Title: Now Cometh The Foul
Release Date: 21 December 2018
Format reviewed: Digital Promo
As is the M.O here at Blessed Altar, we unearth yet another new band looking to make their mark in the heavy music scene and in particular, the hot bed of the Metal underground. With this, I give you US Sludge/Crust Metal outfit, WARDEHNS!
Coming out of Wausau, a small town in Central Wisconsin, WARDEHNS are a relatively new band having only formed in February 2017. All members were in different bands at the time and via a chance meeting between Adam Geurink (guitarist/vocalist) and Brad Beilke (Bass) who lived in the same town, they formed WARDEHNS with the inclusion of Thomas Sorbet on drums who played with another local Wausau act (now split), Speaker Eater. After jamming, the band wrote and released a 2 track self-titled EP in August 2017. Dealing with some bass player issues has meant a lack of live gigs, yet 16 months on WARDEHNS have been able to put together their first full-length debut – the Sludgy, filthy crust-punk infested, ‘Now Cometh the Foul’.
Intriguing album title aside, there are several other things that piqued a deeper interest in investigating this band. Firstly, how’s that cover art? Personally, artwork is a big factor for me in taking a closer look at a new band and this David Paul Seymour piece that adorns ‘Now Cometh…’ is a fantastic representation of the style that this band plays – eight dirty, filthy Sludge/Crust ridden beasts that come storming out of the dank, gloomy depths of the caves in which they were conceived.
What about the name – WARDEHNS? Who or what are they? Adam informs me that it comes from a fictional story the band is writing that will, at a later date, eventually evolve into some conceptual songs about three brothers (The Wardhens) who were harvested from the womb of a scientist that commits suicide to keep information from corrupt post-apocalyptic clans. And that is just the beginning of the story. Now, that is some dark, epic shit that I want to hear!
From the outset of this album, WARDEHNS make their intentions known with the opening instrumental ‘Crustaceans’ – a gentle acoustic riff leads into a brooding tribal back beat before storming into some brutal, sludge laden riffage that has a somewhat melodic drive about it, yet can’t help but rip your head off with its heaviness and take no prisoners attitude. Dropping straight into the tearing ‘Tyranian’ and the outstanding punk encrusted intensity of ‘Denim Dogs’ it is clear WARDEHNS are not fucking around! Sound wise, Sludge may be the template but speed wise WARDEHNS are all about an emphasis on a dirty punkish crust style cadence. This rips! Think a finely tuned combination of High on Fire meets Motorhead/Black Tusk/Conan aesthetics. Having said that, there is a little more going on than what you might think of the sound described here. I’m talking about two tracks in particular – the 6 and 7 minute epics ‘Shards of the Time Glass’ and ‘Leech Head’. This is where WARDEHNS offer up some variation in speed – dropping back to a mid-tempo Crowbar style groove and adding some Baroness like progressiveness to their canvas. ‘Leech Head’ in particular is redolent with some outstanding percussive work from drummer Thomas Sorbet along with Adam’s ‘Kurt Windstein-like’ angst ridden vocal delivery. ‘Shards’ gives up its speed in the latter half for some wild solo work and an extremely tasteful cello backline (as captured by Adam’s fiancé) that lends the track a sad, mournful quality to its overall impact.
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam Tucker at signature tone recording, ‘Now Cometh…’ captures WARDEHNS in a great light. Their heavy-as-lead sludge-laden sound is one of the best going around – grimy and dirty but still instrumentally audible – and with the crust/punk speed element, the band just sounds on fire in every department. If you are at all partial to the bands mentioned in this review, then I suggest you get around WARDEHNS and support their work. With a 2019 tour planned later this year, and the future prospect of a wacked out conceptual story evolving into new compositions, I will be watching their progression closely from this point onwards! 8/10 KMaN
8/10 To Greatness and Glory
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