Here are the 10 best new sludge metal bands since 2010, chosen by Lord Dying's Alyssa Maucere.
Sludge metal is a subgenre that has been largely consistent across the decades, with some stylistic detours along the way, such as Lord Dying's dabbling with prog and concepts. Much like doom metal, you rarely hear anything in sludge that's remotely close to bad or even just average, meaning with gave Maucere a rather imposing task.
The bassist makes her recording debut with Lord Dying on their new record, Clandestine Transcendence, and delivers the goods when it comes to hand-picking some truly great sludge bands from the last 10 to 15 years.
Our rule here is, in order to qualify, the band had to have released their first album in or after 2010. With one exception for a particular band, who squeeze in with a 2009 effort. Why? Because rules are for squares, that's why!
What You Need to Know About Lord Dying
From: Portland, Oregon
First Album: Summon the Faithless (2013)
New Album: Clandestine Transcendence
Clandestine Transcendence is a continuation of the narrative that was established on 2019's Mysterium Tremendum. It's based around a character named The Dreamer, who is immortal but wishes to die and, on this new album, death finally comes knocking and the record explores what happens beyond death.
Before getting to Maucere's picks further below, check out "I AM NOTHING I AM EVERYTHING" for a taste of what Lord Dying bring on this new album.
Lord Dying, "I AM NOTHING I AM EVERYTHING"
READ MORE: 25 Legendary Extreme Metal Albums With No Weak Songs
Get your copy of 'Clandestine Transcendence,' out Jan. 19 on MNRK Heavy, here. Follow Lord Dying on Facebook, Instagram and X (formerly Twitter).
10 Best New Sludge Metal Bands Since 2010, Chosen by Lord Dying's Alyssa Maucere
It's hard to say what truly sounds like sludge metal in the 2010s without it edging too close into other subgenres, but I feel like I brought to the table the bands who deserve the modern title of "sludge metal". So here goes nothing in no particular order...
Recommended Album: Scorn (2013)
I remember the first time I saw Primitive Man was in Allentown, Pa. in a warehouse called the Good Weekend with Celeste (killer blackend sludge from Lyon, France) in back in 2015.
I had smoked a ton of hash that evening and the experience was totally brutal in the best way.
I adorn the handmade embroidered patch of a skull with a noose that one of Primitive Man's grandmother's had sewn on my vest before tour.
Primitive Man sounds exactly like their name: the unfettered terror of predators ready to kill you if you let down your guard. Scorn was my first introduction to this band and the album's devastation, even 12 years later, persists.
Recommended Album: Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home (2011)
Unless you've been living under a rock, you have definitely heard of this band. I learned about them while living in Philly and my friend Evan Void was tattooing one of the members.
When Evan Void tells you to listen to a band, you listen. And they were named after an Entombed song, and with that, I was sold.
Needless to say, they have been going hard, touring relentlessly, releasing tons of music, including collaborations with bands such as Primtive Man and shoegaze band Nothing.
Full Of Hell have grown more extreme these past 10-plus years, forging a new sound that’s open to interpretation. But that first LP, Roots Of Earth Are Consuming My Home from 2011, certainly makes it on this list as a great modern sludge album.
Recommended Album: Ruiner (2014)
Are they heavy? YES. Are they dark? VERY MUCH YES. Are they from the south? YES, Atlanta, in fact. Do they sound pissed off about something? Definitely. Does their music go above 65 bpm? No.
I love Whores' album Ruiner from 2014. I love howling along to the whole album. I play it in my car and realize I am driving 25 over the speed limit. It's got those riffs that hook you and sink you down like an anchor.
Sum up: Whores batter.
Recommended Album: The Unfailing Rope (2023)
Sunrot are a New Jersey/Philly based sludge/doom band who’ve been blazing their own trail since 2014.
Even though I try not to compare bands to others, there is an undeniable and parallel to the Times Of Grace days of Neurosis, but they take it to a different place. They’re addressing tough issues within the metal community itself, including LGBTQ+ rights and socio-politics that affect our future.
