Formed in 2014, DIRGE have already made a name for themselves in their local metal scene, despite having only released one single in 2015. They have played shows in the Indian underground alongside stylistically similar bands like Primitiv, Shepherd, Djinn, and others, and have opened for international acts such as Chu and Defiled. Their energetic live shows got them a solid underground fanbase that will finally see the release of the band’s debut full length Ah Puch this month.
With Candlemass, Eyehategod, Neurosis, Sleep, Crowbar and Acid Bath as their primary influences, the band’s music unsurprisingly sounds like an amalgamtion of the styles of these bands. DIRGE’s music is sludgy, grim and morose sounding, channeling equal parts death-doom, sludge, atmospheric post-metal and the melodic sensibilities of bands like YOB & Pallbearer.
Ah Puch clocks in at almost 52 minutes, but let me assure you that its 52 minutes well spent. The album is a concept piece inspired by bloody Mayan myths from the jungles of South America, intertwined with actual historical events, clothed in six cathartic and atomizingly heavy tracks, that showcase the bands full musical arsenal from rapid tremolo picked sections to dark, heavy, impending riffs, an expressive vocal performance and some perfectly placed acoustic sections. The guitar and bass tone is gnarly and crushingly heavy, the drums, at times inspired by tribal rhythms, at times very doomy, are unrelenting and heavy, the vocals evoke a feeling of despair and pain. All contributes to a sound that is gloomy and menacing.
However, the one aspect that immediately catched my attention and surprised me the most about this album is the fair amount of melodies incorporated into the music. While the album has an overall raw and gritty sound, these melodies give it a very unique, beautiful touch that separates it from other albums in the genre and will definitely had me come back to it more often than I initially thought. The album’s second track “Montezuma’s Revenge” is a perfect example of the band’s style, as it incorporates both heavy sludge riffs and beautiful melodies, as well as some sections that have an OSDM vibe to it. It’s probably my favorite track on the album, followed by “La Malinche,” which you can listen to right here:
Despite it’s long playing time, the album never feels lengthy or overblown. The varied style of the music and the exciting lyrical concept keep the listeners on the edge of their seat throughout the whole playing time. All in all, Ah Puch is a surprising, fascinating and intense sludge metal album that shows a band not afraid to experiment with unusual stylistic elements and an interesting lyrical concept. Get on this, if you like your metal heavy, dark and sludgy.
1. Invoking The Demigod
2. Montezuma’s Revenge
3. Swamp of Blood
4. The Dilemma
5. La Malinche
6. Corpse of Cortez
Ah Puch will be released October 19th and can be preordered from the band’s Bandcamp page.
Check out the band’s Facebook page as well!