Sithter's Chaotic Fiend is a Drunken Doom Delight
Me and my big mouth. Considered by some of the Kaala members as the “resident viking” I've always talked at great length about Black Metal, especially the trve Norwegian variety (I'm from Norway, what else would you expect?!), but I love Doom metal just as much. Whenever I shoot gigs that are not of a doomy disposition I always end up complaining to the Kaala staff about the lack of heaviness. No surprise, then, that I was given the task to review Tokyo's Sludge sorcerers Sithter's new album, Chaotic Fiend.
However, this presented a new problem for me, and also a sort of gripe with the band, although not in a bad way. Just a point of frustration: Genre. How do I define a chaotic mix of Sludge, Doom, Stoner and Hardcore? Maybe just call it Doom? Hmm, no, that doesn't work: The riffs certainly pay homage to Black Sabbath and the ever-influential Church of Misery, but there's this speedy and dirty Hardcore-ish influence here that I just can't shake. Would this album be a good indication of how a 90's Hardcore album would sound if I fucked with the speed settings on my record player and set it to slow-motion? Maybe.
The atmosphere and sound of this evil slab is hard to describe so I'll just say this: What if Electric Wizard were drunk instead of stoned? Imagine Jus Oborn (guitar/vocals of Electric Wizard) being totally drunk, trying to play Hardcore but somewhere he got his pedals mixed up and he just kept playing faster. Do I like it? Yes. Absolutely. I thank Sithter every day for bringing something new to the table, something fresh and also incredibly catchy without sounding like Down.
Chaotic Fiend presents us with 9 tracks on the album, most ending up at the 7 minute mark and a couple of shorter ones to spice it up. Soundwise, I was expecting something similar to their earlier release Evilfucker, but the Coffins-esque Doom-n-Roll feel had somehow evolved into something different. The first track, also the title track ends up as my favorite track, simply because of the heavy sludgy main riff and because of the awesome use of noisy pedals. This use of noise and flanger-sounding pedals turned out to be a prominent aspect later on in the album, which probably ending up defining my listening experience as a whole. Simple and heavy riffs are usual enough, but I'd say that the pedal use really sets Sithter apart from their colleagues
The next track, "I Drink Your Blood" continues the sludgy heaviness heard on the first track, but here we can hear the speed increase a bit. The Hardcore influence starts to show, and with that change in speed, the riffs start to remind me of early Black Sabbath and Church of Misery. Funky Doom as I call it, and its very catchy indeed. Not to be confused with Tokyo's Disco Doom ensemble GUEVNNA though, this is funky… just not so danceable. More like easy-listening Doom, if that sound ever existed. Martini Doom, perhaps? Now that I think about it, Sithter might have created an entirely new approach to playing Doom with this release. The album continues on with many great tracks, another slow and doomy favorite "Masque of The Black Death" included, mixing classic Sabbath style riffs, noisy pedals, tremeloes and vocals I can only describe as angry hardcore.
I guess this pretty much sums it all up: A drunk Toni Iommi trying to play hardcore while Ozzy tries out some new brutal vocal style that hasn't been invented yet. This interesting sound was what drew me into the world of Sithter in the first place, and if you are keen on adding something different to your boring Doom collection I can honestly say that Sithter’s Chaotic Fiend will make ripples in the endless sea of dumbed-down and generic Doom.
Chaotic Fiend will be available December 9th on Bandcamp.