The Finnish Doom scene has always been one of my all time favoritewith bands like Reverend Bizarre, Spiritus Mortis or Fall of the Idols. Slug Lord with their debut EP are newcomers in the scene, but the quality is not quite there yet. While leaning towards a Doom/Stoner influence, I don't think they have a lot of potential as they don't really deviate from the well traced path. But do they have what it's needed to become one of Tampere's future household names ? Yes and no...
Their sound has an obvious emphasis on fuzzy and simple riffs, reminding me of Electric Wizard in some places. One of the slowest song is ironically called 'Speeding', an 8 minutes dirge with a solid atmospheric solo. The songs are ranging from 5 to 8 minutes for a total length of 42 minutes, it's considered an EP by the band, but it has the duration of a full album. The riffs are generic, it's not bad, but their self titled ep doesn't place them in the higher echelons of Doom. They're a Slug Knight at best, definitely not a Lord. The songs lacks something special and the decent production is not to blame here, everything is well recorded and there's the right amount of atmosphere and feedback, but I think the guitars could be heavier and the bass more present and fuzzy. The drumming is decent though, but like the rest, it's not very inventive. Maybe some keyboard would have been welcome, I'm not (the one) usually begging for originality, but some is needed here...The only original feature can be found in the vocal department, it's truly the album's shiniest characteristic.
Indeed, Johanna Rutto's vocals are my favorite part of this album, too bad she's not in ,of the band anymore. I hope they'll be able to find a new solid vocalist because I'm not exactly sure they would make a good instrumental band as they're not even great with vocals. Rutto's vocals are interesting, I could compare her to a more abrasive Alia O'brien from Blood Ceremony's, albeit with no flutes in her hands as there's no folk elements in the music mixed with Agnete of Prog metallers Madder Mortem. She can be catchy, like in 'Gastropoda' with its pleasant chorus, sometimes more mystical and it feels heavier. She has a good and pleasant range, nothing feels forced. It doesn't change their dark music though, it only adds another layer of occultness. I mean, : simply look at the Lovecraftian album cover art, full of deadly tentacles ! Nonetheless, the album, despite its rather typical length, feels redundant and overlong. The ideas stopped being fresh after the second song, there's not a lot of variation and it's not honestly quite boring.
Still, the album was kind of enjoyable, particularly because of Johanna's vocals. It's not something I'll seek out again though. Despite my lack of praise Slug Lord, if you like Doom/Stoner, you'll like them, but they're Acid King's cupbearer. If you enjoy this specific sort of wine, go ahead and check them out but don't expect anything groundbreaking.