound but within their framework they’ve crafted some compelling, effectively belligerent material. With the space of a longer release there’d plenty of room for expansion. Overall there’s a sense of them cutting their teeth on familiar meat. With a wide pool of influence, their larders are well-stocked.
What a gross thing to type. Anyway, this EP is a winner.