Given how their collective musical DNA has thrived, proliferated and mesmerised over the last couple of decades, it seems implausible that nearly 14 years have ebbed away since Eyehategod last unveiled a fresh studio album.
But here it is: an instantly recognisable but eminently potent and timely revival of a sound that is as thrilling today as it was when the New Orleans crew first slithered from their needle-infested swamp at the fag-end of the 80s. If anything, the band’s punk instincts are more prominent here than ever before, most notably on gleefully hostile opener Agitation! Propaganda!, but for the most part that definitive sludge metal gait remains as gloriously unsteady and menacing as ever, as mutant Sabbath riffs jab their scabby fingers into the weeping wounds of Black Flag at their most ugly and emotionally crippled.
Armed with their strongest set of riffs since 1993’s Take As Needed For Pain, Eyehategod honour the exceptional clatter of much-missed drummer Joey LaCaze by splattering his rhythmic backbone with thick wads of feedback-drenched bile and squalor, reaching a nihilistic peak on the spoken word sprawl of Flags And Cities Bound. Some diseases have no cure: this one is as virulent and thrilling as ever.