Review: “Divination” by Slog
“Divination” represents the second album from Death Doom project Slog, the follow up to the late 2021 release “Graves” via Transylvanian Recordings and Morbid And Miserable Records from a duo in Jared Moran (drums and vocals) and Nicholas Turner (guitars and bass). Known to the relevant Government agencies for their separate prior convictions in Yzordderrex, Filtheater, 54R, Nothing Is Real, Moldering Vibration and Schizochristo, this project is not however the first time the duo have collaborated together, both have participated in Psionic Madness, Acausal Intrusion and Feral Lord to name but a few. The first Slog album brought enough deviation from their prior works to cause a stir, entrancing fans of sombre and savage darkness and “Divination” is no different, a collection of bleak hymns of ritual and reflection that offers catharsis from grief with primal reverence while seeking wisdom from those beyond the grave. An album of bone shattering intensity with eerie undertones as well as introspective melodic passages, there is far more here than meets the eye, the cover art offering just a glimpse into what is actually on offer just beneath the surface.
An extended instrumental passage approaching 120 seconds of off kilter guitar melody that feels slightly out of tune and unnerving at the same time brings the album to life upon Dr Frankenstein’s operating table with “Illuminated Expansion“. The beast then rises from the black lagoon with crushing Doom laden riffs and demonic vocals from Moran before a lightening bolt of a solo becomes the spark that ignites the inferno in similar fashion the spitting, snarling and downright venomous Snorlax. Leaning on Maryland Death Metal roots “Synthesis Sequencer” injects fresh life with a verve and energy to it before once again slowing down for a blunt force trauma style crushing conclusion, a demonstration of the kind of deviance that Moran and Turner are capable of when they put their heads together. That however doesn’t prepare you for a plethora of surprises that follow, starting with a stunning almost Jazz inspired solo in the first half of “Creeping Flora” that is eerily reminiscent of the work of Imperial Triumphant with its avant-garde ways. “Nation” era Sepultura chugging riffs run down the spine of “Theurgy Equinox” but at its heart is something of greater blasphemy as a slower and more morose solo clambers from the darkness only to drag its would be victim into the void with it.
The struggle continues into “Labyrinth Amulet“, the searing downtempo intensity building into a vibrant face melting solo surrounded by creepy riffage that will make the weaker willed grip the pillow tightly as the horrors continue to unfold. Moran’s vocals are indecipherable, his throat shredding roars an instrumental accompaniment to the atmospherics of the strings and percussive nuances that ache to be set free from the bottom of the poison well. “Bequested Endowment” has a couple of moments that echo Slayer in the final third, the riffs threatening to burst into Speed Thrash but instead falling into familiar territory before they reach critical mass. A near seven and a half minute display of pure torture, “Self Value That Utilizes Them” is as bleak and sombre as they come as Moran and Turner transition from the fun of the previous cut into this the blacker than the darkest night affair. It’s the kind of tune that if listened to in the midnight hour while attempting to fall into the arms of sleep induces madness with its wickedness. The riffs get fractionally faster with each loop through during the midsection, once again building to that downtempo Doom laden crush, this time stopping for another fretboard smoking solo enroute. All that is left is “Eucharistic Purification“, a magnum opus of a cut that encapsulates the album in a single near nine minute burnt offering that reflects the name of the bands label Morbid and Miserable in the shattered mirror for that is exactly what it is [7/10]
- Illuminated Expansion
- Synthesis Sequencer
- Creeping Flora
- Theurgy Equinox
- Labyrinth Amulet
- Bequested Endowment
- Self Value That Utilizes Them
- Eucharistic Purification
“Divination” by Slog is out 13th January 2023 via Morbid And Miserable Records and should be available over at bandcamp