Released: 2016, Metal Blade Records
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
It’s been a long, dirty existence for T-Roy and Sourvein. 20 years of whiskey soaked personal turmoil translated through some of the gnarliest Southern fried noise this side of NOLA has finally seemed to pay off. After finding a label home with Metal Blade Records and the support of their PR machine behind them, their latest full length AQUATIC OCCULT is a success story two decades in the making.
Calling in some favors to make AQUATIC OCCULT something really special, the album features guest appearances from the likes of Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe, Mike and Reed from C.O.C., and Stig Miller from Iron Monkey to name a few. Celebrity guests aside, it’s the 14 new tracks that really deserve most of the attention. Still retaining their token blend of doom sludge, the delivery is more polished and concise, owing less to the Eyehategod/Buzzov*en ethos than they do to Sabbath and the last couple C.O.C. records. The riffs still bear plenty of teeth, but there’s definitely more character to be found. The slow, filthy stomp of lead single “Ocypuss” staggers defiantly while Blythe and T-Roy bark through your speakers, whereas “Hymns to Poseidon” with its heart tugging melodies opts for more traditional Vitus infused doom. And then you’ve got the acid trip organ drone of “Oceanic Procession” that closes the album through the crashing waves; the tunes on AQUATIC OCCULT run the sonic gamut, preventing the procession from getting stale.
As you’ll notice from the album title and the track list, there’s a nautical theme that I haven’t totally figured out yet, but it’s a theme that holds the album together through various effects and callbacks, giving it a loose concept album feel. Never thought I’d write that about a Sourvein record; how far we’ve come, eh? The production, the execution, the concept – all of this combined makes for the most focused and mature Sourvein record to date. Congrats to T-Roy for his perseverance; the road to get here hasn’t been easy, but AQUATIC OCCULT has made it worthwhile.