Label Roundup: Sentient Ruin Laboratories

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Before we get started, I’d like to thank W. for inviting me to write my first post, and Joe for graciously agreeing to let me use his toilet as my megaphone.

And now that we’ve gotten the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s talk about Sentient Ruin, because Sentient Ruin rules ass. The label was initially started in 2012 as a way for the Oakland sludge band Abstracter to self-release their material and experiment with DIY. From there it grew into one of the more diverse boutique labels around, boasting a small but formidable lineup of grind, crust, sludge, death and noise bands from all over the world. With only 11 releases since its inception, Sentient Ruin has made the wise choice to focus on quality rather than muddy the waters with mediocrity for the sake of quantity. What we’re left with, then, is a small case of shining jewels where you could just as easily find a warehouse of barely sift-worthy roughage.

So let’s get cracking with our loupes and examine the goods, shall we?

Abstracter

Abstracter

As I said before, Abstracter started Sentient Ruin back in 2012 as a means of running a limited cassette release of their first album Tomb of Feathers, a three track maelstrom of sludged-out riffs tearing through a thick atmosphere of dingy psychedelic doom and post metal. Every note on this thing, even down to the more ethereal instrumental passages, is covered in soot. Vocalist Mattia exudes despair and pain, whether it be in the form of tortured roars or somber, almost chant-like clean singing.

Abstracter’s second album Wound Empire was released back in February and is an improvement on its predecessor in every way. The unruly track lengths have been whittled down, and the result is a more focused and overall tighter record. They’ve also tweaked the production on Wound Empire to incorporate a bit more noise into their sound, which adds some necessary harshness. Mattia’s roars are even more in-your-face, and it seems some of that torture has solidified into pure vitriolic rage. Wound Empire is exactly the kind of album Sentient Ruin needs to put itself on the proverbial map, as it should make its way onto at least a few of the more prominent end of year lists in December. Not that anyone besides posers should care…

 

american

american

Listen patriots, it’s not me who’s choosing to not capitalize American up there. It’s these dirty black metal fucks out of Virginia, whoever they are. While “Jimmy” and “Mike” may not be so keen on God, country, or capitalization, they are quite keen on bludgeoning your soft skull and setting your crust pants on fire with their unique brand of black metal, sludge and noise. Coping With Loss is a perfectly raw and filthy undertaking that vacillates from fast and murky black metal to slow, churning sludge. Take Nux Vomica‘s mix of sounds and chop those massive slabs they call songs into jagged kidney stones and you’re on your way to what Coping With Loss delivers. Cut the 17 minute track of aimless noise and electronics “Coping With Loss and the Insurmountable Guilt of Existing” from the end (they traveled that path brilliantly in the 3 minute instrumental interlude “Pulse Beating Slowly”), and you’ve got a nearly perfect EP of blackened sludge to die to.

 

Augurs

 Augurs / Deathgrave

Of all the excellent acts signed to Sentient Ruin Labs, Augurs is the most unfuckwithable of the bunch, and they’ve only released four tracks. Tyree wrote a few words about their first EP Old Ways a little while ago. The most recent track, “From Maggots to Flies, ” comes from their March 17th split with grind/crust labelmates Deathgrave. This sonic beatdown shoves sludge-caked grind into a muzzle, shoves the barrel in your mouth and threatens to pull the trigger. But instead of unfettered malevolence, Augurs eases the hammer down about two minutes in and begins weaving together a slow, booming foundation of bass that bolsters simple, elegant atmospheric guitar leads and turns the violence into something else altogether. Despair, or perhaps a sobering dream. And then it all fades into noise and ushers in the no-holds-barred destruction of Deathgrave.

Deathgrave has a much simpler take on this grind game than Augurs. Get in. Fuck shit up. Get out. It works for them on a surface level and these three tracks are as good as any to get the blood pumping and the head banging. I do wish for a little more substance here, but perhaps that’s only because I’m left feeling unsatisfied after the near-death experience unleashed by Augurs at the beginning of the split.

