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Sourvein - Ghetto Angel Review

by Mark Hensch

Finely brewed is the bitterness of total misanthropy. When I last checked out Wilmington, North Carolina’s purveyors of squalor and hatred, Sourvein were spewing out unending nihilist sludge on 2005’s Emerald Vulture EP. Flashing forward to 2008, little has changed.

Ghetto Angel is yet another EP in a long list of them from this band. Composed of sludge luminaries from bands like Buzzov*en, Bongzilla, Weedeater, Hail!Hornet, and Beaten Back to Pure, everything about Sourvein screams utter enmity towards the human race as a whole. Though the aforementioned bands (particularly Beaten Back to Pure and Buzzov*en) are a great set of reference points, for those not yet getting it Eyehategod, Birds of Prey, or Acid Bath would also work. The order of the day here is plodding, dirty, and bile-thick sludge that expresses the most spiteful emotions we humans are capable of.

For 16 minutes or so, in fact, this approach works extremely well. Just don’t come into Ghetto Angel expecting the reinvention of sludge because it isn’t happening here. Simply put, this EP is nothing but grimy, straightforward malice.

Opening cut "Nightwing," for example, is exactly that. A warm, sticky buzz soon coalesces into a brief drum flurry, the likes of which explodes into gargantuan chugs of apathetic anger. The riffs are slow, torturous, and with only the slightest variation alongside the clashing rhythm section. Frontman T-Roy Medlin unleashes his pessimistic howls over this patiently-executed animosity, the man legitimately sounding like he despises everything with every ounce of his being.

Equally cathartic is the filthy "Septic Werewolves," a song which is birthed from militant drumming and ominous riffs only to launch into the most venomous moment on the entirety of the EP. Said moment comes when the band launches into a despair-ridden breakdown, the likes of which would make Eyehategod tremble with fear. From here the song is pretty much a sandblaster to the face and nothing else---just slow, grinding pain.

"Doldrums…" kicks off with Sleep worthy riffs and eerie samples, like a bad hit of the bong or something. When the band really kicks in the distortion, the whole thing damn near caves in chests and ruptures eardrums. Unafraid to indulge in purist riff worship, this song sort of twists, writhes, and dies. It isn’t meant to be pleasant, and you can bet it damn well isn’t!

Closing track "D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F." turns things up a notch, the band busting out a mud-splattered rocker at 30 BPM more akin to Beaten Back to Pure stuff than the other songs on offer here. This turtle’s pace hardcore sludge works wonders for the outfit, and to be frank, it is a shame they don’t use more of Ghetto Angel exploring this avenue of their sound.

As stated earlier, Ghetto Angel is pretty much a chance for some sludge greats to get together and pen some truly despicable hatred. This is perhaps the EP’s greatest strength and its greatest fault as well---this is top-quality stuff, but it has all been done before and usually at much longer, more fulfilling lengths. To sum it up, just check this band’s motto on the top of the EP’s dedications page: "My enemies I fear not, it’s my friends I worry about." If lines like that are what typically get the misanthrope in you aching for a expression of your absolute loathing for everything and everyone, this will make a fine edition to your musical repertoire. Other than that, this is good but not great, entertaining but too short. The choice is yours folks.

Sourvein’s Ghetto Angel EP
1. Nightwing
2. Septic Werewolves
3. Doldrums…
4. D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F.

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Sourvein - Ghetto Angel


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