Clagg - 2013 - Gather your beasts (Review)

Allright. We've started this blog with Clagg's "Lord of the Deep" album.
And It's a honor for us to represent ya the fresh beast from the distant lands....
After 4 years of silence and  some line-up changes here it comes - the slowest and heaviest concrete mixer in the Galaxy !


With the worldwide doom scene drowning in in endless attempts of self-replication with most of the bands preferring to stick to the well-recognized formula instead of retaining the face of its own, many young bands have disappeared in the oblivion of creative hiatus or simply faded into obscurity after such a long gap between releases. This is especially true if the band has failed to gather a decent following on the back of the previous releases, making the return more challenging. All this doesn’t apply to Melbourne’s sludge/doom outfit  CLAGG, whose 4-th coming is not only the continuation of the previous glory, but a step forward to some extent.
Yep, four long years of tedious waiting have finally come to an end, and Australian finest sludge/doom formation CLAGG are back with the 4-th full-length entitled “Gather your beasts”- and quite frankly the 4th gathering of the Melbourne’s purveyors of ear-splattering madness has produced one of the heaviest albums this fall, if not the entire year to say the least.  

The first listening of this beast left me with an irresistible urge to take it for one more spin ,as the relentless mixture of filthy sludge occasionally blended with touches of Sabbathian  doom  and at many points retaining high degree of commonality with the Cthulthu-influenced riffage of the “Lord of The Deep” was too much for me adopt a superficial approach, so I simply decided to indulge myself and  started the album from the very beginning. 

What immediately becomes apparent, especially throughout the second ride, is the abundance of versatility the guys have achieved here, which make it like there was no rupture in time. Everything what we have loved Clagg for is here and straight to the point, without backspeppings or any deviations from the traditions of the previous release. I think that everyone has already understood that what we have on the 4-th album is the continuation of the “Lord of The Deep” era traditions, which even at that time was to some extent an attempt to satisfy wider audience in my opinion. The gargantuan mammoths prevalent on “Where The Dead Gods Sleep” have been given back seat in favor of more groovy and “peaceful” passages, while occasional presence of more doom-laden parts  could have been easily rejected in favor of slower-paced, feedbacked monstrosities of  “Where the Dead Gods Sleep”. Yes, I do confess to the fact that “Where the Dead Gods Sleep” is my favorite one ,and simply cannot count all hours  that I had spent listening to the album’s opener “Iron Halo”.  Whether that was the pinnacle of  excellence or simply a delusion induced by my nostalgic mood is difficult to say for sure, but we are moving forward and even though he material presented on “Gather your Beasts” is slightly different from the band’s second effort, it is still heavy and down-tuned to the degree ferocious enough to reach the deepest bowels of the Earth…. Yes, too much blah-blah here. IT FUCKING GRABS YOUR BALLS TO SAY IN SIMPLE TERMS. 

The album starts with a couple of sludgy tunes “Five Curses” and “Gather your Beasts”.  Both tracks are complete with fuzzy distorted bass, throaty and ferocious vocals and thick riffage, but at some point have a Southern touch to it with occasional “bluesy” solos protruding from the impenetrable wall of heaviness. 

"The Great Mortality" proves to be a little deviation from the overall crudeness and aggression of the rest of the album, with obviously more metallic riffage  laying the foundation of the song and providing lethal dose of groove. This peaceful and accessible tone eventually evolves into comatose misery ( beginning from 4:30), with lengthy solo accompanying slow and repetitive riffs. This song is more representative of doom than sludge, but not even for a second it paints an image of being superfluous.

“The dream is Dead “ expand  the ideas of the previous songs , offering a catchy cocktail of  fuzzy riffage,  hypnotizing grooves and sick vocals proving that Australian guys still have what it takes to  deserve a place in my  top 5 best sludge albums of 2013.
And album closer “Pathways to oblivion”  is a remastered version from the Clagg's debut album "Let The Galaxy Burn" (2005). It Still full of hate and high energy !
“Gather your Beasts” is definitely adhering to the traditions of “ Lord of The Deep” and lacks the unfriendliness  of “Where the Dead Gods Sleep”, but still has everything what Clagg has been worshipped for. If you’re  still not familiar with Clagg, I could recommend this album to fans of Weedeater, Negative Reaction, Sleep, Iron Monkey, Sourvein, When the Deadbolt Breaks.

(Review by Den)

buy Clagg's CDs here (LPs are on the way too) :