(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Lead Journalist/Writer, RiffRelevant.com)
The Lone Star State quartet Hydrilla are kicking out massive sludge as big as their home state itself on their début effort. That effort is the savagely scathing self-titled six-song EP issued by the band back in May.
Meanwhile, the monstrous musicians at the heart of Hydrilla are Billy Rasco (vocals), Brad Braffett (guitar), Alan Ray (bass) and Jason Pettit (drums). Hydrilla are now in their fourth year of pummeling music fans into quivering submission via their abrasive, volatile sonic output.
That output has never been more incendiary and intense than it is now on this six song salvo of Sludge and Southern Groove metal, either. With a sound that is derived from a blend of influences reminiscent of bands like BeatenBackToPure, EYEHATEGOD, Soilent Green and the like, the Hydrilla experience is as thrilling as it is threatening.
With the rippingly sinister, sandpaper-scarred body blow of the first song. “White Widow“, the beat down begins. Chugging guitars belt out their blunt force riffs as the throaty, acidic vocals soon join in. The rhythm section holds it all anchored in place, at one point isolated bass lines provide a nice, albeit quick, chance to grab your breath.
In fact, there are brief moments where things ratchet down and allow for the occasional breather, like the intro of “Predation“. Before your lungs can fill, a deeply rutted groove takes hold and this slower moving musical locomotive advances. It gradually builds up momentum and careens along beneath the skin-stripping, guttural vocals.
From the sludgy sounds of the backwoods blues-hued “Hours Of Sobriety” to the DOWN-ish “Indolent“, the angst and agitation permeates each of these songs. It’s the last two cuts that I found to be stand-outs for me personally. First being the beautifully intro’ed “Friendshit“. Melodic music ripples beneath some poignant spoken word vocals at first, but soon things detonate and go full-on crush.
From there these aural opposites alternate from mellow to mayhem, eventually giving way the battering of “Gone Camping“. Definitely one of the outing’s heaviest tracks as the guitars take the spotlight during much of it, thus providing some incredible downtuned grooves. The music gallops along as each player takes it to the max and Rasco hands in one of best vocals efforts yet, ending things on a massive high note.
If Southern sludge-hewn metal with evident intensity and savagery is what you’re seeking, then look no further. The heavy hitters in Hydrilla are here to ruin your groove with their own brutal moves on their recent self-titled EP début.
Stream (or purchase here) this beast via the Bandcamp embed below, but proceed with caution.