Agoraphobic Nosebleed has been teasing the release of EPs focused on each individual screamer after the release of Agorapocalypse but it took them only until now to finally release the first installment. Almost five years of labor for three songs. This is no Chinese Democracy but that’s still an awful lot of time, even for songs that all go over six minutes! Thankfully, Arc was worth the wait as it showcase the return of singer Katherine Katz to her sludge roots.
Before howling for Agoraphobic Nosebleed, the singer used to be part the voice an excellent sludge band called Salome. In fact, the principle behind this series of EP is for Scott Hull to write music specifically for each member and he has definitely wrote some great material for her.
Despite the dryness of the drum tracks, played by a drum machine, as always, the songs don’t lack in weigh thanks to the copious low end of the guitar and bass. Hull as always been able to write challenging drum part that don’t simply follow the rhythm of the guitar. Over the years, he has moved away from composing rhythm that could only be played by a combination of Neil Peart (Rush) and Animal (The Muppets) and settle down for more humanly possible tracks that compliments well his own style.
On this EP he has also turned to the one true god, Tony Iommi, for inspiration and written tracks that would not have sounded out of place on Black Sabbath‘s Paranoid or Master of reality. However, a more haunted figure looms also on this EP, the one of Louisiana’s Buzzoven‘s Sore. Arc mixes the gloomy playfulness of Sabbath and the gut wrenching catharsis of Buzzoven.
As the EP progress, the atmosphere becomes bleaker and more violent and the bluesy tones of Deathbed are replaced by menacing power chords. The lyrics however are consistently powerful and full of suffering. Arc is a real catharsis for Katherine Katz as she explained in an interview with Noisey. There is no fantasy in her lyrics but the harsh reality of losing your own mother, one of the scariest thought and experience anyone can think of.
With Arc, Agoraphobic Nosebleed does not offer another sludge record for the masses but their own personal interpretation of the Doom and Sludge genre. Scarier, angrier and also more realistic than all of the fantasies about dragons, mammoth and witches that the ghosts of Electric Wizard have engendered. A fantastic return for Agoraphobic Nosebleed who are taking the metal and hardcore world by storm this year with this release and some massive performances in Europe (in the Netherland, in Bristol and at the Hellfest). Let’s hope we won’t have to wait too long again to hear more from them.