PICK OF THE WEEK: Mastiff unload death, hardcore, sludge on wiry, nasty beast ‘…Ashes of the Earth’

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but life on this rock has not resembled anything approaching pleasurable in quite some time, and despite numerous chances to change our fortunes, half of us have decided to roll in the pig shit that is uninformed opinions. It’s one of those times when living underground finally seems like the most logical option for my sanity.

UK crushers Mastiff sound like they’ve heard about enough themselves, though not necessarily about the same subject matter, and they splash that misery and misanthropy all over their third record “Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth.” Combining sludge, doom, hardcore, death metal, and whatever other clobbering sounds they deemed fit to smash into their formidable sound, they deliver nine tracks in about a half hour that are weighty and unforgiving. The band—vocalist Jim Hodge, guitarists James Andrew Lee and Phil Johnson, bassist Dan Dolby, drummer Michael Shepherd—recorded this bastard in only five days, jamming every vitriolic fiber into this pummeling album that can leave you either feeling worse about this shit or determined to rise above it and smash the assholes keeping us down.

“The Hiss” slowly dawns, reveling in filth, lumbering as shrieks rain down, and things bend into gloomy hypnosis. That feeling spreads and bubbles as the storms get heavier, and the playing drubs with sorrow, suddenly disintegrating into “Fail” that bursts from the gates. Converge-style guitar feedback powers as beastly howls rain down, and a hardcore-style assault splatters your guts all over the walls. “Repulse” hammers away immediately with crazed vocals and an assault that’s meaty as fuck. “Feel like a god, no one to answer to,” Hodge pummels as the band massively thrashes you before things slow down and suffocate, folding the earth in half and squeezing out its guts. “Midnight Creeper” is a panicked assault that clobbers with vicious double-kick drums and screams that tears muscles apart. Absolute demolition rolls out, teeth are ground to dust, and the track burns off for good.

“Beige Sabbath” is a fast one that has riffs mashing, heaviness throwing its weight around, and Hodge accusing, “Same old shit, nothing’s changed,” as the track smashes your senses. “Futile” opens with noise ringing and the bass snarling as muffled growls land blows, and the intensity explodes around you. Things come unglued as elements turn even more vicious with the cry of, “Live with the misery!” burying you in the ash. “Endless” brings doomy riffs and a pace that seethes, clobbering with death metal thickness. The whole thing feels like it aims for your neck, sending sinister intent as Hodge laments, “Endless suffering, endless pain!” “Scalped and Salted” simmers in abrasive sludge as mangling hell and hardcore punishment combine and bruise your emotions. The playing utterly steamrolls as the band bludgeons, and everything rests in static. “Lung Rust” is the nearly seven-minute closer that lands heavy shots as it slowly corrodes, shrieks killing and the music bathing in the horrific lather. The track is ugly and thick, peeling back flesh and exposing only the morbid sections of your mentality. Static creates a tidal wave that grows to monstrous proportions, and it drags you under, never to be seen again.

We’ve all come to see the darkest, vilest, most disgusting elements of humanity as of late, not that it wasn’t always lingering right under the surface. Mastiff bathe in that horrific blood and guts on “Leave Me the Ashes of the Earth,” one of the most devastating pieces in their already volcanic catalog. This is the perfect music for getting out your own frustrations, dealing with your anxieties, and putting up your own boundaries to keep the scum of the earth out of your business.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/mastiffhchc

To buy the album, go here: https://eoneheavy.com/collections/mastiff

For more on the label, go here: https://eoneheavy.com/

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