trudger artworkBack in 2012, when an unknown band called Trudger released their debut three track EP, they ripped a brand new hole in the seams of the fabric of Barnsley’s music scene. United were the jaws of Barnsley’s extreme metal fans in their smashing to the flaw in awe of these young upstarts. After less than a handful of hometown gigs, they seemed to just disappear from the local scene. Then in late 2012, they surfaced in Manchester. Cult label, Church of Fuck records rereleased their debut on limited edition cassette and sending them on their way to play gigs with the likes of Bongripper, Oathbreaker and Conan.
And now, through COF records once again, they release their long-awaited debut album Dormiveglia (Italian for the state of being half-asleep or half-awake); eight tracks of progressive, white-hot metal from one of the finest young bands on the UK metal scene today.

The album opens with Into the Abysmal Future. Its sinister and dark first minute is the bleakest start to an album since them Black Sabbath bells tolled forty-four years ago – think Sunn O))) or Ulver. The preceding six minutes take everything that you found so mind-blowing about their debut EP and forcefully thrusts it back in your face. Outstanding dual vocals; one deep and guttural and the other hardcore. When they aren’t fusing Sludge and Doom with a low-end groove, they’re attacking with twin guitar riff upon riff upon riff. One track in and surely every trick in the extreme metal bag has been lobbed?

We’re straight into Become Joyless and the tangents and paths trodden reference acts as varied as Mastodon, Tool, Neurosis, Melvins and Cult of Luna. Tilikum is the first of two short instrumentals – or interludes – and it drags you right into the third song proper, Thickening Fog. Its thundering tribal beats and burning feedback are only sparks compared the five minutes that follows – literally the sound of a city being torched to the ground. And those vocals… hints of Deicide’s Glen Benton is never a bad thing.

Over half way and all if impressive so far. However, Barren Grey’s first half may suggest that the pace is tiring and it’s maybe one song too many in the similar vein, but boy am I wrong? The song’s second half sees the pace change, progressing into a slow, almost free form jam as the ashes slowly fall, the drums and bass fade away, leaving just the guitar to ring out into the ether. An impressive fallout and totally unexpected.
Second interlude, Devoid, recalls Mayhem’s The Vortx Void of Inhumanity and leads us into the closing two tracks, State of Constant Slumber and Morgued, which if these are anything to go by, will be the fifteen minutes that carve out the impressive future that is coming the way of Trudger. Slumber… starts off with a sombre lullaby of Eno-like metallic washes, then launches into five minutes of slow nihilistic rage, then a bombing campaign that could obliterate most, if not all competition.
Closing track Morgued is something very special. The template that Trudger has cut is interspersed with stabbing molten hot guitars, a Melvin’s like groove, and drummer Chris Leak waits until this last track to pull a number of surprises. It also sees the vocal performance of the album.

When you pick up an album by a band like Trudger, you do so knowing that you’re in it for the long haul. You don’t get songs shorter than six minutes and three of the eight tracks are over seven minutes. Albums like this are testing. But devouring Dormiveglia whole is part of the fun and ultimately, it’s a grewling but rewarding listen. Metal fans unfamiliar with Sludge metal or Doom maybe find this hard going – but nowhere near as much as Narwhal by the fantastic Undersmile or even Sunn O))). There are enough elements here to keep most metal fans excited – the riffs, those vocals, the hints of something altogether darker, with their black metal leanings.

Trudger are the most extreme metal band to come out of Barnsley since dot! And despite being the least commercial, they have produced and album of such sheer quality that they might just be the main contenders to make it on an international level. Despite the many nods to other bands, Trudger have carved out a unique sound, incorporating Sludge, Doom and Blackened Death Metal – bloody, raw and brutal. Suggestions of it being all grim up north do not cut it for these lads. They aren’t going to settle until the entire place is under ash!

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