Modern black-metal bands may think they churn out the most misanthropic sounds ever committed to plastic, but very few of those legions have anything on the hate-filled/fueled bludgeon of Eyehategod. Weaned on My War -era Black Flag (especially the rusty murk of that record’s second side) as much as they were on Ozzy-era Black Sabbath, Eyehategod has spent most of the ’90s shooting up, smoking out, cranking up, and subsequently battering out a sonic bile that’s one LOUD, cavernous crawl through the deepest trenches of human despair, the quintet perpetually earthquaking a submerged bass here, milking the howling feedback between molten-lava guitar-chords there, bottom-heavy drums bashing away somewhere, Michael Williams’ tortured, shredded-throat wails kinda guiding the seemingly formless depression to a destination unknown (and, for sanity’s sake, probably for the better).
If these “sounds” sound halfway alluring (or perversely intriguing, for that matter, like the aftermath of a car crash), then Southern Discomfort is a convenient starting point before plummeting into the abyss, the album collecting Eyehategod’s numerous out-of-print vinyl-only cuts, including the “Ruptured Heart Theory” 7″ (goes for a pretty penny on Ebay) and the band’s split 7″s with 13. Also included, for your abuse session, are a few rare studio outtakes, the most prominent — and absolutely stultifying — of the bunch being the fittingly titled “Dopesick Jam,” 16 minutes of prolonged aural horror recorded during the sessions for Eyehategod’s fittingly titled third album, Dopesick , arguably the band’s finest hour and one of the mightiest head-crushers supposedly crafted by mere mortals. Despite the disparity in years and sources of the material, Southern Discomfort holds together quite well as a front-to-back album, the whole set of songs firmly gelling like the glue the band probably sniffed before heading into the studio. Dive in or drive away.
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