Review: Sewer Goddess – Painlust


In under half an hour, Sewer Goddess‘s sophomore album Painlust leaves an impression like a wrecking ball through a treehouse.

Painlust bears impressive fruit when stacked against the band’s 2010 debut, With Dirt You Are One. These songs sing of their antecedents in groups like Godflesh or Eyehategod without stooping to rote idolatry, forcing onto the former’s template of repetitive percussion and alternating yelled and droning vocals the latter’s ferociously overpowering stew of toxic guitars and venomous shrieks. But for all the divergent weirdness of each composition, an unmistakeable thread of catchiness keeps the songs–even at their most droning–in the listener’s head for days.

It’s this sense of true songcraft that keeps the album together. A sense of impending collapse permeates the album; where lesser bands may be content to simply craft lazy blankets of warm sound with which to envelop the listener like a blanket, Sewer Goddess’s crushing heaviness is a thick fog of heat forcing its way down its audience’s throats. As drums crash, guitars unfold and vocals peal out as if attempting escape the clamor, everything is held together by the tight glue of the songwriting. This trait existed in nascent form on With Dirt You Are One, but on Painlust it’s a stronger, more emphatic beast allowed to flex its muscles.

The album’s first track, “Plague Axis,” is appropriately ominous and bleak, building for four and a half minutes and neatly illustrating what makes Sewer Goddess’ tense drones and somber cadences so darkly compelling, but it’s with the arrival of “My Grave” that the album proper gets underway. For the next five tracks, vocalist and primary songwriter Kristen Rose croaks her litanies of bilious hate over churning riffs and crawling percussion.

The album is hardly one-note, though; each song has a definite identity that shines through the muck. Clever twists like the choked harmonics and creeping synths of “Black Meat and Bones” are enough to grant the listener pause even in the midst of their annihilation, while the glacial stomp of “Get the Rope” makes clear the track’s intent to simply pound the listener into dust.

Never ones to operate without finesse, though, Rose and crew match every droning march with a thick, muddy haze of droning synths, echoing screams and ringing guitar chords. Hardly a moment of the album’s runtime is left unfilled by some kind of stuttering drum glitch or filthy, chunky bass line, leaving only the scant few seconds of introductory atmosphere opening most of the tracks as the only breathers. Synths fade in as if from the ether, with each instrument forming around them almost spontaneously, though the band’s attack is too calculated to have been the product of any mere chance.

Painlust is a violent, writhing, cryptic near-masterpiece, an exponential monument of outward growth from the otherwise rather mundane trappings of industrial and sludge, an integral new branch on the ever-expanding noise family tree. Wherever Sewer Goddess take their sound in the future, with the monumental growth displayed since With Dirt You Are One, it can only be forward.


Painlust comes out February 20th on Malignant Records. Keep up with Sewer Goddess and Malignant on Facebook and pre-order the album from Malignant’s website or on Bandcamp.

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  • Tyree

    This is agonizingly awesome. It’s like a more dreadful sounding Godflesh drenched in humanities filth and atrocity. Killer shit duder.

    • This is accurate. It’s almost like what I imagine Streetcleaner to sound like if it came out now.

      • Tyree

        That’s an interesting thought! I’d really like to hear this whole album now. This seems like one of those albums that takes some serious digesting; a painful digesting though. I’m really liking the vocals on this a lot too. Really harrowing sounding shit!

        • BASEDBEARD

          See I think the clean vox are what’s making this not my jam

  • I just will come to here to say this:

    “I saw the cover art and skipped directly to the credits to see if was a Molenaar’s review.

    It was”

  • Dagon

    I like sludge albums a bit on the short side. Sometimes they have the sort of “wtf just hit me” effect that makes you eager to get pummeled all over again. As soon as I stop listening to the new Tribulation track for the 89th time I’ll spin this.

  • Tyree

    Be sure to check out the song “Fog” on their bandcamp page too.

  • Fobban Kalukopteri

    As I said before. This I like.

    • Kuukupööpötin Tapir

      I agree with this stranger.

      • Fobban Kalukopteri

        So now I’m a stranger, eh!? That’s not what you used to call me, love.

