Unpredictability in general is something that people would prefer to do without in almost all aspects of life. The exception to this is art, where in unpredictability serves to exhilarate and shock the audience for purposes of entertainment. This extends to heavy music as well and these days avant-garde bands are not too rare to stumble upon. Heavy Baby Sea Slugs, from Texas, USA is a band whose experimental take on sludge / punk ensures that the music is rife with the above mentioned unpredictability. Recently, this band released a short four track EP titled ‘Teenage Graveyard Party’ on the occasion of their tour in Asia. The band’s fascination with drone, doom, sludge, noise and punk comes together to create 4 tracks that are diverse, eclectic and weirdly ominous sounding.
The droning guitar sounds that start off the record set a very doom metal like precedence before the track (King Midas of Shit) explodes into a cacophony of hardcore punk riffs with ample noise elements. Heavy Baby Sea Slugs have shown multiple facets to their music in the past, but the overarching sound on this record is rooted in punk flavoured sludge metal. This is even more so evident on the title track that follows the opener. As the band maintains a sluggish pace with drunk sounding vocals through the majority of the track, the way they burst into the fiery chorus tends to catch one unexpectedly. The transitions are executed smoothly, in a way that it doesn’t sound contrived at all.
These guys are not just adept at conjuring up convoluted pieces of avant sludge / punk. They show this in the aptly titled Pit Bait, a no-nonsense crusher of a track. Chock full of heavy down-tuned chugs, that break into moments of chaos, the track achieves exactly what the name promises. The album closer Zero One goes full on drone with 6 minutes of meandering riffs, feedback noise and the occasional moans from the vocalist.
These days, it is not hard to find a band that is opting to play an avant-garde version of any particular style. However, not all bands that go down this route manage to stick the landing. In case of Heavy Baby Sea Slugs, the band are definitely skilled at what they do. ‘Teenage Graveyard Party’ as an EP however is not going to set the underground aflame. That said, there are enough interesting ideas to have the listener coming back for more.