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3.75 out of 5 skulls

Agoraphobic Nosebleed Arc

I’ve said it before and i’m sure I’ll annoy you with it again in the future, but I absolutely love the EP format. It allows artists to experiment with new sounds, tease an album or just play fuck around. Sometimes it’s amazing. Most of the time it’s not, but that’s still cool. With Arc, Agoraphobic Nosebleed unleash the first of four EPs that sees each member of the band select a different style than the hummingbird on meth grindcore they’re known for.

Vocalist Kat Katz is responsible for the three songs here and the sludgy dirges contained within, Fans of the band’s previous output will be in for a shock with “Not a Daughter,” “Deathbed” and “Gnaw.” Each track is packed with swampy, bluesy sludge riffage, doomy rhythms and the feeling that this EP is a purge of emotions — vitriol, anger, hate and sadness are all in the air. And it’s all on display with album opener, “Not a Daughter.” The opening song is bluesy, infectious yet still scathing as Katz simply unloads on the listener.

“Deathbed” is the swampiest dirge of the trio with slow moving riffage that feels mired in some subterranean sewer as Katz’s vocals pierce the heavy, stagnate air. It’s a depressive track that feels like a glacier slowly crushing your skull to bits over millennia. A bit of Electric Wizard doomery shows up around the five minute mark which brightens up the song a bit.

EP closer, “Gnaw” is the longest of the three songs, weighing in at eleven minutes (perhaps a touch too long) and is heavy as fuck. It’s a massive song to close out one hell of a shift in sound for Agoraphobic Nosebleed. Arc is pretty impressive considering the group is used to cranking out as many ADD-infused songs as possible. The music here is heavy, sludgy and just damn good.

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