Sunday, 18 March 2012

#137 Judd Madden - Doomgroove

Judd Madden is, as I've mentioned in a review of his first album, "Waterfall",  a one-man project dealing with doom and stoner metal, with all-sorts else thrown inbetween. Doomgroove is the fourth release in the diverse range of sounds which he has released since early 2010, and carries on the bands established and distinct aesthetic style, but also manages to stand out on it's own, as a couple of listens have shown me.

The first thing which hits me is an impression that Judd Madden thoroughly enjoys making the music which he releases. The notion that this is so seems to ooze from the songs themselves in ways I'm not quite sure how to put into words. Essentially, the album has a feel that effort and soul has really been poured into it. A lot of atmosphere is projected by the songs, and despite being instrumental in it's entirety, the album seems deep. Evolving somewhat from "Drown" which, as it's name might imply, had a murky, underwater atmosphere, "Doomgroove" feels more like it's emerged from the waves and climbed ashore, and the whole album seems a bit lighter and more optimistic. The soundscape generated it, however, equally gargantuan and syrupy in tone, with hypnotic long songs which, despite plenty of repetition - almost a given for their length - and lack of vocals, still have plenty to offer to earn the "right" to their length. There's a lot of diversity throughout the album, with intensely doomy sections, often with catchy hooks, supported by gigantic sustain, but also slower, almost drone-like sections, and parts where the drumming comes forward to become the main instrument being showcased.

The drumming in Judd Madden's material in general is a very distinct style. I'm not entirely sure what, but certainly something which has been imported inventively into a metal context, and the fills, especially, really have a uniqueness to them, as if Australian instrumental doom-metal wasn't unique enough. The production job gets an inadvertent mention for being fantastically pure, capturing instruments exactly as they sound; crisp, natural and fresh. The songs also seem a little more elaborate than they did on "Drown", and are certainly more flavoured with bridge-sections and suchlike decoration, sometimes bordering on being progressive, which adds multiple levels to the enjoyment of the album. The hypnotic, trance-inducing repetition doesn't die out, however, and it remains in many of the songs, to be enjoyed or to cause frustration, dependant on your persuasion.

I have to confess, I had no idea that Judd Madden was working on new material - the project as a whole was out of my attention for a while, but this album has certainly re-kindled my interest by quite a degree. It's good to see that this album is just as good as what came before it.

I'm going to give this 8/10.

Judd Madden Official site
Judd Madden on Facebook
Judd Madden on Bandcamp (With the album as a free or pay-what-you-want download)