The Georgia sludge groups Dead Hand and Machinist! have united for a thunderous new three-track split available now via Nefarious Industries.
Below, check out a guitar playthrough video for “Muirgeilt” by Dead Hand alongside a video of Machinist! discussing “Bask in the White Light.”
Both songs land with an earth-rattling thud.
“Bask in the White Light” from Machinist! packs venom-laced sludge that feels like a careening rockslide, with scorching riffs, smashing drum blasts, basslines that sound like huge chunks getting ripped out of the earth, and maniacal vocals. The track begins with quickly moving musical currents packing somewhat of a coarsened punk energy before evolving into a slower paced but still grueling onslaught as it approaches its end.
The music is persistent and sternly set, evoking feelings of collapsing to the ground under the weight of some massive suffocating dust cloud. The sound itself is huge — the tones that Machinist! work with are quite earthy, and the whole mix is staggeringly weighty. The dynamism in the sound makes it feel like an apt reflection of raw desperation, and there’s somewhat of a metaphysical bent thanks to the formidable power on display. It’s utterly massive, but it’s also totally ragged, and the track thereby outlines a solitary personal grappling with some expanse of raging destruction.
Diving headfirst into the track feels like viewing the desolate aftermath of some disaster and resigning yourself to that there’s nothing to do but rage at the sky — and it’s cathartically invigorating. The track’s craterous impact is impressive.
“Muirgeilt” by Dead Hand is similarly tense, but on this track, the group utilizes a style that’s somewhat more doom-riddled and a bit less punk-inclined than Machinist! The hypnotically building track features roared vocals guiding a mix that also packs incinerating guitar riffs, ground-cracking drum hits, and quicksand-like basslines, and the group sticks to a somewhat mid-range tempo, enacting the musical equivalent of a smothering blanket of inescapable heat.
On the track, the group’s singer belts out: “March me towards Asphodel/ Bury me at thy feet/ Not in this watery hell/ Not in this brackish sea,” and this plea for some kind of post-death relief proves pointedly reflected in the music. The track seems especially grandiose, but it’s also personal and passionate thanks to the quite striking rhythms across its runtime.
To take a cue from the lyrics, it’s like a soundtrack for getting lost at sea and beginning to experience hallucinations while the strain sets in. Alternatively, the music feels like a soundtrack for getting lost in a swampland and growing increasingly disoriented, because even in the song’s comparatively mellower moments, it’s uneasy.
Both tracks would no doubt be great live — the energy is thrilling.