Ultraphallus (Sowberry Hagan)

Turn this to 4 of 11

Released: 2011

Genre: Doom, Noise Rock

Sounds Like: Fantomas, Melvins, Godflesh


This album is dark, gloomy, off-beat and frankly, uncomfortable. The Belgium based band combines doom, dirge and experimental noise rock to put forth a very incoherent and against the grain album. Word has it that the band named themselves after Michael Jackson's crooked father. The opening track "Pathological Freemind Verse" could be one of the most painfully disturbing opening tracks we have ever heard. Heavy bass feedback, lead the way in this chanting sacrificial two minute diddy. It certainly does a good job setting the atmosphere of what is to come.

The second and third tracks "Right Models" and "River Jude" at least provide a little structure as the punk infused guitar-rhythms in "Right Models" and screeching doom vocals within "River Jude" provide a unique sonic style coupled with sub-par production. This leads us into "Indians Love Rain," in our opinion is the best track on the album. It is very intriguing with its with ominous vocals alongside the dark dirty melodies, good guitar-work and use of feedback. We hear heavy influences from Sleep to UFOMAMMUT, or even Mike Patton on downers. After this song you are provided with four tracks of bizarre noise experimental uneasiness. Hard-to explain what this filler represents other than... filler and an attempt at noise art?

The last two tracks "The Red Print" and "Torches of Freedom," make up about 15 minutes of the album. "The Red Print" is just flat out creepy. The bass loop becomes uncomfortable along with distorted vocals. This is a good one to play on Halloween in your dark basement. "Torches of Freedom" is an ambient deluge of vocals, distortion and an assortment of bells and acoustics. As you would expect, a very unsettling ending to round-out your experience.

Overall, we are not fans of filler crap. Sowberry Hagan has excessive filler and wasteful space. This may be a fitting album for the masochist who enjoys discomfort and uneasiness, but not our cup of tea. Ideally, the album gains some momentum in tracks 2 thru 4, but goes severely downhill thereafter. For much better production, structure and talent, pick-up the Fantomas library and you will be much more pleased in the long-run.

Standout Tracks: Indians Love Rain


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