 

Leucrota

 Leucrota

Leucrota is a brand new band out of Santa Cruz who only started playing their first live shows last fall. On February 28, Sentient Ruin released the band’s first demo and consequently bled every metal writers’ ears dry. This is punk, crust and sludge shoved into a blender and set to pulverize. Is there a genre called Caustic Punk? I’m inventing it now. Congratulations, Leucrota, you are the first caustic punk band™.  These boys spill acidic venom aged 40 years inside a charcoal barrel all over everything – it’s almost as if the lo-fi production is a result of the music itself disintegrating the studio rather than an aesthetic choice. By the way, this is an old genre of writing called “hyperbole.” Fuck you, listen anyway. And keep an eye on these dudes because you’ll be seeing their names pop up often over the next few years.

 

buioingola

 

buioingola

Sentient Ruin describes buioingola‘s sound as Italian “neo-crust/gloom-doom.” Italian neo-crust sounds delicious, but I’m not tasting much of it here. Instead Dupo l’apnea – buioingola’s debut album – is a massive, muscular and melancholic thunderhead of ethereal sludge and doom. The torrential downpour of slow, melodic riffs and reverb-soaked roars comes in waves that wash you further and further from the shore as the thunder rolls all around. The more visceral, aggressive moments on songs like “Candida” evoke Winter Hours era Tombs‘ otherworldly blackened post-metal aesthetic that work as an attempt to tether these tracks to the surface. The effort might succeed if not for the 15 minute  epic “Oceano” that ends the album and sets in motion its inevitable journey to the bottom of the deepest sea, where the darkness swallows all.

(Photo VIA)
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  • Edward/Breegrodamus

    Holy fuck it’s Celtic Frosty (and he has Stockhausen Syndrome?)

    • “they are quite keen on bludgeoning your soft skull and setting your crust pants on fire…”

      And his words are dope!

      • Edward/Breegrodamus

        Abstracter’s “Lightlight” sounds p trill so far.

        • It sure as hell does! The riffs are tasty as an apple pie! OH MY!

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Fuck you, just listen.

            I’m gonna, lol

          • This conversation is developing quite nicely. I wonder that saucy fella is right now. SO MUCH RIFFING TO LIIIIIIIIIISTEEEEN TOOOOOO

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            GL I’m going to sample every one of these bands, and nothing can stop me.

          • I am not even going to try to stop you, ND. I on the other hand am going to try to not cherry pick a band – but listen to them all – straight through. Beat that.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I mean, that is normally what I would like to do (play an album all the way through) but I feel like I owe it to this finely written band roundup to sample all the merchandise (sounds like an innuendo a little, lol)

          • I am sure you brain is on music overload atm. Given that you can listen to music all day – errrrvery day.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I can, and I have been, but yesterday I didn’t listen to a ton of music between leaving the house a couple times and playing a shitload of Bloodborne (which I am finally not really to quit, lol).

            I did check out Death Grips’ The Powers That B and Imperial Triumphant’s Abyssal Gods from front to back, Death Grips is a double album and I played that Abyssal Gods way late last night. Checked out a few other songs and stuff too of course.

          • Scrimm

            It can overload you after to long. I’ve cut way down on the amount I listen too since I’ve been off so long. Usually an album guy but kinda burned out right now.

          • How is the job search coming? No interviews yet????

          • Scrimm

            Nothing new yet, but I expanded my search a lot this past week and am going back to update my profile at several places today.

          • Have you tried a temp agency before? My uncle used one to find his most recent job – found a place to work in like 2 weeks. I am sure it is not for everyone… but it might be worth looking into!

          • Scrimm

            You are the second person to bring that up recently. I hadn’t thought about it before but I do plan on looking into it.

