Swedish sludge metal band Signo Rojo’s self-titled debut back in 2011 was a somewhat green full-length showcasing some less-than-realized potential within overly long Melvins-feeling tracks with very little variety. On their sophomore record ‘Svårfödd’ the band has grown up to resemble a satiating medium between the fruitlessly soft drag of Baroness and the progressive rock-tinged virtuosity of Mastodon. Anyone convulsing with excitement for raw sludge riffing and hardcore shouting should calm their jib a bit as Signo Rojo are a groove-oriented set of songwriters who’ve taken extensive notes from both ‘Leviathan’ and recent Gojira releases for what is a lightly aggro modern rock record that uses the softer more accessible side of sludge to get their point across.
It is excellent to see a band grow this much across 5-6 years but can’t help but feel such deliberate and restrained musical ideas would be better complimented with bolder vocal delivery and defined chorus. They’re basically giving me musical blue balls half the time and it becomes frustrating. If Signo Rojo can find a musical center of their own and leave behind the direct mid 00’s Mastodon resemblance they’ll keep my interest a bit more. Each song drags on with samey pacing and no real compositional punctuation marks so the result is more of a genre entry than a standout neo-Sludge release.
For all of my gripes with the vaguely accessible, oddly soft sound I did find myself warming up to ‘Svårfödd’ across several listens. Yet without any memorable moments I’m left with a release that doesn’t stand up to the high standards of sludge related metal in 2017. It is definitely one of those ‘for fans of’ records that isn’t ambitious enough to rise above their peers though I have no doubt this band will steadily grow into greater things. If nothing else I’ve learned to never underestimate Swedish work ethic and musical ambition. If you yearn for the earlier days of bands I’ve mentioned in this review, this will likely please you.
Note: At the time of this publication 11/27 this is a free download from bandcamp (link below) so go listen and decide for yourself.
|Released||November 17, 2017|
|BUY/LISTEN on Bandcamp!||Follow Signo Rojo on Facebook|
Sludge Metal, Hardcore Punk, Atmospheric Sludge Metal