Release Date: May 27, 2014
Record label: Housecore
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Doom Metal, Hardcore Punk, Sludge Metal
It's impossible to describe New Orleans sludge outfit Eyehategod without using the term "legendary." The band established the genre in the '90s with releases like Take as Needed for Pain and Dopesick, which are staples of the iconic sound that is associated with their city. Following years of hardship, personally as well as with studios and labels, Eyehategod's new, self-titled release comes 14 years after their last album, Confederacy of Ruined Lives. However, it's almost as if no time has passed, as demonstrated by the dissonant feedback of album opener "Agitation! Propaganda!"Featuring their classic NOLA sound, the 11-track album is filled with Southern groove, manifested by guitarists Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton.
Eyehategod’s twenty-odd-year history is so rich, dark, and squalid that it’s nearly impossible to ignore when discussing the band’s formidable musical output. Alongside Crowbar and Down (both of whom are also riding high on recent releases), they are the quintessential Southern sludge band, and were instrumental in articulating and perfecting that bleak, swaggering metal-meets-punk sound that frontman Mike Williams still calls “heavy blues”. While it’s easy to wax romantic over what Eyehategod friend and occasional collaborator Phil Anselmo once dismissively referred to as “the Southern slow jam thing, whiskey that, rebel this,” Eyehategod are so much more than their backstory.
It’s been a banner year for New Orleans metal. All three of The Big Easy’s heavyweights — Down, Crowbar, and Eyehategod — have returned to release new records this summer, and all three sound completely rejuvenated after their respective hiatuses. Eyehategod’s reemergence, though, might be the most unlikely of the trio. Reports from the ’90s tell of a ragged band constantly touring, as both an excuse to do drugs and a means to fund their addictions.
Eyehategod saw their share of low points in the 14 years since their last full-length record. They include Hurricane Katrina devastating their hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana, and in the following days the arrest of vocalist Mike Williams, who spent 91 days in jail where he underwent intense detox for heroin, and then in August 2013, drummer Joey LaCaze died of respiratory failure. For many bands, this would have been enough to call it quits, especially a rag tag outfit of Southern metal heads like Eyehategod who’ve been slowly but steadily mastering their sludgy swap metal since 1988.
Eyehategod — Eyehategod (Century Media)If you told the members of Louisiana’s Eyehategod back in, say, 1993 (when their masterpiece Take As Needed For Pain was released) that they would, 20 years later, be seen as the founders of a whole genre and a heavy metal institution, they’d have probably laughed in your face. Then sent you packing with expletives and violent threats ringing in your ears. Then got back to downing their cocktails of booze and drugs, happy to be perennial outsiders camped out on the dusty forgotten back-roads of music history.
Eyehategod (Housecore) It's been nearly 15 years since Eyehategod released a record. The New Orleans quintet has had a rough run, with its latest gut-punch being the sudden death of drummer Joey LaCaze. The band pours years of pain and frustration into this eponymous release, attacking songs like a wrongfully convicted criminal confronting his framer.