The Unfailing Rope is so fucking good. My favorite track "Gutter" really encompasses the spirit of this record, screaming for justice and peace.
Lex Alex Nihilum's scathing lyrics and vocal performance boil with disdain and you can truly feel it. They're playing Roadburn 2024 and I couldn't be more happy for them.
Please go see them if you go this year.
Recommended Album: You Must Relax (2019)
Okay, I am completely obsessed with this band. Unfortunately they split up, but they left behind this incredible album that's a beginning to end five-track LP masterpiece. "
You Must Relax packs such a massive punch. It grooves as much as it punishes. It's so, so, so, so, so, bass heavy thanks to having two bass players. It's also heavy on the feedback and noise, which is a great palette cleanser between tracks.
I had the great honor to see Bellrope live at Roadburn 2019. It was my favorite show of the whole festival, hands down.
Recommended Album: Gemini (2012)
This St. Louis band drunkenly dances between the fringes of doom and sludge and doesn't care if you like it or not.
Fister are clocking in on average at 55 BPMs, even slower than your average sludge band of 30 years ago, but they come at you randomly with blast beats that shred your face like a cheese grater.
The screams are unrelenting, just painful. And the guitar tone sizzles like an electrocution fire.
It shocks me to know this is only a power trio. It sounds like an orchestra of bulldozers. Goddamn, Fister boys, your music hurts.
Recommended Album: Life Assisted Suicide (2015)
This Philadelphia power-trio takes sludge and incorporates their love of depressive black metal and death metal.
Jay's vocals slowly thrash you down the spiraling drain and the baritone guitar adds such a thickness to the murky trudging achieved by the rhythm section.
In 2015, they asked me to do their logo and also the artwork for their first release, Life Assisted Suicide. I was stoked to work with them because after hearing the record, I truly felt what they were doing.
They're all Philly-heads like myself, and we’ve all seen some shit over the years that isn’t so pleasant. Between city-wide drugs, poverty, and violence, there’s no shortage of life experience to draw from.
Long story short, Moros are the real deal.
Recommended Album: Ruins (2016)
I had only heard Body Void recently when I saw Spirit Possession (Portland, Oregon) who opened for them, Jarhead Fertilizer and Primitive Man last year.
They're ultra slow and their tone is blown the fuck out but still manages to get that head bobbing groove that you get from bands such as Electric Wizard, but more complex and dark.
Ruins is sludgier than their most recent albums. That said, 2023's Atrocity Machine is hands-down seething, a great listen if you're into the noisier side.
Recommended Album: Hell (2009)
This one man solo project is absolutely fucking awesome. I can't even explain how good it is you just have to hear it. He goes by M.S.W. and he's based out of Salem, Oregon.
I saw Hell live at The Tonic Lounge (R.I.P) in Portland, Ore. in 2017 with Usnea and CHRCH. One of the live performers for Hell is Mizmor (if you haven't listened to Mizmor yet, you're fucking up).
This down-tuned journey into the self-described personal hell totally gets its own special place on this list.
Not enough people know this band and I cannot recommend Hell highly enough.
There are four albums — Hell, Hell II, Hell III and Hell IV. Just go for the whole enchilada. You'll definitely have another notch in your belt for obscure metal knowledge.
Recommended Album: When Rivers Run Dry (2023)
This Toronto, Canada band is a new find for me. They’re remarkably more traditional sludge than anyone else on the list. It’s Dystopia-style hardcore/sludge, all about the genocide of Indigenous Peoples in North America.
Alexander Senum attacks the world with his lyrics. There is nothing contrived about what is being said, felt, or played here.
When Rivers Run Dry is an album I would have thought was something I accidentally missed from the late 1990s.
The current recordings are raw and real. I can see this band making an impact for years to come if they keep going the way they are. And I'm stoked to see where they’re going take the future of sludge metal.
Coffinworm, When All Became None
Chat Pile. God's Country
Bocc, Dolca Morten Els
Xibalba, Madre Mis Gracias Por Las Dias
Vile Creature, Cast of Static and Smoke
Inter Arma, Sulphur English
Couch Slut, Take A Chance On Rock'n'Roll