Location: Groningen, Netherlands
Genre: Stoner/Sludge Metal
Released: April 22, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: Global Conquest – Recent Releases
By: Kris Kotlarik
I will be the first to admit that sludge metal doesn’t excite me much; I got bored rather quickly when Crowbar came to town a couple months ago. And while I like the sound of stoner metal/rock, there aren’t many groups pushing the envelope. The second album by Herder, however, not only blends these two genres together, but also incorporates some doom metal into their sound, along with a wide variety of other influences and sounds that even include brief sections of throat singing.
As expected, the production here is quite raw, and the vocals are on the harsh side of the spectrum. This should not come as a surprise to anyone. What I was pleasantly surprised by is the sheer amount of different things that are going on from song to song. The hits start right away with the quick and varied “Betrayer Deceiver,” which has a rather simple but incredibly effective solo. “Pythia,” a slower track, is another great track which also includes a nice, distortion-heavy solo and ends with a long sequence of “tribal” drums. The other complete standout is “Maelstrom,” a short and pummeling number that lives up to its name.
Sections of many of the other tracks stood out as well; the title track, while not being among the best, has an interesting riff that kept me engaged. There are also several samples, most notably in the opener and closer, that are hard to piece together. And then there’s the throat singing intro of “Asylums Of The Forgotten,” which came out of nowhere. The only songs I did not particularly care for were “Stab,” which was impeded by rather monotonous vocals, and the constant “fuck you” lyrics in “FOAD II.” Despite that, there are no bad songs or overt filler tracks; just a couple of songs that didn’t necessarily fit my preferences. A lot of material on Gods stands out in a positive light and most metal fans who don’t need constant blast beats to keep their attention will probably like this.
Overall: Should be regarded as a must-listen for those who enjoy sludge and/or stoner metal.