El Sledge (+) | Doom

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Rock: 70's Rock Metal/Punk: Doom/Stoner Metal Moods: Spiritual
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Doom

by El Sledge (+)

A frenzied rollercoaster ride into apocalyptic territory, redolent of a latter stage crimson workout: distinctive, disturbing and fun.
Genre: Rock: 70's Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. The Hour Glass
3:38 $0.99
2. The Pentecost Broadcast
9:21 $0.99
3. Golgotha
8:26 $0.99
4. Primal Scream
6:28 $0.99
5. Ancient Religion
2:33 $0.99
6. The Eschaton
12:04 $0.99
7. Vespers (Live)
8:38 $0.99
8. Golgotha (Live)
13:34 $0.99
9. Resurrection (Live)
14:22 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
"Matt Graboski ('son of Jay') can also be found with powerful drummer Steve Sroka and his dad on bass duties, on EL SLEDGE (+)'s 'doom' c.d., after 'The Baltimore Initiative' and 'Fletcher's Last Night' releases. The accompanying post-it proclaiming, 'This is Heavy!' just about nails this particular beast in one fell swoop. Heavy in an early '70s kinda way, where a certain seam of hard rock is excavated, to which elements of prog and even jazz nuances are accommodated. Heavy metal fatigue need never be mentioned as this is a far more enticing prospect. Note the ascending riffs on 'the hour glass,' redolent of a latter stage Crimso workout with unpredictable twists 'n' turns written into a lion's share of the arrangements, (see 'primal scream' and 'the eschaton'). Matt's vocals, especially on the end times diorama 'golgotha,' are a dramatic entity thankfully shorn of the histrionics seemingly employed by the hordes, thinking that 'over-singing' is an essential component of the genre. Not so. As 'doom' seems to be the last part of a trilogy...what next fer th' Sledge (+)? Who knows, but they're certainly a name to retain in the brain."
-Steve Prescott
(terrascope.co.uk)

"As the two piano notes, colorful sonic cascade and acoustic guitar opening with voice at the beginning of the first cut give way and build to a more edgy and anguished rock, one might detect a collision of torment and tumult amid the alternative rock approach, seemingly informed by the likes of some of the heavier bands of the past (King Crimson) but this set also includes some nice jazz, avant-garde and psychedelic elements.  Within these notes and measures burn the creative sparks that erupt into a full blown din, while at the same time offering appropriate melodic and rhythmic structures that give it the necessary form and feeling to keep it interesting and highly original.  There is real emotion here, both in the lyrics/vocal delivery and the instrumental attack.  And things just keep getting more interesting as the disc proceeds: 'the pentecost broadcast' gets overshadowed by the dark artistry and pensiveness of 'primal scream.'  By the time we get to 'ancient religion'/the eschaton,' we are on a frenzied rollercoaster ride into apocalyptic territory.  Where does it go from here?  Does the world just end in flames?  I guess we will have to wait and find out; but while we wait, don't miss out on this moment."
-Peter Thelen
(Expose)

"The best of the bands that sound 'retro' make it work not because they have vintage gear or record to analog tape, but because an innate sensibility drives their search for the essence of an era.  Most of all they have the insight to write, arrange and perform songs that make listeners wax nostalgic--even for a time they never lived through.  Matt Graboski (guitars/voices/effects, with support from drummer Stephen Sroka and father Jay Graboski (of OHO fame) might not think of El Sledge (+) as retro or metal.  But he crafts these six pieces with such care and detail that the finer aspects of '70s icons such as Uriah Heep, or more progressive (and the lesser known) Lucifer's Friend, readily manifest.  Comparisons shortchange this project's genuinely unique approach, however, starting foremost with Matt's harrowing, echo-drenched, semi-operatic vocals.  He calls forth like a desperately lost soul amidst acoustic/electric foundations ranging from acid-psych to jazzy avant-garde.  Song titles 'golgotha,' 'primal scream,' 'ancient religion' and 'the eschaton' serve notice of the soul-twisting, apocalyptic vibes therein.  Distinctive, disturbing and fun."
-Dewey Gurall
(Progression #66)

