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5 Sludge Metal Bands You Should Know About

Metal music is diverse and also versatile while being the most dynamic and intense of all forms of music.

Whether we call it sludge, stoner, doom, crust, noise, and all the other terms that go on the list of metal and heavy music genres, which I think more divides than anything, great music is great music, period. You can really group any of these bands into the many sub-genre in that list, which can get a little crazy at times. These are some awesome ones that ought not to be slept on if you like things heavy the way I do.

Bossk Audio Noir album cover art on Deathwish Records.

Bossk Audio Noir album cover art on Deathwish Records.

1. Bossk

Bossk is from England and plays a progressive style of metal, mixing ambient sounds with heavy riffs and long songs filled with a wide array of emotion and textures. You definitely want to pack a lunch for these jams. On the debut, two-song release .1 (2006), the song ''I'' clocks in at the 16:06 mark and the second track ''II'' at 19:27. You will be rewarded for a good attention span here, as these are not pointless and long, drawn-out or unfocused, but intricate compositions that build and relax through ebb and flow.

The second release from Bossk, .2 (2007) has two songs, "Define" and "Truth," with some more of the great textural style and sound, but clocking in at slightly shorter track lengths, around ten minutes or so each. Both .1 and .2 were released as a complete set in 2008.

That same year, two original members left Bossk. The band forged on, touring with new members, but called it a day later that year. They released .3 video EP and a set of the available EPs. In 2009, a live recording was used for a split recording with the band Rinoa.

In 2012, Bossk reformed and put out the single ''Pick Up Artist'' on Deathwish Records. 2016 saw Deathwish put out the awesome Audio Noir, a modern metal masterpiece that forges all elements of their previous sounds with heavy sludge/grunge/stoner riffs in epic fashion. Do not sleep on this album.

2. Old Man Gloom

Old Man Gloom reads like a supergroup of sorts, with a lineup of members from some crucial and influential bands. Aaron Turner plays guitar and provides vocals. Nate Newton from Converge is on guitar and vocals. Caleb Scofield from Cave In is on bass, and rounding out the outfit is Santos Montano on drums. More of a studio project than a touring band, because of commitments with their main groups, Old Man Gloom started out with a bang, releasing four albums from 1999 to 2004, including the awesome debut, Meditations In B.

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The band had a long inactive period between 2004 and 2011, with the members of the associated acts were in ramping up on activity, namely Converge. Old Man Gloom rode on again in 2012, releasing the No album and The Ape Of God 1 and 2 (2014), and most recently Mickey Rookey Live at London (2016). Going forward, I would expect on-and-off production potentially from Old Man Gloom judging from past history and appreciate whatever output we get from this awesome band.

3. The Mire

I stumbled upon these guys a while back and absolutely could not believe that they were not signed to a label and that they self-released their albums. From England and featuring some Bossk members, the band is defunct now, I believe. But they did put out some absolutely brutal and awesome albums: Volume II (2010), Glass Cathedrals (2015), and Vice Regalia (2015). The group features insanely brutal vocals with nice clean passages in spots that mix well with the complex riffs and song structures.

4. Gone Is Gone

While this band isn't exactly a secret with the big caliber names associated with it, Gone Is Gone is definitely a group worth checking out, if you haven't already. Gone Is Gone features Troy Sanders from Mastodon on bass/vocals, Troy Van Leeuwen from Queens of the Stone Age, and a laundry list of other groups on guitar, At The Drive-In drummer Tony Hajjar, and guitarist/keyboardist Mike Zarin. While the group does have some sludge/stoner leanings, they also mix in some progressive and hard rock elements with softer vocals from Troy Sanders, which sometimes are spoken word passages that give the music a trance-type vibe.

A cool original band, check out the self-titled eight-song debut Ep Gone Is Gone and the first full-length that followed, Echolocation. It is hard to say what sort of output we can expect to see in the future, such as touring and recording, as some members are busy with other full-time projects, such as Mastodon and Queens of the Stone Age.

5. Floor

Floor has a super heavy, slow, down-tuned sound in the vein of Black Sabbath and was an early band of Steve Brooks, of Torche fame. Founded in 1992, there have been many periods of active/inactive spurts of the band with line-up changes and Steve Brooks' success with the aforementioned Torche. There has been renewed interest in the band, and another reformation happened in 2013 and cultivated the release of Oblation (2014).

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