Sycomore – Bloodstone (album)

Release date: 31st January 2020 || Genre: Sludge metal|| Label: Argonauta Records

Where to start? There’s a lot to love about Sycomore. For starters, this is a very earthy band, with not many technological frills or embellishments. The whole album is about as pure as it gets in reliance on songwriting alone. This does lend a sort of grass roots, grungy feel, but this is certainly no Seattle sound blueprint. A better backdrop to have n mind would be the production values of Clutch, before everybody truly knew them. Plaster that over with some brutal, European filth, and you have a strong introduction.

One of my own personal favourite features here is the sparing use of gain or distortion. This really helps to maintain that “in a room with a real band” experience. It’s a little post metal, which can be hit or miss, but this taps a winning application, much like that swirled into the mix of some Neurosis releases. It also leads on to another high point in their approach. The playing derives much of its heaviness, when needed, not so much from extra pedals and effects, but from smashing the living f*** out of the instruments! This is something which can’t really be emulated with the use of machines. On this front, Sycomore are masters of the art.

With further flecks of Blood Mountain prog, and driving Broken Glass sludge, this is keeper. A future classic for audio aischrolatrists. A crude, unrefined temple of hand-carved riffs, and rasping mantras, for a cult which could, potentially, go global, very soon.

Grade: A+

Slow Dragon

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