Review: Waft – Chronolith

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All too often when I see the tags sludgestoner, doompsychedelic, crust and metal, I’m lured into a false sense of security, assuming that I will surely find something worth investing my time. With the sheer myriad of bands that fall into those categories comes an ever-declining probability of finding a keeper. Although I can usually find something that doesn’t allow me to return, there’s always the potential for that next band to be the one who’s going to satisfy. When a band has all of the aforementioned tags, I easily submit, bending and trailing like the last escaping wisp of smoke from a putrid pipe being drawn into the beckoning black-tarred chasms that are the lungs of a lifelong bong-rat. 

Let’s get the ceremony started, stab play below.

Waft are a quartet hailing from Greenville, South Carolina. Although they formed in 2011, their only previous release was a live album which came out in April last year titled Live At Ground Zero 04/18/2014. However, on August 14th this year, Waft independently released this six-track beast of an LP titled Chronolith. Clocking in at just over 33 minutes, this collection of fungal-infected sludgy doom metal doesn’t outstay its welcome. Showing a thorough understanding of the integral components which make each genre tick, Waft harness and fuse the strengths from the aforementioned styles, creating a palatable flavour of their own. A pungent yet highly comestible hybrid strain, worthy of ingestion.

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Indeed it would be remiss of me to not mention the subtle nods to progenitors Black Sabbath (Masters Of Reality-era) and to a lesser extent, Sleep, I feel it is a necessary comparison to make. However, rather than dwell in mimicry on Chronolith, Waft tactfully use the groundwork laid by the forefathers and build an interesting framework from which to explore the ether. By now, you’re most likely sitting amongst the somewhat foreboding ringing chords that draw-out between the end of the intro until the 2-minute mark of “Eternal Sigh”. Then it kicks in. Like all psychoactives, there is the slight restlessness of anxiety before the journey commences. Those ominous tritones up front were your portents. Now your ride begins.

After the initial driving rhythms of the first track slip away, the muddy dirge-like psych aspect reveals itself through the second track Pompous. Replete with a fuzz-drenched bending blues solo to cap it off, this track is a grower that will remind you that while your eyes may be searching upwards, your feet are firmly planted in the mire. The jaunts into doom territory continue into the third track (“G.C.C.G.”), with the hostile vocals never showing a hint of remorse or potential for solace to be found amidst the swamp. It’s up to you to embrace the filth rather than let it choke you out. Next up is “Warpaint”, one of the strongest and most sonically diverse tracks on the album. Churning up the dirt while bruising along at a hastened speed and burning the bridges as it passes, leaving you little choice but to clamour aboard and join the downhill run unto your end. The last two tracks, “Southern Sky” and “Alamut” are covered in the same palpable earthy ochre that is smeared over this release. When it’s all over, you’re left with the lingering taste and the urge to inhale again.

By now you should know whether or not you’re going to revisit this morass of your own accord. I know I will be; I’m rapt with it, and I am yet to indulge in its charms while wandering the green fields. There is a certain swagger to the sound as it meanders between styles. This rambling nature is emphasised by the bass, which throughout the album does enough to keep things interesting without ever becoming a distraction, while the guitar tone makes me keen to amp up and play along. For me, this album is a solid debut and is sure to become a keeper.

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Head over to Waft‘s facebook page and let them know where your trek began and pick up Chronolith on their bandcamp page (it’s name your price but undoubtedly worth at least a lazy $5).

(Image via)

  • Paddlin’ Rites ov Beargod

    Very jammin’. Will jam again, with jam/10

  • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

    Fucking Ay, this is pretty fucking kick ass so far. Reminds me of Grief and Noothgrush but with a psychedelic twist to it; just some good ol’ crusty and hateful sounding sludge. I can dig it.

    • Vote for Jeb

      There’s a Noothgrush on my toothbrush.

      • The Haunting Presence of Tyree
        • Vote for Jeb

          I’ve listened to them. I’m just contractually obligated to tell that joke every time someone mentions them.

          • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

            I’ve been listening to them for years and I still don’t know the meaning of their name.

      • I read “There’s A Wocket In My Pocket” to my 2 year old a few nights a week along with 5 other books.
        #ToiletConfessions

    • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

      Definitely sensing a lot of Sleep and old Electric Wizard influence on this one, but with death metal vocals thrown in a la Winter.

  • Feelin’ this my cold blooded Austrailian. The review is spot on as well.

  • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

    If you live in greenville sc, you HAVE to smoke weed

    • Dagon

      It’s destiny

      • KJM

        Destiny of The Dank.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          Dankstiny

    • Óðinn

      It’s true. They have these signs everywhere as you enter the city…

      • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

        Do they have a statue of Nile in the middle of the city?

