Thursday, February 1, 2018

The Ditch And The Delta - Hives In Decline (2017)

You can add this to my ever growing list of releases I didn't get around to reviewing last year, but better late than never I suppose. Hailing from SLC, The Ditch And The Delta deliver crushing Sludge grooves with Post Hardcore, with a pinch of Math Rock, but nothing that's too noodly to wear out its welcome. I could see this band being on tour or at least the same roster of bands that were on Hydra Head Records or Robotic Empire in the late 90's early 00's, because one they definitely share a similar sound, and two they're that good. Think Fugazi meets Mastodon or Neurosis meets Unwound. It's highly emotive but also hits you hard because they're also heavy as fuck.
I kinda peg these dudes in the same category as Chained to the Bottom of the Ocean (who I reviewed last week), as a contemporary Sludge band that's doing something a little different, and not really concerned with what everyone else is doing. This suits them well, as they stick out like a sore thumb, rather than just being another fish in the endless sea of Doom/Sludge bands. Also similarly like CTTBOTO for all of their gargantuan heavy moments, there are those moments where they tend to reach for the non-metal influences to bring something interesting into the mix. The strings are burly, with the distorted bass low end rumble having a menacing prominence in their overall sound. The guitar sound is detuned and thick. However, they do not shy away from the fact that they are a trio, with some melodic parts seeming sort of minimal or stripped down, to expose their numbers. This is used to the band's advantage to open up a world of different possibilities though, not limiting themselves to simple chug riffs, or drone doom power chords. Then there is the blanket of shouted vocals, which adds that layer of aggression and raw fury, even when the strings and the drums aren't reflecting the same irritable expressions.
Overall I really dug this. It's definitely a change of pace, and definitely something I would recommend to those who are looking for something that's a little different than the Sludge bands in the underground right now. I'm definitely into the bands that are knockoffs of others, especially if they sound like Eyehategod or Grief. However, I feel like for every ten of those, we need a band like The Ditch And The Delta around, so things don't get too stale or redundant. Cheers! -Samir

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