Why it’s taken me this long to review the work of Judd Madden is beyond me. Drown is a part of a triptych of self-released albums from Melbourne-based musician Judd Madden. While it’s easy to call albums “ground breaking”, “monumental” and “epic”, Drown definitely hits all of those on the head with precision, especially when compared to the other albums in the series: Float and Waterfall. What makes this doom-ridden series so dynamic is that each of the albums are entirely different beasts. Drown makes up the most recent in the series of experimental albums and is by far my favorite. Featuring crushing riffs and menacing drums, Drown evokes a sensation that’s understood immediately.
In just 7 tracks, Judd brings the weight, totaling an hour of playing time. Doom metal ain’t that tough to nail down and yet, Judd Madden’s work is so effortless in achieving that classic sound that it really makes you wonder how smart he really is. “Path” and “Riptide” begin their reign of bass and riffage, raking in an impressive 14 minutes for the pair. Drown‘s sound is a familiar one. There’s obvious Sleep influence but it’s not as monotonous as Isis or Pelican can be. If I were to compare it’s sound to anything, it’d come in close with Flood. For a more experimental and softened tone, check out “Waterlung” with its ripping opening riff and cascading symbols. This classic sludge track echoes the days of Sabbath and Vitus.
Drown continues to conquer all doom metal with “Subsurface”. It’s a slow gallop until it builds momentum but once it gets going, you’re not stopping this steed of fury. Up next is the longest cut on the album, “Blackout” and as the name implies, it’s a long one. 11-minutes filled with psychedelic riffs and god dammit, it’s my favorite Judd Madden song. So heavy! The one thing I’ll say about Drown is that it’s by no means as post-metal as the 2010 release, Waterfall was. This shit is neck-breaking.
A whining riff starts off “Sinker”, the second-longest song on Drown. Here’s where the trippy dippy riffs really take hold of the experience. If you’re a fan of Sleep, I cannot emphasize how much you need to sit down and crank this track. Just imagine if Dopesmoker was even slower. While the entire album plays quickly and effortlessly, there’s very little vernacular influence. Let’s face it, Melbourne ain’t exactly a metal town, nor is Australia as a whole. But hearing “Drown” begin with a didjeridu is spot-fucking-on. Out of all the instruments used in doom and sludge, this one fits the best. I’m very, very impressed with Judd Madden’s catalog and any artist that gives his music away for free deserves accolades in my book. Do yourself a favor and head over to check the rest of his music out right now!- Prolly