Slomatics - Strontium Fields
Black Bow Records
Stoner Doom
8 songs (36:36)
Release year: 2023
Bandcamp, Black Bow Records
Reviewed by Goat

Hailing from Northern Ireland and playing a distinct form of bassless stoner doom for nearly twenty years and seven albums now, it's perhaps not to's credit that we haven't covered Slomatics in all that time! Still, redemption is always just around the corner, and Strontium Fields, a relatively short but interesting release from the band, is an excellent place to start. It's an odd release, progressive in arrangement with every track connected in some way yet not what you'd call progressive music, almost immediately launching into droning riffs on opener Wooden Satellites with vocalist/drummer Marty's clean, practically classic doom singing atop, getting more psychedelic as it continues in a particularly Cathedral-esque manner, and seamlessly flowing into the following I, Neanderthal simply drenched in synths.

The use of these synths across the album is one of many ways in which the band excel, the likes of Time Capture allowing them to linger with the clean singing in particularly gripping ways, and making sure that the ensuing doom riffs crush even harder. This especially happens on Like A Kind of Minotaur, the swirling ambience beneath the riffs growing ever deeper as you focus on it, but this interplay is present throughout the album. And for as many solemn, quiet moments such as the almost narrative Zodiac Arts Lab there's a pounding doom juggernaut just around the corner in the form of ARCS, even with the clean singing (any harsh vocals notable only by their absence except for the couple of times they make an appearance across the whole album).

Of course, Slomatics delight in both doom metal's loudest and quietest moments, using both to snare the listener's attention. And the songwriting is expert at this, not in a showy way but in propelling the music onwards, moving from piece to piece smoothly but not overly rapidly, allowing each moment its place in the sun. Each song is strong, reflective, and intelligent, the likes of Voidians having both classic doom's ominous atmosphere and stoner's spacey flights of fancy in a more than capable mix of the subgenres. And by the time you reach finale With Dark Futures, which takes a more epic tone to its doom and lifts the listener up on a tidal wave of gloomy groove, it's hard not to feel like Slomatics have made something of a mini masterpiece! Further listens reveal it to be merely very good indeed, perhaps in need of a little more catchiness, a few more hooks - but as a showcase for the band's skills, a solid to great album that deserves extra ears.

Killing Songs :
Wooden Satellites, Time Capture, Like A Kind of Minotaur, Voidians
Goat quoted 75 / 100
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