An Attempt to Explain
Sludge Metal (sometimes just called "Sludge") is a subgenre of Heavy Metal that takes the pessimistic atmosphere of of Doom Metal, and mixes them with the shouted vocals and occasional fast tempos of Hardcore and lyrical theme of politics and anger towards society common to Punk, it also throws in a bit of a vibe from Grunge, and some of the mood of Grindcore.
Many Sludge Metal bands from the Southern United States incorporate Southern Rock and Blues influences, with many of its earliest pioneers of Sludge coming from the city of New Orleans, there is some controversy as to whether the term refers to only the style emerging from New Orleans and later the American South more broadly.
Mike Williams, a founder of the Sludge style and member of Eyehategod, suggested that "the moniker of Sludge apparently has to do with the slowness, the dirtiness, the filth and general feel of decadence the tunes convey". However, some bands emphasize fast tempos throughout their music.
In a similar way as a lot of the Stoner Rock bands, the guitar and bass are downtuned and heavily distorted and often played through a large amount of feedback to produce a thick yet abrasive sound.
Drummers may often employ a Hardcore D-beat or double-kick style during the more uptempo passages. So-called "atmospheric" Sludge bands adopted a more experimental approach and composed music with ambient atmospheric elements, these bands reduced the level of aggression and philosophical lyrics.
Due to the similarities between Sludge and Stoner Rock / Stoner Metal, there is often a crossover between the two genres, but sludge metal generally avoids Stoner Rock's usage of Psychedelic Rock. Sludge also bears some musical and lyrical resemblance to the styles of Crusty edged Punk aka Crust Punk, due to the usage of political lyrics and thick, "dirty" guitar sounds.
Along with Black Flag and Black Sabbath, others were cited by pioneers of the Sludge style, such as Mississippi John Hurt, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Trouble, and Carnivore. Early Sludge artists also borrowed from the Industrial sounds of of SPK, Throbbing Gristle, and The Swans.
These bands are thought of as some of the pioneers of the genre or are strongly influenced by those pioneers.
- Acid Bath
- Corrosion of Conformity
- Harvey Milk
- Iron Monkey
- The Melvins
- Superjoint Ritual
Stoner Rock / Sludge Fusions
These artists have taken elements of Stoner Rock and fused them with traits with typical Sludge Metal traits, and have created their own original interpretation of these genres.
- Alice in Chains (Sludge, Grunge and "Alternative Heavy Metal)
- Baroness (Sludge mixed with Progressive Metal)
- Black Label Society (Sludge, Hard Rock and Southern Rock)
- Black Tusk (Sludge, Hardcore Punk and Stoner Rock)
- Cancer Bats (Sludge, Hardcore Punk and some Southern Rock)
- Circle Takes the Square (Sludge, Screamo, Post-Hardcore)
- Cult of Luna (Sludge, Progressive Metal)
- Dystopia (Sludge and Crust Punk)
- Fudge Tunnel (Sludge, Noise Rock, elements of Industrial, some Thrash Metal and "Alternative Heavy Metal)
- Isis (Sludge and "Post-Rock")
- Lair of the Minotaur (Sludge mixed up with Thrash Metal)
- Mastodon (Sludge blended with some Progressive Metal
- Mistress (Sludge and Death Metal)
- Part Chimp (Sludge metal and Noise Rock)
- Soilent Green (Sludge and Grindcore)
- Will Haven (Sludge and Metalcore)
- Whores (Sludge and Noise Rock)