          • Do it man! You might be surprised! Especially after your long and arduous search has not turned anything up yet. It can’t hurt

          • Scrimm

            This is very true. Was also thinking about getting my card for medical weed so I can apply at the dispensaries, but I really don’t need to spend the money. Could pay off though since so many of them are new there’s a lot of potential to advance.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Some of those places make an actual fortune.

          • Scrimm

            I believe it. I could easily work around buds all day lol.

          • KJM

            As could I.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            My best friend (who is sober, like me) said his brother-in-law was thinking of getting into that business when weed becomes legal here in Minnesota (I guess like 18 months, I don’t follow the news much) and we were joking about working in a place like that. Plus side, yeah, some of them make a fortune, down side, I dunno if I could work around weed and weed smoke forty hours a week. I mean, my sobriety is pretty solid, but that could be pushing it lol

          • KJM

            Yeah, that would be akin to an alcoholic working at a bar, probably not a good idea.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I’m guessing there are a few sober bartenders out there, though.

          • Goddammit. I just pasted the wrong sober bartender from Cheers. h8 myself.

          • KJM

            Oh sure, but they’re not necessarily alcoholics. They just don’t drink.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            tough line of work..its like going to a whorehouse to listen to the piano….lol

          • Scrimm

            I could see that for sure. I’m okay with it since weed is the only thing besides a moderate amount of alcohol I will ever mess with.

          • I already work around you buds all day long! lol

          • KJM

            It’s something, which is usually better than nothing. Can’t hurt.

          • Temp agencies can sonetimes be considered an audition for full time employment. If you are stuck, it’s not a bad short term solution.

          • Exactly.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I know you’re asking Scrimm, but I have some kind of hold on my unemployment since I had two jobs last year. It’s a good thing I have money saved, so not too big a deal, but if I did not this would be trouble.

          • Scrimm

            That sucks man. I was not eligible to draw unemployment, so I know how that feels.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I think I still am, but, they need to get their shit together lol.

            I’m going to begin my own massive job hunt a week past this Friday.

          • Scrimm

            Sending positive thoughts your way man. I had a dream I found out someone jacked my Identity and was screwing up any background checks, and another that my old boss was tearing me up when contacted. It’s hard to not get discouraged. I can’t believe I haven’t been called for more interviews.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Good luck to you too Scrimm. I may have mentioned this to you once, but in the last couple of years I went on one massive job hunt and didn’t get a job from the whole thing. I hope you get something soon!

            I had a dream last night I was in a strip club but all of the strippers were actually hookers and I was there to murder someone on behalf of someone else, far as I can tell. Gangland shit, haha.

          • Scrimm

            Hahahaha. I’ve had a couple people that meant a great deal to me start working in one of those places, had many crazy dreams about them over the years. Not for some time now though.

          • KJM

            Try to remember that we’re still dealing with a really shitty economy right now. Times is tough. It’s not just you.

          • Scrimm

            I have and it helps, but I’ve tried at a lot of places that I know are hiring and I am more than qualifed to work at too, so sometimes it’s hard to keep my head up. Really thought I had the record store thing, which I wanted more because I loved the damn store than because it was a great job. Seeing who they ended up hiring was even more discouraging.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Who’d they hire?!

          • Scrimm

            Some girl that looks about 18 and is the most rude person I’ve dealt with in a quarter century of shopping at that place. If I had it to do over again I never would have got out of the Army.

          • Speaking of the Army – my wife’s brother arrived at boot camp just yesterday. He is doing the Airborne school afterwards – from what I have heard…

          • Scrimm

            Good luck to him, it’s all in how you take it. I tried to go out for special forces selection(an on the job injury ended that idea) but I don’t know if I could have done the airborne thing anyways.

          • Have you tried getting a hair cut? Srs. A clean cut it always a good thing -when you do get called in for a interview. Make sure to get it cut 3 to 4 days before the interview so it has time to grow out a bit and not look totally “fresh”

          • Scrimm

            Lol if you saw me you’d know I wouldn’t cut my hair unless I was offered a ridiculous position. Also as far as that store goes I’m still more clean cut that most of the employees.

