Sourvein: Aquatic Occult

Immersive doom hooked on a different kind of weed

Sourvein album

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Although Ahab spearheaded nautical doom over the last decade, North Carolina sludge pioneers Sourvein have been playing with the subject since 2002’s Seamerchant, when Electric Wizard’s Liz Buckingham was still their guitarist.

From the opening crash of waves, Aquatic Occult bears its oceanic influence with committed totality, riffs bobbing and churning like abandoned ships. Sourvein swagger like underwater Clutch on Ocypuss, while Aquanaut lurches between a waterlogged Slayer riff and seasick rolling chords. As damp drums hammer into Hymn To Poseidon, Sourvein are deliriously immersed in their strange new world, and this exploratory looseness is a strength.

There’s a song called Mermaids that’s like the Velvet Underground jamming with Brian May, while Bermuda Sundown is compelling alien gothic blues

T-Roy’s throaty gargle is multi-tracked to powerful effect, and unusually for doom, riffs are never hammered into the ground: no song exceeds 4:20.

Chris Chantler

Chris has been writing about heavy metal since 2000, specialising in true/cult/epic/power/trad/NWOBHM and doom metal at now-defunct extreme music magazine Terrorizer. Since joining the Metal Hammer famileh in 2010 he developed a parallel career in kids' TV, winning a Writer's Guild of Great Britain Award for BBC1 series Little Howard's Big Question as well as writing episodes of Danger Mouse, Horrible Histories, Dennis & Gnasher Unleashed and The Furchester Hotel. His hobbies include drumming (slowly), exploring ancient woodland and watching ancient sitcoms.