Album Review: Battalions - Pure Humber Sludge
Reviewed by Neil Bolton
I hope you have your party pants in close proximity because this is a celebration. 'Pure Humber Sludge' is a joint reissue of the long out-of-print albums 'Nothing to Loose' (2016) and 'Moonburn' (2017) in one deluxe package. APF Records are honouring the awesome Battalion’s 10th anniversary by asking Chris Fielding (Conan) to remaster them and give them a little dirty polish.
Grinding guitars begins the first track 'Coward’s Manifesto'; it has a slow crunch that is soon accompanied by Phil Wilkinson’s vocals. Vocals that rip and tear at your senses while the pounding tune plays along. Slow and punishing as this is, this is only one side to the talented guys from Hull’s arsenal. A slight hint of the doom groove appears half way through, and is hinted at a little more in the next track 'Hoods Up Knives Out'. The bounce in the music begins to materialise giving you an idea of the place Battalions want to take you.
You don’t really get to this destination until the track 'Blood Red' but when you do arrive its a special moment. This band, to me, then elevate themselves to a different plane. One in which you cannot decide whether to dance or head bang. 'Shitstorm Troopers' finishes a 27 minute big riff introduction to the band.
We then move on to the album 'Moonburn' and for me this is where they really make you grab your dancing footwear to compliment your party pants. 'Skinjob' leads you into this album but certainly does not hold your hand on the way. You are pushed in by the groovy, dirty feel of the music, that soon metals out. Then 'Lotion Basket' begins with guitar and bass creating an incredible riff assisted perfectly by talented drums. The urge to dance is growing. The title track 'Moonburn' is the final straw and your body is now swaying to the beats along with the blisters and burns in the lyrics. I have mentioned before that this tune, and others, reminds me at times of an extreme metal version of Clutch. A proposition that if you think sounds appealing, will not leave you upset. The funky beat at the beginning of 'God’s Country' will only confirm this thought. All seven tracks on 'Moonburn' are a breath of fresh air, that is a regular inhabitant of my speakers, along with their latest album 'Forever Marching Backwards'”
Battalions are a band that will deliver for you if you are looking for some thing a little different.
Battalions release 'Pure Humber Sludge' via APF Records on July 17th.