This weekend, we’re bringing you more metal of the doom/sludge variety from the southeastern United States, in the guise of Sourvein and their latest album Black Fangs. Formed in North Carolina, these guys have been around for quite some time now– since 1993– and that really isn’t much of a surprise. They’ve got their art.. well, down to an art, and all of the elements are there. Solid sound, intentionally dirty but never sloppy in method and/or technique. Heavy and dense, like being trapped in a pit of mud and struggling to claw your way out yet only moving in centimeters. For what it is and what the band is trying to do, it is spot on. Not awful by any stretch of the imagination.. quite the opposite, in fact, it’s rather good.
However, “good” is about as far as I’ll go on this one. Instrumentally, it is excellent. There are no shredding guitar solos or anything, but those aren’t always necessary. All of the parts fit together, everything is heard but nothing outshines anything else. The tracks seem to flow one into another when listened to in order, which is something I always enjoy, more like listening to a multi-movement symphony rather than just a rock album. I felt like the vocals would have benefited from some variety, as it was all screaming and growling the entire time, but that’s just a personal preference. Some people are into that. For me, it tends to make songs blend together in a bad way, makes them less distinct from one another. Personal nit-picks notwithstanding, as a whole, I liked it. But.. I didn’t love it.
And that is ok. Not every album grabs you in that way. It doesn’t make it a bad record. There were certain tracks that stood out to me, that I found myself listening to more than once. “Nomadic” has an unquestionably catchy guitar hook that pushes the song forward through the aforementioned metaphorical mud, and “Nocturnal/Negative Phaze” (the closing track) has got this very incorporeal quality to it that’s hard to put a finger on but does a fantastic job of easing you out of the aural assault the rest of the album has provided. I just cannot honestly say that this is the type of album that I will sit and listen to from front to back time and time again. A song or two here and there, thrown on shuffle or into a play list, sure. Unfortunately I was just a little underwhelmed with the experience all together. Of course, I always encourage people to go and form their own opinions, but mine is that this album isn’t going to bring any new fans over to their side.