Friday, March 8, 2013

Mudlark - Mudlark / A.D.H.D. + 7" (2009)

Full Length + EP, Schizophrenic Records
June 1st, 2009

  
Genre: Grindcore/Sludge
Region: Canada

It's safe to assume you're all probably tired of the core being touted around here by now, especially if it's branded with a maple leaf, but bear with me for one more post before I try to diversify a little.

One of the reasons for me posting this, outside this being really good, is that there's virtually no digital presence of this great sludge infused grindcore act and thus it's hard to get a taste of what they're dealing out. That's a shame because I managed to get a copy of this compilation recently, a rare and dusty version of their record release edition of Mudlark / A.D.H.D. — and I'm really enjoying it. I guess those dedicated and in the know of local grindcore scenes have been aware of these guys since 2006 but it's time I try to untuck Mudlark from the grime and write some words about what they've concocted.

I'm a little confused as to if this is a compilation or a full length and EP actually but for now it's the only material I've been able to get my hands on physically or digitally. I'm calling it a full record and a bonus 7" which may or may not be self-titled. There's some footage of them playing out there too if you're interested.

Anyway Mudlark were a four piece once but the majority of their existence has been as a three piece, the members over the years being involved with Massgrave, Osk, and Scumbelly which makes a lot sense when you hear some of their tracks. The slower moments easily make the jump from this to some of Osk's slow-downs. I'm still uncertain as to their current status because I've heard they have splits that are in the works and also that they broke up a few years back (which would be a major shame). There's footage of them in 2010 but not much else in the 3 years since.

This elusive Vancouver mutant is draped in kaleidoscopic imagery of mines abandoned and collapsing, enclosing a sound that is one part grindcore or powerviolence and the other is vaguely sludge and doom. And when I was absorbing the music while admiring the art (both the above version, plus the original artwork much like the 7" below) it was easier to see some of the links in imagery, concept, and the sound/style: the quickness and finality of a mine shaft collapse, wood splintering and rock grinding on rock crushing bodies in an instant. An explosion that rips through metal tracks and bodies. The grind they make is very much on this side. Other times the mine traps you and slowly starves you of light and oxygen in cold, rough abyss. The sludge is here, calculated and crawling. The only problem is there are no lyrics but I have some suspicions based on the above.

Overall the resulting sound is arguably similar to Black Arrows of Filth And Impurity if the sludgey aspects were emphasized more. And Mudlark do enter comparable atmospheres, once or twice in shorter tracks like the wonderfully brutal "Old Black Wood" but two more surprising tracks experiment in this direction. First the six minute "Blood Movement" which grows slowly with intoxicating, meandering slams simultaneously from the cymbals and guitar, mushrooming sporadically, climbing and falling — finally setting into a very comfortable rhythm. Hypnotic and heavy as fuck.

Then there's eight minute closer "Swamp College" is where you really hear the doom influence. It stretches with noise between trudging guitar blows, an entire section that sounds similar to a section in either a Weakling or Dispirit song; picking up and becoming more martial with some added angularity by the end. It's enormous and hard not to enjoy if you love weighty riffs. As it progresses Mudlark create a very enjoyable drone I think. Both of these longer songs are similar to the chaotic final tracks on "1984 (Eternal)" but with more structure, and leading to a more recognizable place.


Unlike the previously mentioned monsters of this record which come clean with the slowness up front, sometimes Mudlark disguise the beginning of a track as chaotic which leads one to believe more mincing will be the focus — when suddenly the e-brake is pulled and you're suffocating again. So just when you're into the mincing groove they will snap you back with a huge dirge.

They're very good at doing this. "A.D.H.D" is a great opener and shows the above formula off perfectly. It might be one of my favorites and it blends smoothly with the following track "Napalm" which is gripping too, thrashing for a good portion of the track before slowing to a drag. "Face Your Hate" and "Lie To Speak" take the opposite approach and are no less intense or absorbing and "Frank Slide" is a crusher with real ugly vocals. "Gross Shitty Mess" (all slow) and "Agravated Brain" mix the flailing fury with the drudgery similarly in a very short span of time. They make it a varied experience without lessening the ferocity at all. "Agravated Brain" is a memorable track too for being a particularly harsh bludgeoning.

The discernible grind influences they play with range from Norwegian Gadget style with very clear North American Insect Warfare contamination making for a very gritty and thick sandblasting when they're at full speed. Tracks like "Crematorium Grinder", "Klunk", "Rapid Mangulation" (frantic and amazing song that borders on death metal), and "Kunumdrum" (a burst of "Swamp College") which all stand alone as malicious whirlwind grind without contamination from the slower styles. Blazing riff conniptions ending with feedback usually.

And then we have the self-titled 7" record hat came with the main LP. It has four extra tracks to add to the pile of disorienting grind though not necessarily anything to go bat-shit about: "Told How To Live" and track three are minute long hammerings while "High" and "Carolyn's Catalog" take a more slow and groovy approach. I prefer the longer tracks on this one but nothing here is bad by any means.

The production is damn nice across both records for a small band, the bass and vocals stand out between the chaos of the percussion and guitars. No plastic feel, there's still plenty of grit and rawness and weight behind each jagged sound. Speaking of vocals they' re as you would expect: raspy, sometimes pained screams and disgusted roars from multiple members. Nothing feels out of place there. Overall what I really like about Mudlark (outside of the local bias) is they seem to be lurking and altering the dark and ugly path that defunct Black Arrows of Filth And Impurity took, and I'm always looking for bands that do this. Dephosphorus and A Scanner Darkly come close as do Crowpath sometimes. Mudlark flip the switch cleanly and churn out gold on both fronts.

So you're lucky if you've been searching for this and manage to catch the link before it gets taken down because I took the time to rip both the LP and the 7". If you like it I encourage you to head over to Schizophrenic Records and ask if they have copies available, or Give Praise Records who have a few copies I believe (also having a massive LP sale). Or if you're in Vancouver the Zoo Shop has the standard version of the record release edition for $40 I believe. Fans of the above mentioned bands plus stuff like GridLink and Discordance Axis will enjoy the hell out of this.

(also let me know how dropcanvas and the new Mega work)

LP + 7" :

DOWNLOAD (Zippyshare)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)
DOWNLOAD (Mega)
DOWNLOAD (Dropecanvas)

2 comments:

  1. Mega works and seems quite sturdy. The odd thing is it downloads in your browser and only after it has finished downloading does it prompt you to 'save as' - wherein it saves the entire file in an instant.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I agree. Mega works great, and it's fast too

    ReplyDelete