Durham sludgecore nihilists Iced Out have returned for another short burst of down-tuned filth with the release of their third EP, Man’s Ruin. The band’s previous EP Jukai began to show elements of a slower, lurching song style that has more in common with sludge metal than hardcore and Iced Out have made a much bigger step into the world of sludge for this EP.
Slow tempos really suit Iced Out’s brand of punishment. Opening track For the Covern features a neck-snapping riff that is punctuated by some of the most powerful drumming the band have ever produced. By making a more conceited effort to explore the more the darker and moodier side of their music, Iced Out have finally created a sound they can claim as their own.
With this new found confidence, Iced Out have also created the best song of their career so far. The title track of Man’s Ruin has the quintessential Iced Out riff; a nasty, bass-heavy stomper that threatens to leap out of the stereo and drag you into the nearest pit. However, the Entombed-like tone smothers the song in the sort of hardcore growl that the band have dealt with prior. It’s the perfect amalgamation of everything Iced Out have achieved until now.
Rounding things off is another raging, doomy beast of a song with the name of Space Mountain. Iced Out don’t mess about here and pack their special blend of low-end grot into an exhilarating two minutes. Even though the running time gives an inclination to the hardcore Iced Out of old, the weight of the riff takes centre-stage and reminds you that this is sludge metal and it’s some of the best sludge metal you’ll hear this year.
Iced Out have finally found their comfort zone. Man’s Ruin is an enormous, towering beast of an EP that sees the band embrace slower tempos and tunings so low you might soil yourself. Now it’s time for Iced Out to take their sludgecore leanings and finally deliver the sort of devastating album that Man’s Ruin is threatening to. Good luck, boys; we’re looking forward to it.
Iced Out’s Man’s Ruin is out now and available to buy on limited edition CD from Witch Hunter Records.