It’s been five years since their excellent debut Regress but finally a new Slabdragger album has finally arrived. It’s been a long and often impatient wait for Rise of the Dawncrusher. We waited with high expectations but has the album lived up to them?
Rise of the Dawncrusher is an excellent album that was worth the delays, showing why the band are one of the UK’s brightest lights in the murky sludge scene. Firstly, the first major difference with this album is that the songs are much longer. With five tracks – the shortest being the four minute blast ‘Evacuate!’ – the band have certainly gone in a different direction while keeping their base sound. Secondly, the album has a stronger blues influence which is felt most on the aptly named ‘Mercenary Blues’, yet it still contains the furious sludge sound which is found on their much loved debut. Dawncrusher is also a concept album, a sci-fi themed adventure about mercenaries and intergalactic crime lords. The story is well-crafted and does not feel forced at any point, it flows well with the music but does not get in the way.
The main thing to take from this album is that it’s damn epic in scale and structure. Opening track ‘Mercenary Blues’ is a great start to the album, building momentum before letting loose. Mosh pit opener ‘Evacuate!’ erupts next with a riff which oozes with swagger and demonic vocals, a future sludge anthem no doubt. What follows are three long tracks, each increasing in length as the album goes on. All three are different – so much goes on within each song and shows that this is clearly the work of master craftsmen. The final seventeen minute ‘Implosion Rights’ to some may be an endurance test, but to this reviewer it’s an odyssey and a top notch way to end the album. It’s been a long wait but half way through the album all my concerns were pushed aside. After all, as bassist Yusuf Tary himself said in our 2014 interview, “we aren’t in a rush to just put out some slapdash material”, and slapdash this material certainly isn’t. Catchy, ferocious and just plain brilliant, Rise of the Dawncrusher is a sludgy work of art.
An outstanding album that will be talked about for years to come, Slabdragger as always, are doing everything right. Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait another five years for a new album.
Best Tracks: Evacuate, Dawncrusher Rising.
1. Mercenary Blues
3. Shrine of Debauchery
4. Dawncrusher Rising
5. Implosion Rites
Slabdragger on Rise of the Dawncrusher are:
Yusuf Tary – Bass/Vocals
Sam Thredder – Guitar/Vocals
Severin Black – Drums