|Band: Bad Luck Rides On Wheels|
|Album: Semper Eadem|
|Genre: Death Doom / Sludge|
|Release Date: 1st of December, 2020|
|Released via Sensitive Wormrile / W.I.F.A.G.E.N.A. Records|
|Cover Artwork © Sensitive Wormrile / W.I.F.A.G.E.N.A. Records|
Bad Luck Rides On Wheels were pretty high on my list for quite a while, but to be honest I lost touch with this band a bit since their album Serpentine, which was released seven years ago by now. Therefore the release of the new longplayer Semper Eadem passed me by a bit. The combo, which is composed of members of Wojczech, Who’s My Saviour and now Confusion Master, is known for its individual hybrid of heavy Death Doom, deadly Sludge and various Krautrock elements and has made a name for itself in underground Metal with several gigs. However, what BLROW unsleash on their current coup is qualitatively and purely from the musical level not to be compared with what you have previously been presented by the northern Germans. The sound is now much more massive, darker and clearly more settled in Death Doom than ever before, which benefits the band accordingly and makes Semper Eadem a record that, had I heard it sooner, would certainly have been on my Best Of 2020 list. Be sure to get ready for one of the most interesting and at the same time hardest albums that the German metal scene had to offer last year!
For the first two minutes, the entry into the album sounds as if BLROW first have to warm up properly to be able to play their crude demolition, which is also confirmed shortly thereafter. However, these first bars are intense already and bring massive sounds to light, which wobble along the rest of the song that is clearly structured, but do not lose a bit of hardness. Immediately, the ultra-tight and particularly powerful drumming stands out positively, which will inspire me throughout the entire record, so much in advance. In general, ‘Le Livre Du Ciel Et Du Monde‘ offers a strong opening to get familiar with the band’s new quality. Although the track spreads out in midtempo at most, it comes across as relentlessly brutal, as if an avalanche of filth is about to sweep over you. Deep distorted riffing and spacey elements included. In addition, the growls are intense and harrowing, which clearly benefits the hard tunes and makes them sound even more violent. Towards the end, these sci-fi like sounds pull themselves more into the foreground and are whipped forward by a fulminant double bass. The guitar, on the other hand, becomes more and more melodic as the song progresses, showing first Krautrock influences that manage to diversify the first overlong track and duly complete the build-up.
With “Semper Eadem,” the title track to the album follows, which is with just a little less than eight minutes playtime one of the two “shorter” songs. Here you get to feel the rushing sound of the double bass almost from the beginning, which is supported and strengthened with several whirls and a lot of cymbal play. The drums also sound simply fantastic and expressive. In addition to the now nastier riffing, there is also a slight change in the vocals towards sludgier parts, which now definitely sounds more disgusting than it was the case on the first track. From the middle section on, melodies are fed in again, which carry through to the end, giving the sound a vibe that you can quickly immerse yourself in and which further solidifies the space setting and once again underlines the band’s playing skills and also the good songwriting. The drums, on the other hand, hammer themselves into a frenzy and have reached the limit of variety in order not to fall into too chaotic contrasts. Here, as well, I like the structure very much and it also manages to unfold and ignite completely.
On “Heart Gathered Grapes Of Ignorance,” after a terse but haunting atmospheric beginning, things get quite sludgy and a low-pitched riffing with a slightly mantra-like effect pummels the listener. The song seems slimy and more disgusting than the gloomy Death Doom sounds that could be marveled at before, while the vocals are again formed from the strong sinister growls and can thus tie the thread. The guitar playing here, however, is not stretched out quite as much and is set into the background a bit, while the drums come across much more swirly, spreading a slight punk touch. Another point that comes out positively on this track is the filthy grumbling bass, which I have perceived in the past rather as background, but which becomes a significant support here and provides a diabolical undertone. Generally, there are no frills here and the attention is placed on brutality.
“To Thy Cross” then follows, which pushes the sound of Bad Luck Rides On Wheels by its nasty melodic sound even deeper into the germinating Sludge sphere and seems as if the cart has finally got stuck in the mud. The interplay of violently distorted guitar playing and deep-voiced mainriffing works excellently and seems wonderfully coordinated. In addition, the atmosphere can build up immensely under the increased use of progressive, partly rock instrumentals, and thus quickly carried away. The song then fades towards the end, after it has fully built up with the help of Krautrock passages, and languishes the last few minutes with an endless groove and for the first time shows the album from its quiet side, which suits the band just as well as the intense sounds that have been served up so far. The setting shows itself from a completely different side and is clearly more reminiscent of the sound of the previous album Serpentine. Whereby it must be noted that this is completely without vocals in order to give the instrumens the entire space, which definitely happens.
The last and at the same time longest track of Semper Eadem is “Monocelestial Chords” which is much quieter from the first note and thus seamlessly follows the outro of “To Thy Cross”. Strongly distorted, reverberating riffing that repeatedly gives itself the clutch into the hand is not boring at all, but ensures that you can immediately immerse yourself in the shallower but equally mysterious atmosphere that is created by this simple stylistic device. Up to the half of the title the sounds continue to increase and give again these spacey Krautrock elements to its best. At some point, however, everything unloads and the riffing, led by the tight drums, becomes harder and thereby underpinned by a great melody, which, if you get involved, clearly takes on hypnotic features until BLROW decides to take a violent step again, in which the evil vocals also return. Especially the merciless guitar playing appears here again and ensures that you are finally rolled over. Even if the sound can now be classified more in the field of Death Doom than Sludge, the Doom portion is greater than ever, which is a little surprising in view of the general song lengths, but at the same time also shows the sophisticated and thoughtful songwriting. Fifteen minutes that give the album a worthy conclusion and for me personally are the best that Bad Luck Rides On Wheels have conjured up on this record.
Semper Eadem officially saw the light on December 1, 2020 and was released on vinyl via W.I.F.A.G.E.N.A Records and Sensitive Wormrile. What remains a mystery to me due to the strong quality is the fact that a few copies of the album are indeed still available. Every fan of intense progressive influenced and vicious Death Doom can or maybe better should grab this hard chunk in physical version without hesitation to get the full enjoyment of this outstandingly sounding record.
Semper Eadem is not just incredibly massive and super well produced, it also testifies to musical sophistication and proves Bad Luck Rides On Wheels a fantastic career. Despite overlong songs, the album bristles with tons of instrumental highlights and offers merciless long-playing character while letting boredom evaporate into thin air. Magnificent song structures including totally wicked and dense space atmosphere and superior drumming make this record a fearsome and extremely exciting release that you fall for and just can’t get sick of playing it. After listening to this album, I was almost a little ashamed to have lost the band out of sight for so long, but have already tried to compensate the lost time with several run-throughs of the record. What awaits the listener on Semper Eadem can be summarized in a few words – colossal, relentless and abysmally malicious. As a die hard fan of gloomy crushing Death Doom you will definitely regret it if you do not listen to this powerful release!
Ps. The point that was not given comes from the fact that unfortunately ‘Monocelestial Chords’ is not on the LP, which is understandable for reasons of length and space on the physical version. But the song is included in the corresponding digital download.
“Le Livre Du Ciel Et Du Monde”
“Monocelestial Chords”deduction is only because