and choosing the 10 best Norwegian sludge albums is in our opinion
futile. Not because Norway lacks good sludge bands – there is quite
a few - but rather because few bands and records fall into one genre
alone. The «sludge» genre, or scene, encompasses a plethora of
elements and styles, and Norwegian sludge bands are just as diverse
as anywhere else in the world.
is said to originate in Montesano (US) with the band Melvins at the
end of the 1980s/early 1990s, with their take on heavy metal and
their doomy interpretation of Black Flag riffage. However, sludge is
also for many synonymous with the Black Sabbath worshiping
hardcore/punk/crust influenced bands of the southern state of
Louisiana in the US (the NOLA scene) with bands like Eyehategod,
Soilent Green, Crowbar and Down. Thematically this strand of the
genre is socially critical, full of repent and defeat, and advocate
pessimistic worldviews. Furthermore, some will also claim that
Neurosis is the godfathers of sludge, and the genre is thus
immediately pushed into the post metal terrain.
following is thus our take on the most important Norwegian sludge
records, as defined by us, released until now.
10. Kite – The All Penetrating Silence EP (2018)
Frustrated sludge with heavy metal influences. A bit more technical than most of their peers. Kite have become sludgier on later releases though, but this record shows a fine balance between heavy sludge riffage and beautiful harmonies.
9. Hombre Malo - The Ecstasy of Devastation (2009)
Dirty and primitive, and quite a few classic stoner elements in there as well. Underrated EP. Unfortunately, Hombre Malo is now defunct.
8. Tombstones – Vargariis (2015)
Tombstones were never better than this. Angrier and uglier than prior albums. Doomy time signatures that would make Al Cisneros proud. The band’s last record sadly. Still, a perfect way to end their sabbathian sonic journey.
7. Motorpsycho – Lobotomizer (1991)
Heavy, ugly, and grungy soundscape. Motorpsycho’s first record. A young mind’s struggle with the harsh reality of life. The lyrics on the last song “Tcf” must be the most disturbing lyrics Motorpsycho has ever written.
Doomed, downtrodden, and desperate, but not defeated. Mind boggling heavy riffing at times. The cold and wild cover art adds an essential element to it all. Just what Norwegian metal needed in 2017.
OK, so we might have been travelling some distance into post metal territory on this one. However, it is gloomy, slow, intelligent, and heavy. This record is dirtier than its predecessor «Like Iron We Rust», and that works. Both modern classics.
4. Okkultokrati - No Light for Mass (2010)
The debut from the Black Hole Crew, and it cannot be denied. Dirty, noisy, and esoteric sludge with elements of d-beat and black metal. In a league of their own. I’ll bet Fenriz spins this record on his hikes in the deep forests surrounding the Norwegian capital.
Two songs, 31 minutes and 29 seconds. Epic sludge doom in the vein of Neurosis. Those who do not get affected by the fuzz guitar sound and melancholic soundscapes on this record, is too numb to feel pain and too dumb to survive. “Let them yell/Let them thirst/Let them suffocate on every word!”
2. Reptile Master – In the Light of a Sinking Sun (2015)
The inquisitors from northern Norway. Slow and judging with tormented vocals. Like an ice-cold sunny autumn day in the mountains before the snow falls, but after the summer season has withered and died. The title song “In the Light of a Sinking Sun” might be the most beautiful thing to have come out of Tromsø in a 100 years.
Don’t let the title fool you. There is little sunlight to be enjoyed on this record. Rather, eternal darkness and doom rule the land. The Oslo-based trio offers distorted sludge with loads of harmonies, feedback, eerie themes, and desperate vocals. Norway’s finest.