        • Dagon
        • Kuukupööpötin Tapir

          I can’t make love to a man/bear who has seen 50 Shades of Grey.

          • Fobban Kalukopteri

            But I didn’t even enjoy it!

          • Piisamirotta Tapir

          • Fobban Kalukopteri

            Yrjänä’s soulmate.

          • Hey, Bestest Tapir… Did you included last Ghost Brigade to your 2014 list, right?

          • Piisamirotta Tapir

            It almost got on the first version. If I had done the list a little later, it would’ve been on it. I’m excited to see ’em live this summer.

          • Mnnn, weird. I thought I saw it in your list.

            Well, I tried to collect names from all of the Toilet lists in 2014. And I listened Ghost Brigade; so, thanks! 🙂 It’s a good record with the perfect vibes I like!

          • Piisamirotta Tapir

            It was on honourable mentions, so maybe you saw it there.

          • Oh, okk! Maybe was there.

            Another record of them that you can recommend to me, Tapir?

          • Piisamirotta Tapir

            Isolation Songs is a good one. The newest is probably my favourite of theirs.

          • Awesome! I will try to reach and listen that one! Also: another band with a related sound that you dig too?

            Thank you very much, Tapir.

          • Piisamirotta Tapir

            Barren Earth is quite tits.

          • They will have a new record as far as I know.

            I think I’ve listened entire The Devil’s Resolve. But I cannot remember very well of the record. I will try to spin it again.

          • Piisamirotta Tapir

            The Devil’s Resolve is a good album. Here’s a song from their upcoming album.

          • I shared in the FB group, but forgot to listen to it.

            It’s very good. The singer is awesome!

          • You CAN circle jerk with him though, apparently.

          • Fobban Kalukopteri

            Talk about passive agressive

            (Plz Babe, this isn’t even a long one)

          • Lacertilian

            And two people can’t form a circle without holding hands..
            *looks at @MetaAnus2:disqus & @nordlingritesovkarhu:disqus suggestively*


    I’ve known a couple sewer goddesses in my day

  • Edward/Breegrodamus

    Cool review Christian. I heard one of the songs at No Clean Singing (dunno which now) but this is one I definitely wanna check out in its entirety.

  • Mother Shabubu III


  • VVayne Brady

    I can enjoy this.

    • W,

      FYI, I sent you a message via email! Thanks man.


      • VVayne Brady

        I got it. Nordling sent me an idea I’d like to run for the next one, but I’ll keep yours in consideration.

        • Well, my opinion was to run it as a post of my own and not be affiliated with Think Tank. Completely separate. It is ready (by my opinion) in its current state.


          • VVayne Brady

            Most excellent. Sorry, I just scanned the title because I was in a meeting 🙁

          • Put it in wordpress plz.

          • It is in there and pending under Discussion: What Front man Attributes Are Crucial for Success? Thanks


          • VVayne Brady

            I’ll give it a looksee, hombre.

        • Maik Beninton

          Can next RotW be about riffs that go on the solo?

          • VVayne Brady

            I do not make decisions about RotW, my friend. That’s the Masterpants.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    sewer goddess remix–featuring ayn rand and pantera
    all 3 at once–full vol

  • Dagon

    I would never want to see a mask made of melena. Or someone called melena.

  • Stockhausen

    Listening to With Dirt We Are One until I’m on my home internet. I’m really digging this.

  • KimJongUn’s Dingleberry Smoke

    The Godflesh, it is strong with this one, definite!

  • HessianHunter

    What an obnoxiously metal band name and album title. Dis siqq.

    • This shit is banan…. I mean, this shit is pumpkins. P-u-m-p-k-i-n-s.


  • KimJongUn’s Dingleberry Smoke

    Oh, almost forgot: there’s a new band called Gruesome, with members of Exhumed, Possessed and Malevolant Creation. Now THIS I’m definitely checking out!

  • Virgil the Ghost Poet

    I’ve been waiting for this. I will be ordering CDs from that liable soon.

    • There are few labels more worthy of Virgil.

      • Virgil the Ghost Poet

        Thanks man. That’s the nicest thing I heard today. But I am going to get this and Theologian, and one more.