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Haggatha - "Haggatha II" (Vinyl)

Haggatha - "Haggatha II" Vinyl cover image

"Haggatha II" track listing:

1. Circle Of Salt
2. Hogtide
3. These Grey Days
4. Eremozoic
5. Gulag
6. Acquiesce
7. An Old Way Begins Again

Reviewed by on March 22, 2011

"The forty plus minutes that comprise 'Haggatha II' are an unrelenting assault on the sense that leaves the listener feeling as if they’ve been hit by a semi-truck, dragged underneath a train, and then given herpes by a she-male prostitute."

“So heavy it should be illegal!” is the disclaimer that should be printed on a sticker and pasted onto the front of every copy of Haggatha’s “Haggatha II” LP. There hasn’t been an album released in recent memory that was as honestly heavy and, for lack of a better term, as brutal as the full-length debut from Vancouver's most devastating sludge metal act. The forty plus minutes that comprise “Haggatha II” are an unrelenting assault on the sense that leaves the listener feeling as if they’ve been hit by a semi-truck, dragged underneath a train, and then given herpes by a she-male prostitute. Yeah, I said it. It really is that heavy.

“Circle of Salt” represents an absolute monster of a track that contains massive riffage, sickening vocals, and damaging drum work from former 3 Inches of Blood and Pride Tiger drummer Matt Wood. While the sounds of “Circle of Salt” essentially remain the same for the entire album, each track provides the exact same exhausting experience. Although this time, exhaustion comes from trying to win the battle against Haggatha’s massively heavy sound.

Some slight reprieve from the audible onslaught comes in the form of “Eremozoic.” The five minute track has a nice and lengthy section of dual clean picked guitars that have a calming effect, with the layering of the melodies creating a rather enchanting atmosphere. Although, as to be expected, this is merely the calm before the storm and Haggatha’s ghastly heaviness suddenly makes its presence felt within the song. While “Eremozoic” is an instrumental track, it is just as effective as any other song on the album and will require many repeated listens.

The down-tempo sludge metal genre is certainly not your everyday metalhead’s cup of RedBull. Although, if one were ever interested in checking out top-quality material from the genre then “Haggatha II” is the perfect starting point. Every song on this seven track beast is exactly that; a beast. While it may seem repetitive to some, any existing fan of the sludge genre will be instantly drawn into Haggatha’s blend of extreme heaviness and groovy guitar work. “Haggatha II” is so heavy, it should be illegal.

Highs: One of the heaviest albums released in the past decade.

Lows: The album may seem repetitive to some listeners.

Bottom line: Sludge metal's "Master of Puppets."

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)