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EP Review: Ten Ton Slug – Blood and Slime

Ten Ton Slug’s new EP, Blood and Slime, has arrived in all its mucus covered glory. With a fitting Halloween release date, this Irish four (sometimes five) piece have delivered three tracks of pure, putrid sludge and doom, clocking in at just under 25 minutes. This was a highly anticipated release for me. I thoroughly enjoyed their first EP, Brutal Gluttonous Beast, which came out just last year. The Slug remain unsigned with this second studio recording, but they have really upped the ante with this release in production quality and craftsmanship. Let’s wade into the Blood and Slime and see what The Slug have up their sleeves.

With a sample declaring, “We’re dealing with a mutant form of slug here, a kind that eats meat,” opening track “Slug Grinder” really kicks this EP off in the best way. The guitars are crunchy and the distortion heavy riffs are chewy – I’m feeling some early Crowbar nostalgia here. It’s a ripper, no question about it, meant to be heard in a small venue, lights low, beer in hand, head banging. Throughout the record ,I’m drawn back to Sean Sullivan’s guitar work. His tone is on point, his progressions are memorable and catchy, and he’s a real asset to The Slug. Singer Ronan O’hArrachtain’s guttural vocal style is also a stand out for me. He sounds amazing, crafting this wet, phlegmy growl that complements the guitar tone in a strangely cohesive way. Can a vocal style sound sluglike? If it’s possible, O’hArrachtain has succeeded.

“Matriarch of Slime” shows off the band’s chops a little outside of the sludge and doom that’s so obvious. It’s a groovy song, with a bounce to it that just feels good. The riffs are stellar here, it’s one of those songs where you can anticipate the next chord coming. It makes sense to that musical animal that lurks in us. The drumming is tight and laced with clean fills. Michael Sullivan can hold his own behind the kit, his aggression matching and driving his brother Sean’s fretboard antics, and the production value can really be felt in the drum sound that’s achieved. Chugging progressions accented with doom riffing and sludge tempos make this a defining track for The Slug. This is the song that highlights what they are capable of and who they are. The horror themed lyrics paint us a picture of the gastropod queen, as O’hArrachtain commands us, “Bow down, follow, kneel to the Matriarch of Slime. Blinded, speechless, servants all bound to the crown.”

The EP wraps up with the ten minute “Siege”. It’s a great closer, I can feel pressure building as The Slug assaults the gates, and then de-escalating as the song slows and the siege comes to an end, The Slug having gained purchase on the fortress. This is my favorite track on the record. Once again the guitar work is on point which should come as no surprise, but it’s the bass that really gets the spotlight. Punchy, heavy riffing coming from Eoghan Wynne (who also did the rad album artwork), his bass tone really carries this song, giving it the hard, weighty foundation that effectively creates the warlike atmosphere.

Blood and Slime is a lot of fun. It’s a no brainer for any sludge/doom fan, if they weren’t already on your radar with Brutal Gluttonous Beast, they will be now. Snag a copy from their bandcamp and keep it on heavy rotation. According to their official bio, writing has already begun for another release in 2018. The Slug is hungry. The Slug shows no mercy.

Blood and Slime is available for purchase via Ten Ton Slug’s Bandcamp page.

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