|Slug Lord aren't half a lord. Would they be a knight then? Or mayhap just a cupbearer...?|
The Finnish Doom scene has always been one of my all time favorite with bands like Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis or Fall of the Idols. Hailing from Tampere, Slug Lord, with their debut EP, are newcomers in the scene. Saddly, the quality is not quite there yet. I don't think they have a huge potential as they don't really deviate from a very trodden path. But do they have what is needed to become at least one of Tampere's future household names? Yes and no...
With an obvious emphasis on fuzzy and simple riffs, their sound reminds me of Electric Wizard's in some places. One of the slowest song is ironically called 'Speeding', it is an 8 minute dirge adorned with a solid atmospheric solo. The songs are ranging from 5 to 8 minutes for a total length of 42 minutes: with the duration of a full album, it's still considered an EP by the band. While the whole is not bad, that self-titled EP won't install them on the highest level of the Doom hierarchy either: they're a Slug Knight at best, definitely not a Lord. The songs lack something special and the decent production is not to blame here: everything is well recorded and there's the right amount of atmosphere and feedback. Still, I think the guitars could be heavier and the bass more present and fuzzier too. The drumming is decent though, but like the rest, it's not very inventive. Maybe some keyboard would have been welcome… I'm not usually begging for originality, but some is needed here. The only original feature can be found in the vocal department, this is truly where the album shines the most.
Indeed, Johanna Rutto's vocals are my favorite part. I could compare her to a more abrasive Alia O'brien from Blood Ceremony (albeit with no flutes in her hands as there're no folk elements to be found in Slug Lord's music) mixed with Agnete of Prog metallers Madder Mortem. Her lines can be catchy, like in 'Gastropoda' with its pleasant chorus and sometimes more mystical and they make then the atmosphere more tense. She has a good and pleasant range, nothing feels forced. Too bad she's not in the band anymore! I hope they'll be able to find a new solid vocalist because I'm not exactly sure they would make a good instrumental band as they're not even that great with vocals. Her part doesn't change their dark music though, it only adds another layer of occultness. I mean: simply look at the Lovecraftian album cover art, full of deadly tentacles ! Nonetheless, the album, despite its rather typical length, feels redundant and overlong. The ideas stopped being fresh after the second song, there's not a lot of variation and it's honestly quite boring.
Still, the album was kind of enjoyable in parts, particularly because of Johanna's vocals. It's not something I'll seek out again though. Despite my lack of praise for Slug Lord, if you like Doom/Stoner, you'll like them but they're Acid King's cupbearer. If you enjoy this specific sort of wine, go ahead and check them out but don't expect anything groundbreaking.
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5. Slug Lord
Duration : Approx. 42 minutes
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