Amplified is a weekly column focusing on new and emerging artists. Got a band that fits the bill? Email [email protected]
Sludge metal is, when done right, a study in minimalism. How slow a band can play before the song completely disappears in a wash of noise. How many times a riff can repeat before it devolves into pure trance. How simply the genre’s message of suffering can be distilled. San Antonio’s Crumbling Mirth is inspired by, in their words, “the absurdity of the human condition.” Their debut EP, simply titled “Don’t Try,” has a cover that simply depicts a skeletal hand giving you, and everyone else, a stark thumbs-down. Sludge often intermingles with a myriad of other genres, and while bands like Mastodon or Baroness veered off into prog territory or Isis in shoegazing post-rock, what you get here is far more stripped-down. Every glacial riff stomps as hard as humanly possible, and if the band does pick up the pace for a moment, hardcore d-beats are the name of the game. Vocals are pure throat, owing more to Ihsahn than to Windstein, but vicious all the same. The production on this EP is exactly where it needs to be; murky, ominous, but clear enough that everything can be heard in all its churning glory. Check out their eerie, slightly NSFW video for “Crumbling Mirth” below, then head to their Bandcamp page to download Don’t Try for the low, low price of…say it with us now: nothing.