Timeworn – Venomous High (Released June 2, 2017 – Independent)
Better known as the birthplace of black metal, Norway is not the first place I go searching for innovating and pioneering sludge metal. For years sludge has been the bread and butter of Georgia, with Mastodon, Baroness, and Kylesa all hailing from the Peach State but now, a new take on the genre is coming from across the pond. Ignoring the black metal calls of their homeland, Timeworn have added post-metal atmospheres to punishing riffs and chaotic vocals to create a fresh spin on sludge metal.
A tendril of calm holds Measure of Gold together in the face of elephant marching riffs and rumbling vocals. Laid-back in totality the track refuses to break in the face of adversity, it builds and crumbles then builds again in a pulsating atmosphere. At its most tranquil state Measure of Gold is pure post-metal; think Russian Circles. Contrasting the atmosphere of the opener, All Chiefs is an attractive festival of sharp riffs. Tilting precariously on the edge between dissonance and harmony the track feels like an ode to Kylesa with its combination of harsh vocals and nearly poppy, angular riffs. Like All Chiefs, Night of Owls is another infectious riff fest, quickly catching with large meaty hooks then stepping back, allowing a calm to take over after the avalanche of riffs. The closing and titular track parallels the album opener with its cool atmospheres and winding expanse. Big palm muted riffs and spoken word vocals adorn Venomous High’s longest track along with crashing harsh vocals and sexy drum fills. The tendril of calm present on Measure of Gold is again noticeable on Venomous High as bright looping leads caress beneath the growling vocals and crush of riffs and drums.
Ferociously individual in their approach, Timeworn weave many influences on Venomous High and wear them proudly. As with the first two tracks, the origins of the sounds Timeworn incorporate are easily identifiable such as the weighted, High on Fire-esque riffs of The Infectious Gloom or the Queens of the Stone Age/The Sword inspired feeling on Ur Syntax.
Massive and powerful but restrained enough to not be oppressive Timeworn successfully merge post-metal and sludge metal into a cohesive mess. The angular and jagged riffs which rake your brain are mellowed by the caress of singing leads and wash of nearly poppy chords. Venomous High is an excellent display of creativity and a necessary nudge from the norm.