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HAG: Fear Of Man

South East sludge/punk group find themselves in stitches

Five years after their Melvins-influenced self-titled EP, Hag’s first studio album kicks off with a promisingly sludgy title track.

Rainbow Dust blows away the remaining cobwebs, blasting heavy and haunting riffs with Ozzy-esque vocals, Trauma Yauma tunes itself to punk rock and Low’s catchy chorus channels Southern stoner vibes. Still taking their main cues from Melvins, the album shifts from the fundamental influence of Black Sabbath to Black Flag, but it’s often mediocrity orbiting moments of greatness.

Heralding a self-styled new genre, ‘eagle metal’, this album doesn’t quite live up to expectations, sitting somewhere between Black Tusk’s swamp metal, and Cancer Bats’ hardcore, with croaky doom-styled vocals. Their style is nowhere near as well-formed as contemporary sludge-fusion outfits, Black Flag-shaped mismatched vocals athwart swampy guitars proving to be an experimental endeavour that doesn’t sit right.

It’s obvious the London-based trio are confused as to which direction they are going in. Instead of seamlessly blending sounds, Fear Of Man is stitched together like one of Frankenstein’s early prototypes.