Two drummers! Buzzsaw guitars! Sludgy, heavy drone! Wacky song titles and lyrics! It’s Melv…..wait, it’s Succuba. The similarities are perhaps a bit too striking. But then again, there are definitely worse bands to imitate than The Melvins.
This merry band of pranksters from the city of Horten surf smoothly on the current wave of Norwegian gritty, sludge rock with punk rock roots. If Haust is your season, this’ll be to your liking. I first heard about Succuba when I came across the cover art of their last album, No arms, no cake, and chuckled inside for the next few days. Just say it out loud. Hold on to the mental picture.
Chief Pointy Head is a tasty six-song album/EP that works as an introduction to Succuba, ending well before you tire of the sound. To be more precise, the band have a good knack for changing up the rhythm. Having obviously spent a little more time on guitar settings also helps the band sound more tight and professional. On No arms, no cake the guitar sound and riff build-up gave off a vibe of slightly immature, recycled punk. Here it sounds way heavier.
The reason you tire of sludge is usually the lack of spice. There are limits to the excitement of drums, guitar and bass. On Chief Pointy Head you can feel the band going interstellar, playing around some space rock elements. It makes the band weirder to hear them augmented by what sounds like theremin in the intros, but it works to their advantage. Take a listen to Krokan and enjoy the rare power of two drumkits. The drummers fill in each others gaps and increases the power of the song as it builds. Simple and slightly technical at the same time. Here, the screeching vocals also get to hang in thin air, increasing the mental image of a mad clown.
Bitty is the only let-down on there record. When the guys try out on arena rock intro and flip the rhythm to sound like the defunct Animal Alpha, I just want it to fade out and not ruin my good impression of the rest of the songs.
Considering how many horrible, macho sludge metal bands are out there poisoning our ear canals, I am actually impressed at what Succuba muster. Some points need to be deduced for their blatant copycat scheme of aforementioned American band, and some points added for their creative playfulness. To sum: Succuba is less the chubby, long haired dick pushing you aside at the bar and more the creepy, mysterious guy in the corner giggling to himself and waving at you. Like a car crash, you want to look away but can’t. So if you need an appetizer before a main Melvins course, Succuba will do just fine. I would very much enjoy to see what they can do live.