Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Magnatar - Tar EP / Vulgar (2017)

I've decided to do a double review of this band since these releases were not that far apart (about a year), and I feel like it's worth looking at both, especially after the name change. It's not all the time you run into this unique kind of situation where you get two awesome releases back to back like this.

So with the original Tar EP, you get nothing but crushing and debilitating sludge. Probably some of the best sludge from the past year or so. Just nothing but heavy duty straight from the tar pit sludge. It's got everything anyone could want. Ultra-detuned strings, loads of feedback to bask in the filth, serpentine like winding rhythms, and agonizingly harsh vocals. The wall of sound from the guitars is just pulverizing, deep, and unforgiving. These guys got some catchy riffs as well. The main riff from "Executioner of Time" is memorable and pretty fucking unique. Unfortunately it's only two songs and it's over before you know it. It was a little taste of what was to come from this band, after listening to "Vulgar" this was only a small sampling of what these dudes are about and/or what they are capable of doing.

So transitioning over to "Vulgar" we see the band has opened up a little more and is moving in different directions, including more post-metal influences, ambiance, and atmosphere, while still retaining that wooly mammoth sound, and its stock pile of heavy sludge riffage. We end up getting a wide range of dynamics here. There are moments on "Vulgar" that are quiet and clean, with riffs that sound both melancholic and bittersweet. Definitely some more proggy groove moments on this one as well. This doesn't take away from their large massive sound, which seems even more vibrant on this released compared to the first one. Both songs from the Tar EP are included on "Vulgar", both rerecorded and heavy as fuck. However, they're probably the heaviest songs on this album, as it seems the band wanted to make the most of the other songs to kind of explore other pathways for reaching how they want to express themselves more fully as a band. But holy fuck, when these dudes get heavy, they fucking annihilate. The heavy riff from the song "5" could clear a forest. Other notable difference include a lot of little drones and synth noises here and there, that may have been on the original Tar EP, but there are more spaces for the sounds to fill the void on this release. Overall, "Vulgar" is devastatingly beautiful and surprisingly original. "Vulgar" definitely stands out from the rest of the pack, and their progression from being beefy sludge merchants to post metal ponderers is pretty fucking cool. Awesome fucking album dudes, I can't wait to hear what you're working on next! Cheers! -Samir

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