Title: Desert of Ghouls
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
Release Date: 17 July 2020
Format Reviewed: Digital Download
When I see the term “atmospheric” used to describe a band’s sound I do wonder to myself whether I will be in for a vast landscape of sound that’ll take me on a journey of the mind… or a band that takes a long time to not go very far. In the case of Germany’s self-declared Atmospheric Sludge/Doom Metal 3-piece EREMIT and their latest 2-track EP “Desert of Ghouls” I experience glimpses of the former, alongside a less welcome dollop of the latter.
Sounding like they may be taking their sonic cue from SLEEP, with gigantic, simple, droning, repetitive riffs the order of the day, this sounds good (solid drum grooves underpinning, huge, reverberating hypnotic guitars), but spread out over the course of one near 9min track and one 12min+ track, it all takes a bit too long to not go very far.
On the surface “Beheading the Innumerous” is built on a very simple chugging drone of a heavily overdriven guitar riff, but the band interlock in a clever way. Everything is in 4/4, but the drums employ a cunning manoeuvre I learned about recently: over the bar fills. Rather than the fills always coming at the end of the bar and locking back into the beat on 1, they can start or finish anywhere. Similarly the very simple, intentionally monotonous guitar line (four notes in a repeated pattern for most of the track) vary where the notes change throughout the track. So you end up having this odd feel coming out of a fairly straightforward riff.
The vocals when they enter are a pretty unspectacular Sludge Metal stangled style; fitting enough for the music, but nothing especially interesting. Around the 5minute mark the track starts to slow in preparation for the final part where the track takes a somewhat surprising turn for the Desert Rock of KYUSS. It’s a pretty cool groove, though I’m still undecided how I feel about the combination of this groove and the vocal delivery. Altogether it’s an enjoyable track, but for almost 9minutes of music I feel like I want more stimulation.
“City of Râsh-il-nûm” (thanks for the straightforward song titles guys), takes a similarly simple, plodding guitar line, but in the beginning with a much more spacey and smoke-like drifting sound than the first track. As the track slowly progresses a heavily processed lead-guitar line starts dancing in the middle of the trippy guitars and light, and simple drumming for a while, before drifting back out again. About 5min in the band really kick-in with force, still keeping the slow, hypnotic rhythm and tempo, but playing harder and louder and then finally the vocals too enter.
As with the first track, the final 4minutes sees the band transition into another more urgent groove (a la KYUSS), but as also with the first track I feel like the atmosphere the band creates isn’t quite enough to carry the weight of the time they take to get going.
Altogether I like the sound the band has created here well enough, one satisfyingly heavy and syrupy, but for the time the tracks are given to etch themselves into my brain I find myself left wanting either a more overwhelmingly huge auditory assault or more little moments of interest that might reveal themselves with each listen. 5.5/10 Tom Boatman
5.5/10 Floating in the sea of mediocrity
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