Recently opining late last year that there weren’t all that many duos making their name in doom/sludge music, I was promptly disproven by excellent albums from the likes of Eagle Twin, Black Cobra and Dark Castle. Now Jacksonville’s long-running sadness engine Civilization has added their own two cents into that rapidly multiplying sub-sub-genre with their self-titled vinyl LP. The duo of drummer/vocalist Joshua Jubinsky (also head honcho of label Dead Tank) and guitarist/vocalist Erik Hern has been a welcome presence in Northeast Florida venues for several years now, sharing stages with some heavies like Bloody Panda and Skeletonwitch, and this is their first extended foray into recording. But Civilization still has all the verve and brio of an outfit bashing out their first tune in someone else’s garage. Like Eagle Twin, even careful listens don’t give up the ghost that Civilization is only a duo. Their sound is full and crushing, perfectly fine without a bass or second guitar.
What Civilization “does” is no-frills doom, suffused with a background of hardcore punk, that is spry and kinetic. On Civilization, you’ll be as likely to hear echoes of Grief, Weedeater and Eyehategod, as you will Nirvana circa Bleach, Celtic Frost, and His Hero Is Gone. Jubinsky is a loose-limbed and groovy drummer along the lines of the Melvins’ Dale Crover, adding cool fills and flourishes where otherwise there might just be the flat hiss of a cymbal and a pregnant pause. Hern works his way through all manner of downtuned riffery and diabolus en musica, careful not to let a note bleed too long (that’s just lazy), and throwing in really evil riffs aplenty. The vocals follow the time-honored template of outfits like Extreme Noise Terror and Carcass, with Hern supplying the higher, raspy parts and Jubinsky no doubt destroying his vocal chords with the lower, guttural shouts.
Available as a vinyl-only release, this is an aesthetically pleasing album all around — the vinyl is colored like a block of veined granite and the screen-printed cover is a nice, eye-catching touch. Support good local music — soon it’s all there’s gonna be.
Dead Tank: deadtankdistro.com