Blutch Materia

Arriving on North American shores with their third album, Belgium doom denizens Blutch set out to streamline the near-formless dirge (à la early Boris) of their recent past. As much as the album invokes Stoner Witch-era Melvins, Materia also has the slow-mo variety of Overmars mixed with the plodding deliberateness of Abandon. "Smile,” "Cut a Hand” and "Slaughterhouse” are definitely Melvins-inspired, even down to the whispery King Buzzo drawl of vocalist/guitarist Djinn Alaimo. The more vicious "Burst” sounds like Domination-era Morbid Angel covering the Melvins’ "Hooch” for the first minute, then as the vocals start and the chords change, some mechanical Malhavoc (circa Premeditated Murder) influences creep into the mix. Prefaced by a twisted humming of "Brahms’ Lullaby” entombed by Acid King-ly chordal monoliths, the Burning Witch-like "Masamune” is long and drawn-out with tormented Khanate-ish vocals, while "Stigma” recalls the free-wheeling tightness of Harvey Milk. "Moving Ground” raises the bar to Kylesa heights, yet ten-minute closer "Confutatis” regresses to Earth-like drones with Gregorian monk chants. Blutch are definitely pushing the doom envelope of tolerable noise, as Materia leaves the listener with a palpable sense of dread for the future. (At A Loss)