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Rolling Through The Universe – Lethe – Album Review

Rolling into oblivion!

Source // f1.bcbits.com

Let’s be honest here, a lot of Sludge albums can be quite one dimensional. This is no bad thing – in fact it can be one of the plus points of the genre – as despite the bleakness, Sludge can be a thing of harsh beauty when done well. Well guess what? Rolling Through The Universe, a four piece Sludge/Doom band from Portland Oregon, happen to do this kind of thing very well indeed. Lethe, their third full length album, is made up of six lengthy tracks that are crushingly heavy yet surprisingly melodic; something that can be lacking in a lot of underground Sludge and Doom.

Originally starting life as an instrumental act, what is abundantly clear is that Rolling Through The Universe still aren’t afraid to let their music do the talking. With vocals pressed low in the mix and quite reminiscent of the stylings of Neurosis, most of the tracks on Lethe comprise of long, drawn out instrumental passages. The album is book ended by its standout tracks with “Lethe” kicking things off with bruising psychedelia-tinged riffing while “Subject Of Discord” satisfyingly closes the album, lingering long in the memory as it slowly fades and drifts off into the distance. While this style can be a bit derivative, RTTU aren’t afraid to mix things up and throw in a few tricks here and there. There’s a definite Psychedelic edge to their music and at times a Post Metal – almost ‘Shoegaze’ vibe – breaks up the riffs, as well as wee blasts of welcome speed here and there.

Speaking of riffs, this album has them by the bucketload! Some are great big, monolithic beasts and others move with all the speed of a glacier during the Ice Age; all are enthralling. Production wise, Lethe ticks all the right boxes. The guitar sound is crisp and clear with hefty crunch and fuzz and the bass and drums are right up in the mix and punch through loud and clear. Sometimes albums of this ilk can be fuzzed up, reverb drenched monsters, however the crisp, warm production smooths down many of the rough edges to make each song palatable enough for the majority of heavy music fans.

If you like your music to offer a quick fix, then Lethe is not for you. If, on the other hand, you like your music to take you on a considerable journey then you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this rewarding album. Rolling Through The Universe deserve to be better known and Lethe could be the album to do it for them, if they can get enough exposure. All told, an unexpected delight! 8/10

About Gavin O'Connor (161 Articles)
Lifelong Heavy Metal fan. First got into Quo and Leppard, when I was 9 or so I first heard Megadeth and that was me hooked

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