If ever there was a case of truth in advertising, this is it. London-based one man act Sloth live up to their namesake, and Slow As Shit is, well, pretty damn slow; but it sure isn’t shit. The cover-art and general aesthetics may not be the most inspiring, but the music contained within is a delightful strain of doom, all buried under a hazy cloud of smoke. Somewhere between Boris’ amplifier worship, the majesty of Pallbearer, and with a touch of Bongripper for good measure – not to mention a use of space and atmosphere that brings to mind both later-day Earth and hints of the most spaced-out prog rock – Slow As Shit is the kind of album perfectly suited for unwinding with at the end of the day, “medicated” or not.
It’s remarkable just how captivating and cathartic this album is, considering its relatively sparse nature. There’s no walls of volume crashing in with malicious intent; nor does the Sloth batter you with feedback and noise. Instead, Slow As Shit is all about riffs – long, slow, deeeep riffs to sink in to, progressing at a glacial pace. Small touches help provide texture and detail, rising out of the aether before fading away again – witness the synth melody during album centre-piece “Call Of The Sloth”, or the drone effects during “Green Sunrise”. It all helps ensure that, even if the album makes generous use of repetition, it is always for an ultimate aim, and never ends up feeling dull or boring. The sparse use of vocals is a plus too; the music is more than good enough to carry its own weight, and any additional vocals over the few that are present would probably be counter-productive – the mood and atmosphere create is just right, and there is no need to threaten it.
Slow As Shit isn’t just about playing slow and stoned, though. The ending of “Call Of The Sloth” is practically up-tempo for doom, with pounding drums and relatively restless guitars; whilst “Awaken That Which Lies Amongst The Trees” has an almost black metal feel (rather than blackened doom), that only intensifies as the song progresses, with the ending moments being almost Cascadian. None of this threatens the overall feel and vibe of the album though, which is to its great credit. If a straight-edge kid like me can get so in to a smoked-out doom record like this, then it must be doing something right (or very, very wrong – delete according to your prejudices). Just watch out for the final, bonus track, which is surely a joke, and almost spoils Slow As Shit. It’s the kind of album you want to just leave spinning on repeat for hours; not have to skip a track every time.
But “Smoke N’ Sleep” aside, Slow As Shit is an album far, far better than the cover art and title would ever suggest. It’s definitely an album for the end of the day, because once it gets you in its slow, powerful grip, it won’t let you go even after death. Sit back, relax, and let it flow over you.