        • Óðinn

          Yes.

        • Óðinn

    • Lacertilian

      I was going to make a joke about the name but as I have no frame of reference I didn’t wanna be the Donny.

  • KJM

    Good stuff.

  • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

    That album art is pretty damn grim too. Good shit.

  • Dagon

    Very good review. Checking out this band will be the first thing I’ll do after getting home from the hospital.

    All of those tags make me erect.

    • It’s very rare that all those tags live up to the billing but in this case they do.

      • Dagon

        That’s why I need to listen to it.

        • Knowing your tastes, I think you’ll find this to your liking.

          • Dagon

            I do. It’s been treating me real nice so far.

          • Lacertilian

            I thought it might feel good passing through your gills.

  • JWEG

    Question: if I gave them 5 *Canadian* dollars would that be okay, or would it seem like I’m using the crap current currency exchange rate to my advantage?

    • Guacamole Jim

      If you can use that shit to your advantage, do it.

    • Lacertilian

      Australian dollars are much the same as yours so there’s no shame here.

  • The Haunting Presence of Tyree

    Keeping it sludge here. This song, I can really relate to today.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pq3k1U2FSJ4

  • Guacamole Jim

    “the last escaping wisp of smoke from a putrid pipe being drawn into the beckoning black-tarred chasms that are the lungs of a lifelong bong-rat.” That basically describes the music right there, in the best possible way.

  • Vote for Jeb

    Lacertilian, you’re killing it with your reviews lately. I’m going to pat your little lizard bottom.

    • Dagon

      Do it gently.

    • Lacertilian

      You’re now a registered whacka of the cloaca.

  • Ground Zero is a horrible venue

  • Waynecro

    This may help mellow me out after I got all jazzed up about the bands in Tech-Death Thursday.

  • CyberneticOrganism
    • KJM

      I’m as blank as a fart.

      • CyberneticOrganism

        Farts are full of stuff. Like poo.

        • KJM

          The main reason I want 2016 to hurry up and get here NOW.

          • There’s going to be some seriously epic circlejerking when we get there . . .

          • KJM

            Actually, the best thing that will come out of 2016(for me anyway) will be pot legalization in Massachusetts. No matter how the rest of the whole deathmatch goes, I can still look forward to that.

          • Maybe some day, when all the snowbirds are potsmokers who migrate from states where it’s legal, Arizona will finally get on that bus . . .

          • more beer

            Arizona is an mmj state. So that is a start. Ballot incentives is how it`s worked everywhere else. The will of the people and not of the politicians.

          • I won’t pretend to understand the political nuances (…?…) of the state I currently live in. Just seems like 1/2 the votes on any given issue are cast by decrepit white conservatives who only reside here for 1/2 the year . . .

          • KJM

            There’s some crossover between conservatives and liberals on legalization. It’s far more likely to happen in the Southwest than the Deep South.

          • more beer

            The one thing they all have in common is GREED!!! They all see the tax revenue and it turns them all into Scrooge McDuck.

          • more beer

            They are old and will hopefully all die before to long. They should have to vote in their home state and not their vacation state. That`s kind of shitty they can throw the whole state into turmoil.

          • xengineofdeathx

            Sounds like you’re talking about my state!

          • BEARD OV GREAT DAWKINS

            Itll probably be a while for NC, at least not before that scrub McCrory is out of office

          • KJM

            This will be citizen ballot initiative, no politicians required and damned near impossible to overturn.

          • more beer

            That is pretty much how it`s been everywhere. If we were to depend on the politicians. We would all be dead before it happened.

          • KJM

            That’s how we did decrim and mmj as well, both won by around 60%-40%.

        • Óðinn
  • xengineofdeathx

    I don’t think I’ve heard some sludge this hateful since Graves at sea!

  • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

    “Eternal Sigh” sounds EXACTLY like Sabbath’s ‘Electric Funeral’ at the beginning. Overall, not bad at all though. Sludgy and fuckloads of feedback, just the way I like it. Then some tasty Sleep style riffage.

    https://orlandooomdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/late-to-doom.jpg

    • KJM

      45 minutes late to Sunn O))) show
      Still made it before the first riff ended

      • Heroic Iron Boogers Of Doom

        Can’t say I’ve ever been to a doom metal show, but it does make me kick myself in the ass considering how many times I’ve smoked up before a show.

  • InfinityOfThoughts

    *cough cough*

    This is some good shit man…

    If, perhaps, someone was looking for more of this, where would said person find it?