Seven Foot Spleen– Reptilicus

It’s absolutely everything you could possibly want from your old-school southern sludge: so many spoken word tracks that Rob Zombie might take umbrage, followed by riffs that make Electric Wizard pee a little (and not from delight. From stark terror that makes them want to play polka out of sheer pulverizing shock).

I’ve been listening to Reptilicus, a compilation re-issue of their “greatest hits” (which they were presumably taking as they recorded this, you can practically smell the keef) nearly 12 hours now (in the background, intently, from the next room, etc.) and it has completely smoothed out the convolutions of my brain. My thinking is now perfectly smooth.

My hyperbole account takes donations, FYI.

I’ve mentioned what I call “BONNNNNNNGGGG” chords before– they’re riffs that have no form, no melody to speak of– basically nothing you could hum. They’re just chords (usually the lowest open one), allowed to ring out.

Getting away with this depends entirely on the production of the album, the type of guitar/ amp pairing, the weight of the guitar strings, and (most importantly, perhaps) the tuning: how far below E standard can you get? (Conan is my current lowest-ever tuning, at drop F#– if you know of lower, lemme know.)

It’s my theory that the better your riffs are, the higher you can afford to be tuned: the first two Sabbath records are in standard, and after that they only detune to D flat (like Howl or The Gates of Slumber)– the uniqueness of the riffs can make the heavy, not just the tuning or the volume.

Seven Foot Spleen are the other end of this spectrum– they’re the embodiment of the “BONNGGG” chord…

… and Holy Goat Fucking Methusela do they do it well.

Song number two, Stunted, is already headed to my Riff of the Day segment. There’s a distinct suggestion of the Sunlight Sound in the buzzsaw quality of the riff.

Canopener Head is Agnostic Front if Mortuus were singing for them (and doesn’t that sound goddamned cool?).

There’s (shittons of) Kyuss fuzzy riffs, black metal/ Eyehategod vocals, occasional blastbeats, regular D-beats, acoustic stoner-y interludes (Reptilicus), followed by windey, patient single-note riffs (also Reptilicus), southern finger-picked sections (It Smells) that become Acid King/ L7 riffs, less-than-1-minute songs that sound like the Cro-Mags with shrieking (Rank), funeral doom, almost like Culted (Power), slowing rusty-riffed Black Cobra (Co-Pathetic), the list continues….

And while there’s a ton of variations in the songs, many even sounding like they could’ve been written by different bands, they all manage to sound like they came from one band. Maybe the best description of Reptilicus would be Seven Foot Spleen’s covers album.

The theme here is RIFF basically. I’m not sure that was really coming across.

It clearly shows the link between hardcore punk and stoner metal, and gives a fairly clear picture (speaking metal-archeologically) of how sludge came to be.

Like Grief, Buzzov*en, Eyehategod, Agnostic Front or the Cro-Mags? You’ll love this. LOOOOOOOVE this.

9/10

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