Terminator 2 - Self-titled Cassette

As I've said before, I've become very, very bored with just about everything that falls into the "sludge" or "post-metal" genre, as it all just sounds formulaic, uninspired, and flat. There are, of course, exceptions, because there are some great sludge bands out there that are just killing it. Inter Arma springs to mind. Those guys are awesome, and their new record Sky Burial is fantastic.

But while Inter Arma's sound is rather refined, there is a lot to be said for taking a more raw, and seemingly more organic approach to sludge. Denton, Texas's Terminator 2 do exactly that on their self-titled cassette, out now on Handmade Birds. The brand of metal that these gentlemen deliver is raw and brutal, driven by heavily distorted bass, drums, noise and electronics, and typical (but very effective) sludge groans and screams. The sound borders on chaotic, but the rhythm section keeps things from getting too far out of hand. It's a band that I imagine to be very enjoyable in a live setting, but their unique brand of sludge sounds great recorded as well. The self-titled album is very dark without acquiring that vibe of melancholy, relying instead on a full-frontal assault throughout the album. You might expect the lyrics (which are included on a nifty little scroll that comes with the tape) to be typical sludge fare as well, but these fellows are better than that. While social criticism is common in metal, Terminator 2 's lyrics are more intelligent than you might expect, and are still humbly poetic, almost telling a story - and a familiar one - as the album progresses. This is an album that I really enjoy reading the lyrics to as I listen to it, as it makes for a more gratifying and enlightening experience. This snippet from "Methodic and Serpentine," for example, has really stuck with me:

"... With purpose in movement, methodic and serpentine. Sweet mother’s hand up the mountain stand. Temporal vessels left. Architecture of death..."

The vocals are pretty unintelligible, especially on this track, so having the lyrics to read really helps to understand the record.

Hopefully, there is more to come from this band in the near future. For now, you can stream this for free or download it for a small charge from their Bandcamp, but what I most recommend is getting the tape from Handmade Birds (via Thrill Jockey), here.

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