The Ditch And The Delta – The Ditch And The Delta

Band: The Ditch And The Delta
Title: The Ditch And The Delta
Label: Sludgelord Records
Release Date: 17 April 2020
Country: USA
Format Reviewed: Digital Download

If you were to ask me “Tom, would you like to listen to some raging Metal with the fury of mid period NEUROSIS, slick, catchy grooves, gut-churning, down-tuned riffing and dizzying Math Rock rhythms?” I’m sure you’d get two thumbs up from me any day of the week. Utah three piece THE DITCH AND THE DELTA provide exactly this on this their self titled third album.

Opening track “Maimed” explodes in a rolling, churning fireball of a riff, all pummelling tom rolls and bellowed vocals. Very reminiscent of NEUROSIS or even TODAY IS THE DAY during their psychotic “In The Eyes of God” stage. The band plays with odd feels and time signatures, with interweaving rhythms between the drums, guitars and vocals, keeping the listener pinned back on their heels both by the force of the attack and the lurching rhythms.

Quickly showing their versatility the next track “Exile” starts with an overdriven guitar groove, soon joined by crashing cymbal driven drums, that has a cool flow reminding me of some early 2000s Metal like DEFTONES. There are further hints of this later in the track, and maybe a touch of early KORN too, but still underpinned by this off-kilter Math Rock feel. It’s an interesting blend of that satisfyingly downtuned feel of perhaps more mainstream Metal of the era, fused with Sludge Metal or Math Rock.

The shouting dual vocal approach of bassist Kory Quist and guitarist Elliot Secrist maintains the association with NEUROSIS throughout the album, but the music itself is clearly coming from a far broader set of influences. “Aesthetics of Failure” seems to give a nod to MESHUGGAH with the head-spinning, rotating grooves and riffs (also a feature of tracks like “Molt” and “Bleed the Sun”) while the mid-track breakdown takes the listener into a floating, expansive Post Rock landscape, before launching back with a great, ringing guitar part that brings to mind prime TOOL, when they would similarly lull the listener with trippy, dreamy passages before roaring back in with a pummelling finish.

The playing throughout is powerful and inventive and the band are totally locked in together, making all their interweaving rhythms sound effortless. Drummer Brian Fell seems to be continually playing like he’s trying to smash his way out of a locked room with every snare and tom hit. On “Hiraeth” there’s a slower, brooding buildup but still the music is bone crushing when the pounding drums come in.

Final track “Tectonic Selves” surprises with a very melodic arpeggio guitar melody that you could almost imagine coming from MACHINE HEAD or TRIVIUM, with the rest of the track combines all sorts of other elements like floating Post Metal passages and heavily down-tuned Nu-Metal chugging, or is it Industrial riffing?

To be honest, it’s very hard to pin-down exactly what category to put “The Ditch and the Delta Into”, which to me is a definite sign of a great band. These songs are more than the sum of their interestingly varied parts. It’s fun for me to play ‘spot the reference points’, but it’s really satisfying to hear some powerful new music and get that buzz that I’m hearing something different and fresh.  THE DITCH AND THE DELTA have managed to bring together a lot of cool elements into something that’s heavy, catchy and very much their own. 8.5/10 Tom Boatman

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8.5/10 To Greatness and Glory!
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