Welcome to the murky world of sludge, where we find PYR, the latest release from London three-piece Ghold. Comparisons with Melvins or Corrupted are perhaps inevitable, but there’s undoubtedly more to this, especially when we compare it to their previous efforts as a duo. The addition of multi-instrumentalist/guitarist Oliver Martin adds layers of complexity that we’ve not heard on their previous two efforts.
Opening track ‘Collusion With Traitors’ is a schizophrenic affair. When it’s at low revs, it’s a foreboding dirge. When it’s at full-throttle, it’s so viscous and opaque that we could think of it as a bastard love child of treacle and Bovril, or at least their musical equivalents. Massive riffs build up and filter into a wall of noise full of feedback and ethereal caterwauling, before petering out wistfully.
‘Blud’ is a baby at only five minutes, but makes up for its compact length by erupting immediately into a furious monster. At the close, blastbeats and haunting wind sounds provide a stark contrast, which disorients and confuses the brain. We naturally seek a moment’s respite, but such a luxury isn’t forthcoming. No no, that would be silly.
This relentless behemoth continues with ‘CCXX’, which starts out with a riff that evokes more of a straight-up doom feel, something akin to a shouty Pallbearer, before going to double-time and emphatically dispelling any such notions of civility.
Closer ‘Despert Thrang’ is so weighty that it fills the entire second side of the LP release. Featuring the eerie guest vocals of fellow Londoner Rose Dagul (Rhosyn), it swallows us up, spits us out, and leaves us feeling as if we’ve been bitch-slapped with a JCB.
PYR isn’t a record for the faint of heart. It isn’t even an easy album to digest within the sludge world – those thinking they might hear something accessible, a la Baroness, are in for a rude awakening. It’s a full-on sonic assault that leaves us beaten and bewildered. That’s rather the point however, and it’s a captivating listen.