Undergroove Records, May 2015
‘Defacer’ is a mighty battering ram of an album – it’ll smash your day to pieces. Delightfully downtrodden and unrelentingly heavy, sludge maestros Hogslayer revel and writhe in their own personal hell (aka Cardiff) and their pain is our gain.
The songs on the band’s second full-length release are punchy, original, purposeful and scalpel-sharp. We’re not talking about Katy Perry-style catchiness here, but there is a degree of accessibility that allows ‘Defacer’ to burrow into the warm folds of your brain and make itself at home there. The tracks do not outstay their welcome and are crafted into neat, five-minute fireworks – without losing any of their ferocity.
Let’s face it, sludge can be a little tedious. In the wrong hands, this subtle art form can morph into a one-idea borefest of lifeless misery. In the hands of experts such as Hogslayer, though, sludge is an immensely powerful weapon. In fact, this Welsh quintet take the staples of this bone-crushing genre (long, drawn-out riffs that’d cripple a horny hippo and raw, raging vocals that take you to the darkest of dark places) and make it all seem kind of… fun.
Shuddering, reverb-bathed guitars obliterate everything in their path, while Lord Bastard’s vocals are sheer, manic despair and the production seems intent on destroying your speakers with bottom-end heaviness. Take Khanate and Eyehategod and sprinkle on some grey Welsh drizzle and this is the dire consequence. ‘Defacer’ should come with a health warning.