'Balls To All'
First off, let me just point out how awesome the name of this album is. Just take a moment to appreciate this title. Now then, cool title aside, what we have here on 'Balls to All' is filthy, dirty sludge metal with strained vocals, some screams and growls thrown in, and a very heavy doom influence.
The first track is a nice little intro, but that’s not what we’re here for. The second track on the album, also the title track, introduces the heaviness. Thundering drums and bass pound underneath discordant, tremolo picked riffs and solos. This track also has a lot of interesting time and tempo changes. This is the most a sludge metal song has ever kept me guessing.
Heavy Lord has done a good job combining different influences on this album. Whether it be the blatantly heavy traditional doom-influenced moments (“Kick Teeth,” and “Mare Tranquillatis”), or the more subtle 70s rock influences, found in “Fear the Beard,” the band definitely know how to keep from becoming stagnant.
One thing that really helps to bring this album’s raw, organic sound to fruition is the vocalist. His voice is like that of a harsh desert wind, and a throat full of sand. The music itself, as a whole, is reminiscent of a long trudge through an endless desert under a blazing sun, documenting the journey, from desperation, to heatstroke, and mirages. This album does a pretty good job creating a mood here, though I feel they’re able to convey this much more effectively on their longer tracks, such as “Dieselweed,” which capture your attention and don’t drag on.
As with most doom and sludge albums, there’s some great bass on here (“Kick Teeth”), but the guitars themselves have so much low-end that the bass often blends in, which isn’t really a bad thing, since it contribute to the boomy sound of the album.
All in all, if you like Mastodon, High on Fire, or Kyuss, you’ll definitely enjoy this, at least to some extent, but chances are, some of the more pure doom metal fans may take a liking to this as well. Sure, some of the riffs can get a little boring, and there are some parts that really aren’t overly engaging or interesting, but I enjoyed this album quite a bit, and I would definitely recommend checking it out. [7.5]