          • Appearance is everything! But, it sounds like you have locks of love so I do not blame you 🙂

          • Scrimm

            Yeah I spent a lot of time in positions that I was surprised I wasn’t pressured or forced to cut it in. At the length it is people just tend to compliment it actually. I am thinking about taking some of it off though, see if that helps.

          • i had three years of hair growth (RFI), and cut it october of last year. i regret it every day.

          • I keep a solid 1/4″ hair cut at all times. Life if so much easier that way!

          • Scrimm

            I have to be careful mine doesn’t get caught in my belt when I get dressed.

          • WHOA. Can we get a pic of your hair?

          • Scrimm

            The fb group got a headbanging video

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            your what?

          • Scrimm

            HAHAHA

          • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan

            i have red blue white pink purple hair with black streaks

            -daisygirl408, 5 months ago

          • I think you mean you have black hair… with red, blue, white, pink, purple streaks. lol

            GL, right fucking now

          • the red Wahl attachment?

          • Black Remington Clippers, son!

          • Scrimm

            I regret it too.

          • TrickleDownOvTacoKvltRiff

            restore the shore (hair)! start now…

          • J.R.

            I got my hair cut on a Tuesday and they called me in for an interview on the Wednesday. Nothing is more awkward then trying to sell yourself for a position while feeling “changed”.

          • I’ve been going through my back catalog. I usually know if I’m going to like something the second I hear it so it’s a little easier for me to check out new stuff.

          • Scrimm

            I’m the same way with checking out new stuff. Doesn’t take long to figure out if it’s worth my time.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            There was a day last week where I listened to four metal albums back to back (I could list them if you are wondering, I remember them) and the next day I was a little blasted out, haha.

          • Lets see that list, buddy!

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I posted it on the Facespace but for completionist purposes:

            Leviathan | Tenth Sub Level of Suicide

            Krieg | The Black House

            Today Is The Day | Animal Mother

            The Body | Christs, Redeemers

            yeah the next day I was kaput.

          • Might have to give those a try after I listen to the 4 hours of music in this post lololololol

            My caffeine high is at an all time record at the moment. I AM ON FIRE

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I’m finishing my first mandatory cup of coffee of the morning but in honor of your Muhammad Ali-like declaration I might just jam another cup.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Oh! Don’t listen to our dear friend Bear God regarding Leviathan’s early records (Tenth Sub Level of Suicide and Tentacles of Whorror) – they both rule butts.

          • The Beargod

            Oh! Don’t listen to our dear fiend Edward regarding earle Leviathan. He doesn’t know ehat he’s talking about, they are a waste of your time.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Bear God! Lol

          • The Beargod

            The people deserve the truth!
            😉

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Bear God what are your thoughts, now that they have had time to settle, on Abyssal Gods? I played it again last night, it’s awesome. I might play it again today before my better half comes over.

          • The Beargod

            I like it. There are some less than stellar song but overll it’s good. O still think the last three songs was an odd decision. The whole loses a little strength and intensity in it and the interlude costs Abyssal Gods some momentum too. But it’s not thoroughly disturbing.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Pyrrhon’s Growth Without End EP is going to slay other albums in its five track run.

          • The Beargod

            When’s it out?

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            I think June, digital and vinyl. I’m copping it on digital fo sho.

          • RepostedAvengedSevenfoldFan

            A real fan sings their music, obsesses over them, and dreams of going to their concerts and hugging them. I bet you don’t even know their names.

            -Vinyl Scratch, 3 months ago

          • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

            I think I remember the name of about 1 dude out of all the bands that I like

          • Scrimm

            Backed

          • IT FEELS LIKE

            IT FEELS LIKE I’M ON FIRE

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_z5LnkAixhg

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            This is a good song. I remember reading about The Human Abstract from the MS/FFB days.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Oh haha, I bet a dime to a dollar I made the exact same comment on his article!

