Sumac – The Deal (Profound Lore Records; 2015)
Since dissolving his band Isis five years ago, Aaron Turner has kept plenty busy; his sludge supergroup No Man’s Gloom has essentially turned into a full-time project. Sumac, his latest venture, finds him joining forces with Baptists drummer Nick Yacyshyn, delivering a relentless, plodding sludge onslaught not too far removed from his previous projects. Whereas Isis thrived on a dynamic, multi-faceted sound, Sumac’s The Deal finds the duo struggling to invigorate, staying in the same crushing key for nearly all of its 53 minutes. In spite of this, Nick Yacyshyn remains as athletic as ever behind the kit, demonstrating his virtuosic ability for chaos without ever delving into perfunctory masturbation. Turner, rarely escaping mid-tempo grooves, nonetheless holds his own as well thanks to tasty, dissonant riffs and a crunchy guitar tone. “Hollow King”, the album’s deafening centerpiece, is a stunning showcase for Turner’s ability to channel the simplistic into something effective. If The Deal lacks much substance, it nonetheless points to a promising and new, albeit familiar, entity.
Trial Track: “Hollow King”