(a 2nd) Progression Magazine review for el sledge (+)'s "doom":
2011/ 2017 (CD, 79:10)
OHO MUSIC 066
MODERN HEAVY PROGRESSIVE
RATING: **** ½ (out of 5)
Bandleader/ guitarist/ vocalist Matt Graboski (yep – that’s Progression contributor and OHO alum Jay’s lad) defiantly dons his Tool/Mars Volta colors as a reference pad to fashion a seriously eclectic sound that, while spawning frequent déjà vu, is guaranteed to baffle the skill of genre nomenclature fetishists. Matt’s acoustic chops are such that he has been considered for membership in the California Guitar Trio, but on Doom he focuses on rich, dense modern rock tones and burgeoning piano skills. But that voice! Matt channels his inner Cedric Bixler-Zavala throughout this dramatic exercise as if possessed by some emissary of eschatological mayhem. Yet even on so wrought and feverish a cut as “The Eschaton”, his pipes never falter. The most eclectic (and interesting) tracks are “Primal Scream”, where Matt’s redoubtable acoustic sensibilities are placed alongside pulse pounding nu-metal and pastoral major seventh new age jazz, and the instru-metal “Ancient Religion”, which finds him adding synth and piano to his already formidable arsenal. El Sledge (+) is an act to watch.
– John Patrick

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Reviews


to write a review

Pyramid Fest

"BIZARRE band"
"El Sledge(+) Another bizarre band, but one I embraced whole-heartedly: a three-piece featuring singer/guitarist, drummer, and bassist (who was the singer's dad) playing a unique mix of heavy styles. Many of their songs sounded like Monster Magnet, inspired stoner metal with incredible amounts of vocal reverb."
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Jim Cirile (Progression Magazine)

"Raucous and full"
"A well done, metal screechfest, the sound is raucous and full and not without surprises. Much of this is melodic, time-change-heavy rock. Graboski's voice is excellent--reminiscent of Jim Morrison but with far more range; and Sroka's propulsive drumming knits things together."
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Jon Neudorf (Sea of Tranquility)

"Get ready to rock."
"This album rawks with a raw intensity. Sroka pummels his drum kit senseless as Graboski screams and wails through the microphone and squelching guitar chords hit you in the face. This band is anything buit subtle but they do throw in some atmospheric sections to ease the brutality. Get readyu to rawk!"
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Rocco Edivan

"WOW!"
"Wow! Emerson Lake and Palmer, Dark Side of the Moon and Queen all meet the dark night of the 16th century; or it could be the 15th century? I feel like I have just joined a cult and I am wondering what hasn't been embedded in my brain."
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Shindig #67

"Exemplary whisper-to hemorrage dynamic range"
"The apple never falls far from the tree: Doom
(★★★, OHO MUSIC) by EL SLEDGE (+) finds Matt
Graboski, son of OHO's Jay, perpetuating a kind of end-times hyper-prog, with his dad gamely holding down the band’s low end. It’s less to my taste than OHO – those standing-on-a-promontory-in-a-gale vocals can go either way – but there’s no denying the passion, the musicianship and the exemplary
whisper-to-haemorrhage dynamic range. At its slickest
and least friendly, you may be reminded of the dreaded
Dream Theater, with a kit made entirely from bass drums
tumbling down the Odessa steps; but at its most inspired
it suggests what Van Der Graaf might have sounded like
if they’d been born 30 years later, in Baltimore, during an
earthquake. Besides which, Doom is the kind of album
title we can really get behind in our new dark age."
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Michael Popke (Sea of Tranquility)

"These songs do the talking"
El Sledge (+): Doom
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2014-02-10 19:09:43
My Score:


