Sludge metal is one of the few sub-genres of metal that can trace its origins back to the very foundation of metal. Originating from the amalgamation of long-form progressive rock and the darker, moodier melodies that bands such as the iconic Black Sabbath popularized, it has also evolved over the years by combining elements of hardcore and death metal in order to become truly evil. The Gemini Curse, hailing from the wastelands of New Mexico, proudly carry the torch of their sludgy forefathers on their newest release, “Omens of Enmity.”
The album kicks off with “Seeds of Decay,” and it’s downright filthy. From its tension-building intro to the endlessly chugging riffwork to the roaring vocal work that switches from Jekyll to Hyde throughout, the talents of sole band members Kiersten Graham and Marty Williamson are on full display. Track 2, “A. Eye,” takes its time crafting a musical soundscape in the opening minute and a half before introducing prolonged power-chords and devastating bass-work. The interplay of spoken words and shrieking vocals make this tune a standout. The next two tracks, “Cicada” and the title track, continue the moody, trudging pace of the album and effectively show the musical range The Gemini Curse can achieve within the confines of their chosen sub-genre.
The following track, “The Widow Maker,” is when things get shaken up, taking a more groove metal approach than its processors. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air that helps keeps the ears on their toes. The penultimate track, “Calico,” bounces between sludge and groove, delivering a uniquely brutal track that is sure to bring chaos to the pit. The fusion of sub-genres is as ingenious as it is horn-raising. The album concludes with the enigmatic “Mary Annette,” opening with synthesizers and robotized vocals before ending as it began – knee-deep in sludge.
The Gemini Curse aren’t reinventing the wheel with “Omens of Enmity,” but they certainly are helping to keep it moving. Make sure to give it a listen at https://thegeminicurse.bandcamp.com/album/omens-of-enmity
Overall Sound – 8 out of 10 (classic sludge metal with modern production and some occasional twists)
Vocal Style – 8 out of 10 (from ferocious roars to piercing shrieks to gentle cleans, there’s tons of vocal variety)
Overall Song Composition – 8 out of 10 (consistent with the core tenants of the sludge metal sub-genre throughout, with some interesting experimentation strewn about)
Originality – 7 out of 10 (again, these guys aren’t reinventing the wheel, but that was never their intention)