the new album by Slomatics (a hyperpower sludge/doom trio from Belfast) isn’t just heavy. Future Echo Returns is perfectly and wonderfully heavy, and it’s the logical sequel to Estron (2014), but it isn’t just that. As soon as you get accustomed to the incredible level of heaviness provided by the first two tracks, you begin to feel something else. It must not go unnoticed, btw, the spectacular transition between those two tracks: from the furious chaos of Estronomicon’s ending (a title which marks strongly the link with the previous album) to the supersimple and superheavy riff of Electric Breath: a very, very simple rhythmic figure, but played with such strenght and sound to be put on repeat for hours (pure headbanging bliss, that kind of a blow I’m always awaiting to be knocked down).
Some tracks’ titles give you a clue of what’s happening: Ritual Beginning, Super Nothing, Into the Eternal. As the record goes on with the carpet bombing of riffs, you can feel, for instance, the heaviness of Electric Breath, which is definitely going downwards, deep in the ground, starting track by track to go upwards, into the air above. I wouldn’t call it spiritual doom, but as you get to Into the Eternal, with its chanting and slow procession of big chords, you may hear something quite ritual, almost liturgical: an unexpected choral, an anthem to sing along.
I mentioned the previous album, Estron, and the ingredients of Future Echo Returns could easily be listed as the same – still, the results sound different, at least to me: they are seven Slomatics’ songs, brought to a higher level, higher and better. Many thing are quite the same, and at the same time they are quite better, they are ‘perfected’.
And there is this very interesting ambiguity, this strange, exciting uplifting heaviness which seems to me a major accomplishment. Outstanding.
Yours heavily, mp