Thursday 4 January 2024

SLOWER - Slower (Album Review)

Release Date: 26th Janaury 2024. Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

SLOWER - Slower - Tracklisting

War Ensemble - (E Willems, A Barrysmith, B Balch and P Bergstrand)

The Antichrist - (E Willems, A Barrysmith, B Balch and P Bergstrand)

Blood Red - (E Willems, A Barrysmith, B Balch and P Bergstrand)

Dead Skin Mask - (E Willems, A Barrysmith, B Balch and P Bergstrand)

South Of Heaven - (E Willems, L Pleasants, B Balch and S Reeder)


Bob Balch - Guitars

Amy Barrysmith - Vocals

Laura Pleasants - Vocals

Peder Bergstrand - Bass

Scott Reeder - Bass

Esben Willems - Drums


SLOWER is the new supergroup or collaborative project featuring members from bands such as FU MANCHU, Monolord, Year Of The Cobra, Lowrider and KYLESA. Their self-titled debut album is a tribute album to the mighty SLAYER where SLOWER take some of their most famous and heaviest tracks which is then given a Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal makeover. The music is stripped back and slowed right down which feels more aligned to the actual members' respective bands with an atmospheric drugged out sound throughout. 

Amy Barrysmith (Year Of The Cobra) provides vocal duties for the majority of the album with Laura Pleasants (KYLESA) taking over on the final track South Of Heaven. Amy puts in a truly magnificent vocal performance on the tracks that she appears with Laura providing superb support within South Of Heaven. The vocals are obviously a stark contrast to the original versions by SLAYER. The songs sound quite different with SLOWER playing a stripped back and droned out style of music which only draws out the finest sounds from the Doom/Sludge/Stoner based scene. There's a slight Post-Doom or warped Psychedelic sound which first comes into prominence on War Ensemble which runs past the ten minutes mark.

Subtle flashes of Atmospheric Sludge Metal allows SLOWER to play ferocious and aggressive levels of sound though which are never going to match the violent depths that SLAYER are rightly known for. The down-tuned flow of the song is quite a genius touch which allows each band member to to play their part in delivering music that sounds very original at times especially on War Ensemble, The Antichrist and Dead Skin Mask. Though, all of the songs are equally as good as each other. 

The songs are further modernised by SLOWER adding Heavy Psychedelic and Space Rock sounds throughout the album whilst still keeping the harsh vision and flow of the original tracks. SLOWER perhaps play a more Progressive style that some SLAYER fans may disagree with. However, this album brings a more cinematic build-up and quality to the songs which is helped by the long drawn out style of grooves that can even be dramatically bleak in places. 

This album is part of the "LOW & SLOW" community of Doom/Stoner Metal which some of SLOWER members are prominent members of with their own respective bands. You can hear elements of almost every band within the creative fabric of the record. So if you're a fan of certain bands but not others then you'll find a guitar riff, drum beat, bass line or intense vocals that will easily draw you into SLOWER's stripped back and slow-paced world.

SLOWER's self-titled album is one of the most original "covers' albums I've heard next to BEASTWARS most recent album Tyranny Of Distance. Another brilliant and similar release was a Doom/Stoner Metal band releasing a "covers" album but with their own unique style. This maybe a "one-off" creative exercise for SLOWER but I'll always be hopeful for further exciting releases from the whole line-up of SLOWER. 

Slower is an unmissable release and one that needs serious investigation by the legions of SLAYER fans and from the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal scene as well. Awesome stuff and another sublime release from Heavy Psych Sounds. So you know with Heavy Psych Sounds behind this great release that it's going to sound bloody LOUD, BRILLIANT and AGGRESSIVE throughout. 

Words by Steve Howe 

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo.

Slower will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Heavy Psych Sounds from January 26th 2024.