Album Reviews

Dr Slaggleberry – The Slagg Factory

(Crash) UK release date: 12 October 2009

Having terrorised the Oxford music scene for the last few years, Dr Slaggleberry are clearly looking to continue expanding their very peculiar practice.

But the band doesn’t like to give too much away. Performing their shows in hockey masks, while any photos of them ensure that their features are obscured, they prefer to maintain their anonymity and allow their music to do the talking.

Formed by three drummers, two of whom switched to guitar, The Slagg Factory is as much a percussive exploration of rhythmic patterns as it is pure guitar flamboyance. Huge metallic chords introduce Feed Me A Stray Cat before the band quickly flip through the gears and start riffing madly.

It’s a frantic jumble of ideas, riffs, dead ends and relentlessly heavy rhythm patterns from here on in. With one foot firmly in the Metal camp, one of the guitars almost always retains an anchoring throb that grinds away with a rasp that sounds not unlike King Buzzo’s most grimy outpourings. Meanwhile the other guitar is fizzing around in frantic patterns more in keeping with math-rock. Notes spiral out of control, crash into one another and splinter off into new territory.

Peppered with heavy hammer hits of staccato guitar, and deft solos, there are times when it feels as if it is all just a bit too much. Much like John Zorn’s Naked City, the introduction of new directions and time signatures is at times dizzying.

Yet there is always a remarkable sense of control displayed. These remarkable pieces of craftsmanship never venture into the realms of showmanship. It’s all so matter of fact.

Grades Of Filth has a pleasingly punchy intro; the kind of thing a masochist would really enjoy. Implausibly low guitar thumps incessantly at the temples while a waspish interjection repeatedly stabs away. Eventually it all settles down into a rolling riff before it hits the rocks again and breaks away in a thousand different directions. Of course each of those directions is fiddly and fraught with danger and yet they are executed with seemingly no effort whatsoever.

There is some respite with 8 4 5, half of which is a prog workout, completely lacking in drums but thoroughly drowned in reverb and delay. It is the only time on the whole of this EP that the band appear to be lacking focus as it just kind of floats along in an uninspired fog until a thundering end piece is tacked on. Despite being back in familiar territory, this too meanders in a directionless chug until its legs fall off.

Basterd Brew returns us to more familiar surrounds. By this time the band seem to have really got into their stride and the chopping between riffs is at a premium. Add to this the perpetual guitar motif that sounds like an ambulance full of mosquitoes and you’ve got yourself something quite terrifying.

The Slagg Factory is an unrelenting slab of technical Jazz-Math-Metal. At times daunting, sometimes ludicrous, and almost always fascinating, this EP hints at a band with enormous potential. If they can avoid disappearing into their own cavities, they could well be onto something.

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Dr Slaggleberry – The Slagg Factory