The U.K.’s Lump Hammer sound like a musical wrecking ball on their staggeringly heavy new album Beast.
Lump Hammer deliver a volley of menacing, pummeling riffs that are drenched in feedback and feel like they’ve just been dredged out of some overgrown bog. The group’s repetitious and beefy rhythms pack a stunning, confrontational level of raw power, as if suddenly wandering around in some ominously thick and seemingly just about inescapable forest and roaring towards the sky with no apparent response, like ordinary life has suddenly and inexplicably vanished from the surroundings.
Stability can’t be taken for granted — the bright vibrancy of daily endeavors and the pleasantries of the persistent cycle of life have suddenly vanished within the world of the album, and its expansive persistence gives the experience a psychedelic kick, as if time has suddenly seemed to bleed together within the record’s world. Beast feels ghastly and grime-soaked, like getting suddenly stuck in a mind-disassembling time loop at the bottom of a backwoods swamp.
“Where did you go? Where did everyone go?” Watts, the band’s vocalist, hoarsely wails on “Where.” Many of the vocals across the album as a whole fade into the mix like bellicose, barely distinguishable roars ringing out across some panic-inducing expanse. As for “Where,” after an opening segment of restrained yet tension-soaked riffing, the song abruptly kicks up into a screeching cacophony in which the sludge trods on — and on, and on, and on.
Often — save for moments like some of “Underachiever” and “Slide” — Lump Hammer stick to a slower tempo, dragging out the coarse menace to a startling degree. “Pitcher” aptly encapsulates the band’s tendencies — the almost 11-minute track runs on ghoulishly menacing, repetitious riffing that feels like hacking a tear into the earth itself, over and over again. Some of the mix on the album’s closing track, the over 11-minute long “Gravy (Beef),” feels thinner — and the (still repetitious) song remains magnificently pummeling.
In a thematic sense, Beast seems to somewhat reflect some of the horrors and struggles of facing off against the mind’s own expanses. The music feels hypnotically demented while exploring its filthy extremes, combining back-breaking heaviness with a kind of nail-biting psychedelically upturned expansiveness. Every hit across the album lands with inescapably chest-rattling might, like waves of electrified swamp muck. The basslines across this album feel like anthropomorphic swamp beasts — they’re so coarsely heavy, and the slow, teeth-baring drum rhythms push the colossal music down even further. The group must undoubtedly be a sight to behold at a live performance.