Another debut EP release review coming at you today from Gnash, a four-piece sludge band hailing from Columbus, Ohio. This is a new project from my good friend Josh Richter of Bather. He was gracious enough to send me this new project to review and what a debut it is. These four dudes are laying down some seriously heavy sludge on this release. The band is made up of Josh on vocals, his brother Nicky on guitar, Ethan Martin on bass and Keenan McNeal on drums. This release only runs just about 13 minutes long but it punishes you the entire time. Opening track "The Darker Half" opens with Ethan strumming the bass while a sample of a locust plays, creating an eerie atmosphere right from the get go. The guitars and drum kick in with a nasty groove that had me nodding my head instantly. I'm a huge fan of Josh's vocals, whether he is doing his death metal style in Bather or his cleaner vocals he did for another project but I was taken aback when his kicked in on this EP. They are super raspy, similar to what you would hear in black metal, and full of emotion. I got goosebumps the first few listens to the EP by his performance and still do at certain points. For example, the beginning of "Broken Mirror Image" he belts out a blood curdling scream over guitar feedback at the beginning of the track before the rest of the bands joins in the fray to kick your teeth in with their pummeling, thick brand of sludge. The atmosphere these four guys create is oppressive and suffocating. You can feel all the emotions they are trying to get out on this cathartic EP. "The Amniotic Lake" sees the tempo pick up but still with the stagnate atmosphere hanging over. Groovy riffs laid down by Nicky and Ethan are aided perfectly Keenan's drumming. He fills the space in the song at just the right time and the rolling drums in a few different sections really bring the track together perfectly. This was definitely my favorite track on the EP. Last up on the EP is the track "Sacrificial Bastard" and it wraps the disgusting black bow on this filthy offering from the Ohio quartet. Josh wails and screeches at the listener while the band pulverizes you into the ground one final time. Each time they let up on you just a bit, they come back harder and nastier to finish you off. I highly recommend this EP to any fan of sludge, especially to the fans that like death and black metal mixed into their sludge like I do. This one will not disappoint!
- The Metal Architect