Back in 2002, former members of SEVEN FOOT SPLEEN, PUJ and STONE OF ABEL got together and formed a new musical project with the sole intent of writing 1 song for an upcoming installment of Very Small Records' Songs About Drinking series. The song was ultimately rejected, but the project continued on, eventually adopting the name, PATHETICISM. During their relatively short lifespan (less than a year), PATHETICISM shared the stage with ANTiSEEN, WEEDEATER, HAWG JAW, STAR CHILD, KYLESA, & FACE FIRST to name but a few. The 6 songs that appear on this CD were hastily recorded live in a friend's basement so that the band would have something to sell at shows in Savannah, GA & New Orleans. Very few were actually sold, however. This is the first time since 2003 that these songs have been available to the public. Heavy, distorted & verging on self-implosion, PATHETICISM stumbled and lurched through their sets, garnering comparisons to FLIPPER, SCRATCH ACID, BUZZOV-EN & CHERUBS (who they cover on this disc.)
Members of PATHETICISM went on to play in FLAT TIRES, MOUNTAIN OF JUDGMENT, THE ASOUND & HOUR OF 13.
THE ASOUND / MAGMA RISE Split 7"
Mark Hunt-Bryden thesleepingshaman.com
Tsuguri Records brings together an international collaboration. On one side we have Hungary’s Magma Rise who have recently released their solid debut ‘A Lazy Stream of Steel’ on Psychedoomelic records. Here the ex Wall Of Sleep and Mood members have the excellent unreleased track ‘Five’. Picking up from where ‘Lazy Stream…’ left off this tune is more of the same Black Sabbath/Trouble inspired doom riffage with a huge groove that has you nodding your head instantly. Leaning more towards the style of the first five Sabbath albums this is one of their more mid paced stompers which gives a vague tip of the hat to Iron Man but manages to keep itself out of the reach of accusations of plagiarism. It is a great complement to their album and displays the same taught song writing.
On the flipside of the disc is The Asound’s offering of ‘The Baron’. The Baron is a lurching jarring track that seems to pulse like an alarm one minute and groove the next. Like Five on the other side this has a definite march like stomp to it and Chad’s vocals are definitely reminiscent of Ozzy, well a younger one, when he could sing anyway.
Dig out the turntable and give these two bands a spin.
Featuring: SHIT AND SHINE, SONS OF TONATIUH, ENOCH, yellowthief, YUUGEN SYNDROME, AKRIS, AHLEUCHATISTAS, PIGS, US CHRISTMAS, THE GRAND ASTORIA, THE ASOUND, SHANE PERLOWIN & THE WAYWARD.
Every Cd comes w/ a sticker featuring original art by Tanabe Yorichika.
The 19-track collection Reptilicus on Tsuguri Records serves not only as an overdue closing note from grinding North Carolinian sludgers Seven Foot Spleen, but also a reintroduction as well. The crusty five-piece, which featured in their ranks guitarist Chad Davis, who would go on to form Hour of 13 and play in US Christmas (as well as others), broke up after the release of their 1999 Tee Pee Records debut, Enter Therapy, which means it’s been at least a decade since they were last heard from, and in that time, the bands with whom they shared the stage – acts like Buzzov*en and Grief, for whom show fliers appear in the Reptilicus liner notes also featuring the Seven Foot Spleen logo – have been elevated to godlike influential status. Seven Foot Spleen don’t go back that far. They started in 1994, long enough to have heard Eyehategod and Grief 7” releases, but what separates Seven Foot Spleen is that their songs are (mostly) shorter, grippingly aggressive, and as much owed to crusty hardcore as to sludge, standing closer to that side of the line than that of doom or the other riffly metals.
Frontman Jon Cox has a throaty, consistent shout throughout these songs, recorded in various stages of the band between 1995 and 1998, and though Seven Foot Spleen seems to operate in different modes, either fast or slow – anger is a constant – Davis and fellow guitarist Chad Wyrick mostly lead the way. The production throughout most of Reptilicus is rough, the cymbals on “Power” (recorded in 1997) sound like a drum machine, though they’re credited to drummer Josh Martin, and there are times where bassists Scott Cline and Keith Bollck (who were in the band at separate times) are all but inaudible. But the raw sound is part of the charm of a release like this. If you heard Seven Foot Spleen before Reptilicus, then it’s a collection you’ll enjoy for the memories it brings up and for the wealth of previously unreleased material. If you’re a stranger to the band and a sludge-head, you’ll dig it for the now-vintage sound.
More than anything, what Reptilicus has on its side is that it’s nasty. On the quicker, more blasting cuts like the 58-second “Canopener Head” (recorded in 1996 and released on the Boredom & Disease 7”), Seven Foot Spleen sound as mean as any of the sludge bands you could want to put in front of them, including Eyehategod, a similar raw Southern nihilism coming through the material that’s only bolstered by the production. On the more stoner-riffed “It Smells,” the groove comes through gorgeously and holds up the ideal that the best sludge is a turnoff for most people. Seven Foot Spleen do an excellent job of bridging the gap between Sabbathian doom and hardcore crossover, and they’re very much of their day, which isn’t going to be a negative for fans of the genre who’ve worshipped at the feet of Take as Needed for Pain and To a Frown for however long. A flow is pretty much out of the question in terms of listening to Reptilicus as a single album, but taken as a collection of rare, previously unheard and representative tracks, the 51-minute runtime is well spent.
Unheralded sludge grinders like Cavity, Exit 13 and Seven Foot Spleen didn’t necessarily get the same kind of play or distribution as the aforementioned sludge forebears, but when I hear “Leecheater” off Reptilicus, I’m just as glad to be hearing it as I am anything those other bands have done. The music is challenging, abrasive and, again, mean as hell, but it’s a suitable document of a band who never got their due, and given the resurgent interest in sludge the last couple years, should have no problem being welcomed by the modern scene. Especially for its unreleased material and capturing the band at their rawest and most natural-sounding, Seven Foot Spleen’s Reptilicus is an underground highlight and a wakeup call for anyone who never got into the band the first time around. File it right next to the classics of the genre.
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