Sloth Herder: Abandon Pop Sensibility

Funny story about Frederick, MD.  The reviewer who is penning this review here happens to be doing research for a novel partially based on a true story, part of which involves a man shooting his wife through the heart, who was originally from Frederick, like really, that part's completely true.  After he killed her, and eventually got out of jail, he settled back, and perhaps eventually gave birth to these guys.  We're not sure if that's true, but it probably is.  Judging by Sloth Herder, there must be a lot of evil seething out of that town, because this stuff is so corrupt, so wonderfully corrupt and decayed that it suggests the city itself is a thing of evil, and via the cover evil farmlands covered in dust.  Abandon Pop Sensibility explains not only how such a murderer as mentioned above could exist, it also sufficiently details why anyone not wishing to die horribly should probably stay away from Sloth Herder.  Again a conundrum.  The band name, yeah, it suggests doom, probably really crappy doom, but the resultant listen after getting the guts to do it was quite otherwise.  And the album title just reeks of bad street punk, and then you look at the artwork and you get confused.  Black metal?  Hardcore punk?  What is this going to be exactly?  Accurately categorizing these guys wouldn't be easy; there's sludge, doom, crust, hardcore punk, grindcore, probably some black metal.  It's essentially its own genre in many ways, one which we shall hereby call holy frikken frikk.  That means good.

 

 

Abandon Pop Sensibility is deceptive, because it suggests pop is the only sensibility you're going to be abandoning while listening to it, when in fact you'll be abandoning practically everything.  It opens with a simple intro, titled aptly "Intro", with slow, sludgy, doom-infused drudge.  The bass is puking all over itself, the drums are hollow like the gaping maw of a decayed, falling tree, and the guitars are frigid and shattered.  Good pace-setting, you think, what comes next?  Sloth Herder goes from "band with stupid name" to "band that makes us hope they don't seek revenge for calling their name stupid".  This is some of the most raw and vile music we've come across.  It's more crusted than the filth entrapped in a sloth's hide after it dies, and here we have a whole herd of them presumably.  It's not vile like we sometimes encounter, which creates revulsion through its lack of production value alone, this is vile to the core of the hearts of the men who made it, the most depraved of individuals without a doubt.  "Cowards of the New Age", the second track, breaks out with a crusted-blood, sludge assault with vocals sung through consumptive lungs.  The blood spatters all over your face, and the next thing you know your entire body is scarred internally.  They go back and forth from dry, painful rasp to low, hateful barks, and that's great, but one of the big surprises on this one is the musical quality.

 

Alright, so you get it, Abandon Pop Sensibility is coarse.  Half of the recording sounds like it was dipped in acid and then mastered, fine you get it, no need to beat that into the ground.  What's amazing about Sloth Herder is their incredible command of genre-breaking style.  See, yeah, raw, we're not talking about the normal raw here, this is a new definition of it.  The chords go from what is close to black metal to off-tempo, experimental riffing that sounds like the only few good tracks any Providence band ever wrote, but bundled into an entire album instead of about ten over nine years with vapid filler.  Sloth Herder catches some incredible style and groove throughout this one, with an amazing ability to shatter basically any sense of underground music you could have without verging on noise.  There's something entirely commendable about this release, something which requires Frederick, MD to declare a city-wide holiday in their honor, and then commence some sort of horrible atrocities as part of the festivities.  The only possible complaint you could have is it's short, very short, each track only goes about two minutes, and there are only six of them, five if you consider the intro a separate track that merely sets the stage.  But, talk about setting this one on repeat.  Make that endless repeat.  Other than that very minor details, this just proves how much talent there is in the underground, at least sometimes.

 

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Written by Stanley Stepanic

Sloth Herder: Abandon Pop Sensibility
Self-Released
4.5 / 5