The Hortator’s Lament

Southern Lord

Culled from all manner of hard-to-find vinyl, this is Toadliquor’s first “proper” CD release — and here’s where you find the reason for all the cult worship. The Hortator’s Lament (complete with ace cover art of a “hit” on one of the gangland Jets, don’t remember that in West Side Story) sits comfortably next to Southern Lord legends, like the mighty Khanate or Grief.

Take this more as a whole rather than its admittedly ambitious parts. The bass is on some weird somnolent subconscious level, where you can’t even hear it, but it still pushes you roughly forwards. The drums are a bit more active than your typical doom burst — figure it’s Keith Moon’s ruined corpse having one last go for old times’ sake. Vocally, it’s muffled, self-immolating bellows and yells all the way — imagine a raw, bleeding throat and vocal cord nodules the size of a golf ball. The screams serve less as communication or clarification and more as a demented cheerleader to the instrumental miasma. The guitars, meanwhile, are a total revelation. Hacking, slashing, burning, gnawing at my inner ears — in between grinding bursts of sheet metal that are pretty fucking startling, and I’ve been a pretty devout follower of metal for about 15 years now. Yet it’s so organic and subtle, insinuating itself into my brain to the point where I can predict the next slooooooow tortured chord change. But y’see that isn’t the case at all; like a malignant computer virus, the music has overwritten my mental faculties to the point where I’M the helpless thrall, just another amplifier to be abused and burnt out.

Consider it a blessing that albums like The Hortator’s Lament exist; alongside the Melvins, Khanate and Eyehategod, they forcibly rip doom metal away from the gentler climes of stoner rock and back to the sticky stone floors and red burning eyes of psychedelic hatepunk. It’s beautiful, intuitive music — the crawl-movements mimic the growth and decay of our human form — stirring darker recesses of your heart untouched since the first time you heard the Velvet Underground or Cathedral’s first record. This is body music of the most bludgeoning and visceral sort, you are buffeted by body blows and shocks, you do an oddly familiar marionette dance. You are finally free.

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