With a Gateways To Annihilation-esque take on old-school death metal fashioned to a Southern sludge aesthetic, Mississippi’s Skulldozer ably live up to their head-stomping name with a debut album that crushes your precious brain matter under the leaden weight of Crowbar-inspired heft and Morbid Angel-derived death metal grandeur.
This mostly mid-tempo bludgeoning is as heavy as sin and while Skulldozer are in no way attempting to re-invent the wheel (or should that be the ‘tread’ of the ‘Skulldozer’?!) they have delivered an album of quality old-school death metal that’s suitably nasty but avoids becoming entrenched in today’s dissonance-obsessed tech-wankery that passes for modern death metal nowadays – and as OSDM fans, we can’t ask for more than that now, can we!
“Scum Beneath The Skin” has a satisfying Blessed Are The Sick vibe (think a slightly sped-up “Day Of Suffering”) while “Hatesworn Shitstorm” is suitably caustic and continues down the same left hand path.
So far, so Morbid Angel-y and death metal-y but where’s the sludge?
Oh, it’s there alright, particularly on the murky grooves of “Wolves Amongst Sheeple” which goes on a full-on swampy stomp and, heavier vocals aside, fully encapsulates the ‘planets collide’ tonnage of prime Crowbar. “Deathblessed” then strips the ‘death’ back even further and chugs its way into oblivion with its listener right by its side.
In truth, this thing doesn’t give an inch and when you can end your album with the absolute pummelling riffery of “Skullfucking Domination”, you know you’re on to a winner.
Pray for both your souls and your skulls…. the Skulldozer is fired up and ready to rumble its way over your soft fleshy parts! 8/10
Skulldozer‘s Non Stop Ruthless Crushing was released on January 13th, 2023 via Guts and Blood Records.