Order of the Owl: Power Sludge from Atlanta

Main photo (c) Shawn Evans with thanks & respect.

Order of the Owl is a band out of Atlanta, Georgia.  They are fronted by Brent Anderson (Zoroaster, Terminal Doom), which suggests a fine pedigree in itself.  I was lucky enough to see Zoroaster last year supporting the mighty sludgelords Weedeater, and the power of that band is evident here.  Anderson is joined by  Corey Pallon, Casey Yarbrough and studio member Richard Googe.  Between them they have created a massive sound which defies even our usual superlatives.

The EP ‘In the Noon of the After Day‘ is on Bandcamp, containing two tracks – ‘Cocaine Super Demon‘ and ‘Bandsaw’.  Both tracks, it is no exaggeration to say, are dense and crushing.  This is vintage stuff.  Classic, psychedelia – influenced rock played through vintage Orange amps yields chorused chanting, slapping, thick drums, and slower-than slow power.

Order of the Owl releases should come with simple instructions painted clearly on the sleeves: “press play…..stand well back!”  Because what emerges from the speakers is a doom jam that recruits all the most primal, brutal and therefore soulful grooves that have been made by cats as righteous as the Motor City 5, Sabbath and Motorhead.

The deep, distorted bass, the four thick strings vibrating slowly and at a frequency several octaves lower than any guitar string rightfully should, provides a foundation to the tracks.  The drums, thick and leathery as they receive the mother of all poundings, construct a metronomic framework that resembles a vast, shabby gallows lit by an angry, red sky.  Amid a lazy blue haze of smoke, the fuzzed out guitar, drop tuned to an indecent extent, constructs wave after wave of riff power that simply builds and each layer seems to feed off the one below it, lending the whole track an awesome depth.

Sludgy doom metal of this kind is rarely played as convincingly as this.  It’s what Wayne Kramer and the boys would have produced if they had been born 35 years later and soaked in Bourbon and Southern blues.  And yet you might feel your revolutionary soul shout ‘Wait!, They’re not shouting political lyrics! How could they be compared to the ‘5 ? ‘.  Well, kids, my ageing, tattered mind says different.

Y’see, the very nature of this slow, sticky sludge music is so utterly Pagan, operating as it does on frequencies so low that they both move your soul and damage the constraints imposed on you by this unjust society, that just by taking a deep draw on a spliff and cranking up that bass, Order of the Owl are sticking it to The Man in their own way.  The message they are sending doesn’t need to be cut into the run out groves or the album played backwards to reveal it.  The message is clear: let’s play heavy rock and fucking roll!

You feel like you need to take a shower after listening to this a few times.  Your skin has been coated in grimy, oily, toxic gloop, it’s in your hair, your eyes and your ears.  Your clothes will require washing at 60 degrees.  The speakers will be oozing it too.  Utterly, transcendentally wonderful.


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