Saturday, February 16, 2013

Self Inflicted - "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness"

This 3 piece sludge metal band has never made any bones about showing thier obvious influences in Crowbar, Corrosion Of Conformity, Down ect. but also add their own element of groove and heaviness, showing us they are far from a novelty or rip-off act. "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness" showcases the slow, heavy riffing we have come to love from Self Inflicted, but also adds some unexpected twists and turns, keeping the listener on their toes. While album opener "Rebirth" could be considered a Self Inflicted staple, not deviating much from their doomy formula, the following track "SYFM" comes out of left field. This track is an uptempo rager full of classic NY flavor and very reminiscent of early Biohazard. It's stomping verses give way to big open breaks and mosh-friendly riffs and the lyrics are a big middle finger to back-stabbing, gutless shit-talkers. Listen closely to the lyrics and you'll quickly find out what "SYFM" stands for. I feel the mark of a truly great band is when you hear a song and find yourself humming the riffs to yourself later on out of nowhere. Self Inflicted have a couple handfuls of songs that do this for me in their catalog, and the title track here is a fine example of that. The riffing and song structure in "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness" is infectious, this is a track you want to listen to on repeat several times over on full blast, and as I've said in the past I feel that when an albums title track is the strongest song on the album, it makes me love the rest of the songs even more. "TFE" is full of tasty chunks of stoner metal, very bluesy, catchy and one of Self Inflicted's more uptempo tracks. The verse and chorus here could easily go head to head with any C.O.C. track from the "Deliverance" album or even from Down's classic "Nola" debut. "Crossed The Line" is slow, beautiful, brutality at it's best. This is a head-hanging, funeral dirge laden with Iommi-esque riffing and eerie vocal harmonies that sound like they are emanating from an underworld cavern. "To Prey Upon The Weary" evokes some more Biohazard influence with it's, pavement stomping verses, then brings the hammer down with it's Crowbar-esque choruses and super sludgy breakdown, almost a musical clashing of New York City and Louisiana, if you will. "Silent Echoes" is a solid track that sheds some light on the bands thunderous bass and drum section. Ian and Keith are the thick, rythmic foundation of this band and here they tactfully rattle the walls while Phil lays down slick guitar lines that help smooth out the heavy punch of the bass. "Twilight Of Enlightenment" while still heavy and unmistakibly a Self Inflicted track, has a very airy feeling and a very pure rock and roll vibe. I picture the guys rocking this one out and having fun, smiling at each other while doing so, almost with a "This rocks and you know it" attitude. "Unconscious Understanding" is a dark song with really cool guitar chords and killer background effect that makes the listener feel as if they are swirling down into a black hole of helplessness while Keith's lyrics paint an ugly picture of anger and depression. "Cant Change What Hasnt Happened" is a rollercoaster ride of a song, starting out with Sabbath style riffing that keeps your head nodding and toe tapping. Then out of nowhere we are bludgeoned with a death metal attack of feverish riffing and duelling lead guitar. I detect a bit of Entombed influence here, a mice mix of doom and death n' roll. Album closer,"The Will Of Man" is very much a "Classic" Self Inflicted song, oozing with sludgy riffs that steamroll over you like a large rusty wheel. This 11 minute epic showcases, big open chords, harmonized riffs and slowly lulls out and fades away with clean guitar and some background samples. As this album ends, the first thing you want to do is press the play button again. Without a doubt "Sweet Taste Of Emptiness" is Self Inflicted's finest work yet, and in my opinion any label would be proud to release this on a worldwide scale and make this 3 piece from Oklahoma part of their family. By the time this article hits print, the band should have physical copies of the amazing disk available. You can find Self Inflicted on Facebook and reverbnation or email them at and contact them there to get your copy of this sludge fueled masterpiece directly from the band.