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Abstracter’s “Lightless” ✔

            I’m gonna push play on american’s “Ritual Suicide” and see how long I wanna listen to that.

          • do you listen to music, or just skim through it?

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            Shots fired McNulty – see my below comment for more info.

      • Edward/Breegrodamus

        GL I’m working my way through this stuff, just so you’re up to date lol

        • Good. I just finished the first album, literally just started the second!

  • Tyree

    Hail Filth.

  • Tyree

    I enjoyed Dopo l’apnea. I think Kim Kelly wrote about them or some shit a couple years ago. All I know is the song “Rigurgito” on that album is dark as fuck. Eerie shit.

  • CyberneticOrganism

    Sentient Ruin Laboratories is an unassailably badass name.

    And great first article Celtic Frosty.

  • Scrimm

    Cheking these out once I finish with the Sulphur Aeon album stream.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
  • Dr. Dubz

    Great stuff, Frosticle. I’ve jammed american and boioioing before, but not as familiar with the others.

    • Tyree

      american is knew to me. Not to bad.

      • Dr. Dubz

        Pretty vitriolic stuff. I’m trying to remember where I got that tip.

        • I dig the band too. Could have sworn I first heard them from a GK post.

          • Dr. Dubz

            Ah, that’s probably it.

          • Edward/Breegrodamus

            GK’s influence on the Toilet is far reaching it seems.

  • You guys hear about the Tool leak?

  • Would Spine Excision be a good name for a death metal band?

  • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

    Abstracter slays. Rest is ok, probably going to listen to some more of Augurs. Also, the fact that buioingola has no spaces between the name really bothers me.

  • I checked Augurs 1st, that shit is dirty and I need a shower now. Welcome to the TovH writers club!

  • Celtic Frosty

    Hi

    • Edward/Breegrodamus

      Yo

      • Shrimp in a Pizza Box

        Sup

    • welcome to the toilet! (lolz)

    • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

      Haroo.

      • Dude that Drown song by BMTH was pretty good. I listened to it a handful of times this morning!

        • Formerly Known As Oli Sykes

          I know, fans get at it for basically being a pop song and not being like Count Your Blessings, but 1) as I said in the roundup, its a good pop song, and we more of those, and 2) BMTH are not the same band that made Count Your Droppings and Suicide Season, and for the most part they’re better for it.

    • Stockhausen

      ayyy lmao

      • Dagon

        Ayy lmao

    • The Beargod

      Vää

  • Stockhausen

    Excellent roundup and writing debut! I’m looking forward to spending some time with these.

  • Stanley

    “The unruly track lengths have been whittled down, and the result is a more focused and overall tighter record”. Lol. There’s only one song under 10 mins. I do like this record though. I like to listen to it in one sitting or it’s kind of hard to tell which song is which.

    • Celtic Frosty

      Haha yeah, I know. “Tomb of Feathers” shortest song was 11 minutes, though. They do go on.

  • Enjoying Leucrota as well. Pretty unique sounding stuff.

  • Dagon

    I dug Abstracter a while ago, will check out the rest.

    Great article was great.

  • Dagon

    The second track of “american” begins with the same google translate voice used in Prowler In The Yard. Me likey.

  • Simon “Djentcrusher” Phoenix

    Good write-up, Frosty.

    This label seems to be for sludge what Unspeakable Axe is for thrash. All of the bands here are some good and filthy stuff. I especially like Abstracter

  • CT-12

    Simply put, great job CF. If anybody needs an ol’ palette cleanser after this gnarly shit, here’s this funky ass track (basically just been looking for an excuse to post a song from these guys) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-gcfQhR_9c

  • dr.derelict

    Great write-ups, CF.

  • Virgil the Ghost Poet

    Nice work Frosty pants, I will spend time listening to this. I like sludge. Thank you.