Maryland's El Sledge [+] — the plus represents the band's transformation from a one-man band featuring vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Matt Graboski to a duo and then a trio — combine old-school angular prog with contemporary avant-rock to create a challenging listening experience via Doom. These half-dozen songs, ranging in length from two-and-a-half minutes to 12 minutes, do the talking. From the lush acoustic guitar passage that opens the album at the beginning of "The Hour Glass" to Graboski's tormented screams at the end of the gargantuan "Golgotha" and his borderline black-metal delivery on "Primal Scream" to the pretty turned catchy-as-hell "Ancient Religion," this is not music for the weak. This won't put you in a better mood. And it may well spoil what had been a pretty decent day. But music's weird that way.
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Steven Reid (Sea of Tranquility)

"Gargantuan riffs"
Initially based round one man, Matthew Graboski, El Sledge have put out a pair of releases which have baffled, confused and amazed onlookers. Now expanded into a trio, hence the (+), Doom is the third offering from this outfit, recorded in 2011, but released this year and it follows on conceptually from its predecessors, Fletcher's Last Stand & The Baltimore Initiative 2010. What Graboski, his father Jay and Steve Sroka have conjured up is genre blurring doom, prog, space rock/metal, that perfectly fits into the apocalyptic tale expounded here. Thankfully this act are hard to categorise or compare, but if I had to choose one band to liken El Sledge (+) to, it would be dooming stoner progsters Spiral. Both bands have a similar desolate edge to what they do and both see their primary aim as taking the listener on a musical and lyrical journey. ES(+) though are a tougher beast, the likes of "Primal Scream" introducing itself on a gargantuan riff, before off kilter vocals, screams and uncomfortably claustrophobic musical passages completely change the vision. It is a neat trick and one pulled off time and again on Doom, an album title which has more to do with the concept of this band's trio of releases than the music they house. Although a fair crack of doom and stoner influence does ooze from the gloom.

In general this is an intentionally dark, deep and unsettling release, the likes of "The Hour Glass" setting a sparse, yet intense tone which is used as a starting point for some more overtly melodic and almost catchy segues. However the intention here is not to have you singing along when the mood grabs you, rather El Sledge (+) would be happier to have you cowering in the corner babbling incoherently while their despair washes eagerly and relentlessly over you. Happy, feel good music this is not.

Far from being an album which could fit into any day or circumstance, Doom is isolated and concentrated listening fare and while more immediate sections do jump out, repeat visits really are required to make sense of the whole undertaking. Either way, if you have the patience and time to unravel its inner messages and meanings and to withstand an initial stand-off experience, then this is an album you'll enjoy being challenged by.
Read more...

John Patrick (Progression)

"But that voice!"
Bandleader/ guitarist/ vocalist Matt Graboski (yep – that’s Progression contributor and OHO alum Jay’s lad) defiantly dons his Tool/ Mars Volta colors as a reference pad to fashion a seriously eclectic sound that, while spawning frequent déjà vu’, is guaranteed to baffle the skill of genre nomenclature fetishists. Matt’s acoustic chops are such that he has been considered for membership in the California Guitar Trio, but on Doom he focuses on rich, dense modern rock tones and burgeoning piano skills. But that voice! Matt channels his inner Cedric Bixler-Zavala throughout this dramatic exercise as if possessed by some emissary of eschatological mayhem. Yet even on so wrought and feverish a cut as “The Eschaton”, his pipes never falter. The most eclectic (and interesting) tracks are “Primal Scream”, where Matt’s redoubtable acoustic sensibilities are placed alongside pulse pounding nu-metal and pastoral major seventh new age jazz, and the instrumental “Ancient Religion”, which finds him adding synth and piano to his already formidable arsenal. El Sledge (+) is an act to watch.
Read more...

Frank Kaufman

"I'm blown away!"
I'm blown away by the amount of work and artistic creation presented in this fine music. You are great artisans. Glad to see that you are making good use of your time and generating creative gems.
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Paul Rieger

"Really nice work, all around!"
I enjoyed the listening experience! My favorites were tracks 4 and 5, primal scream and ancient religion. Really nice work, all around!
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