Druj – „Chants to Irkalla”
Godz ov War Productions

„Chants to Irkalla” is the debut full-length of Anchorage based band Druj, and it’s utterly monstrous. The ‘blackened sludge’ label they use to describe their music is more or less accurate, but it doesn’t come close to conveying the sickening heaviness of this release.
„Chants to Irkalla” is punishing and intense enough to please anyone who claims to be a fan of heavy music. Sludgy, driving riffs dominate most of the album and give „Chants to Irkalla” its mix of filthy heaviness and infectious, sludgy groove. There are also enough shards of melody to provide some variation and round out the songs.As promised, „Chants to Irkalla” is a gloomy crawl through a murky swamp of dead shit. As far as setting a dark, yet musical, tone goes, they nailed it. Between the droning repetition of massive doom riffs, the discordance of the ‚leads’, and the maniac vokillz, it couldn’t be more like you’re crawling around in a cave. Another feature in their favor is that clearly they know the secret to keeping their songwriting fresh as there is a surprising amount of variety for a doom band in this album, including some uptempo parts.Druj know a thing or two about compelling songwriting, whether dishing out neck-snapping grooves or hypnotic tremolo riffs. Craftsmanship abounds, and the band is highly adept at throwing death metal, sludge and doom into a blender, chugging it, and then spewing the nasty concoction all over the unsuspecting listener. This mastery of a multitude of styles, combined with a brash energy that’s clearly indebted to real rock ‘n’ roll, makes „Chants to Irkalla” one hell of a compelling listen.
Special notice should be given to the production on this album. Whomever was on the boards totally nailed the right sound for this music. The rhythm section rumbles beneath the surface, the guitars starkly glide, and the vocals tear through the darkness with an appropriate amount of reverb, as well as being layered perfectly into the music and not overpowering any of the other instruments.
To conclude, this album is one of the few releases of this year that I would consider true underground extreme music. The sonic and visual brutality presented here makes almost any listener cringe with fear and I have a feeling that’s exactly what Druj wished when writing these twisted, sludgy hymns to darkness and evil. Well fucking done.