Weeping Ulcer: Dwelling in Filth (2011)

Bio (from http://www.facebook.com/WeepingUlcer):
Weeping Ulcer is a sludge/experimental/doom band from Dublin. They have been writing and rehearsing original material since the trio formed in June 2010. Inspired by all that’s wrong in the world and a keen sense of ethereal exploration, they blend a multitude of musical influences into their own particular brand of down-tuned, sludgy filth. They recorded their 3 track Demo, “Dwelling in Filth” during January of 2011 in Loop Studios. It was produced by Gareth Desmond & Weeping Ulcer. The official release date is February 4th.

Musicians:
Ian Flockhart – Guitars, Vocals, Marcel Golstein – Bass, Vocals, Graeme V. Flynn – Drums, Vocals

Ok, so before I received a request to review this, I had little idea what “sludge” was, or, for that matter, “doom.”  I gave it a listen, and I was immediately reminded of The Melvins – but with growling / screamed vocals, I seem to remember being able to understand with the hell King Buzzo was saying – or some Black Sabbath.  So when I looked up “sludge” and “doom” on Wikipedia, I was not at all surprised to see that The Melvins were considered the first sludge band, or that doom was heavily influenced by Sabbath.

If you read my review for When Darkness Falls’ BLOODSTONE then you know I’m not a huge fan of the growled / screamed vocal; to me, it’s fine when used in moderation.  I couldn’t understand (nearly) a damn thing sung on DWELLING IN FILTH.  Every lyric was either growled or screamed.  And again: I am not overly familiar with, nor am I a fan of, sludge or doom metal, so it makes sense that this was off-putting for me, as it is something I do not generally listen to or enjoy.  But when I listen to an album like DiF IT SOUNDS LIKE EVERY LYRIC SHOULD BE WRITTEN LIKE THIS!  EVERYTHING IS SUPER-IMPORTANT!  EVERYTHING NEEDS AT LEAST ONE EXCLAMATION POINT, IF NOT MORE!!!  For me, as a listener to the heavier stuff, screaming / growling is like an exclamation point on a sentence.  If every line, every lyric is delivered that way, then everything is just as important as everything else and I can make out what the point is.  If I were into this genre, maybe I’d feel differently, but as this is not my norm it just turned me off.

On the other hand, I really liked DiF, musically.  This album is super-heavy, full of fuzz, distortion, and feedback.  I like it.  I also enjoyed the fact that overall it is dedicated in its tempo; it generally moves slowly along, ploddingly, and only occasionally kicks up the tempo punk level speed.  The bass and drums play off each other, building a huge wall of distortion that the guitars both accent and play off of.  There is never any “showboating,” no one ever goes off and plays a bunch of 64th notes – just ‘cause they can – everything is in its place.

In addition to the musical base Weeping Ulcer builds, I also like the fact that they are political / topical.  Many bands sing about things that are not very important, or not at all important; from what I could make out on DiF, and from the samples used on the end of “Shaman,” I get the impression that Weeping Ulcer is about more than drinks and girls.  They have something important to say.  Now if I just could understand what the hell they are saying!

Overall, I have a hard time deciding about DiF.  Musically I really enjoy this album, and I enjoy the fact that it’s not just about superficial bullshit, but on the other hand the fact that I really have to work to decipher the lyrics turns me away.  Plus, I can only deal with so much growling before I look for something else.  I know it’s a matter of taste, but overall I just could not get into this album.  I know that if the lyrics were a little more decipherable, if the delivery was a little less DOOM-Y, I would probably really enjoy DiF.  I just can’t get past my personal preferences… I wish sludge sounded a little more like The Melvins and Black Sabbath and a little less like music from your average metal band whose logo I can’t decipher.

Overall 6 / 10

DiF for sale: http://weepingulcer.bandcamp.com/

DiF site: https://www.facebook.com/WeepingUlcer

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