"Rock journalism is people who can't write, interviewing people who can't talk,
in order to provide articles for people who can't read." - Frank Zappa

Souldozer - Sludge

Written by Graham Beck

Souldozer's Sludge lineup photoshopped as Judas Priest (2003)

Throughout the timeline of music history, there are sparks that may catch one’s attention for a split-second only to fizzle out with the sight of a new spark. Then there are explosions. As the first induction into RCA’s Hall of Fame, Souldozer’s Sludge explodes, crushing it’s peers while embodying its title in almost every possible way. With only four songs on this little slice of Detroit rock history, the explosive impact still rings in the ears of those lucky enough to possess it today.
With guitarist Jim Kaspari, bassist Steve Holton, and drummer Tony Muscillo being the foundation, Souldozer had always been on the tip of Detroit’s tongue for years, unleashing a number of albums onto the public and appearing all over the city to the delight of their loyal fan-base. Over the years, Souldozer received favorable write-ups in the local media and even headlined the Hockeytown Concert Series at Joe Louis Arena. Their overall sound has always been heavy-handed power in the likeness of Kyuss, Tad, and The Melvins. But it wasn’t until the addition of ex-Kuz member Al Mercer as  their lead vocalist and the 2003 release of Sludge that Souldozer added weight to their load.
From the thunderous drum intro of “Forgotten People” provided by Muscillo’s larger-than-life kit (Muscillo’s rack tom being a converted 16” floor tom), Sludge showcases Kaspari and Holton’s destructively-thick guitar-lines that build and swell throughout the album while Mercer’s cryptic vocal and lyrical stylings shroud the album in an eerie, raspy darkness. As “Forgotten People” comes to a close, a pile of vocalists exclaim “this looks like somebody else’s problem,” leaving the listener to sit alone with a feeling of abandoned-responsibility. 
2003 Souldozer Logo

The sluggish pace and gritty riffs of “Voices” accentuate the insanity-laced lyrics that seem to paint a Gacy-like picture of a human psychosis meltdown only to increase speed into eventual burnout.  “Behead the King” is a staggering elephant-in-the-room with a grunt-filled bridge that has Mercer warning the listener, “the dogs have been released.” Both tracks are relentless in their attacks and rounds out this glimpse into what could have been.
Unfortunately, the lineup would not survive Sludge as Mercer departed the group after two years of service. Reverting back to a three-piece, Souldozer released the follow-up to Sludge entitled High Powered that went the way Queens of the Stone Age did, post-Kyuss. 
Quoted as saying “playing the Detroit music scene is similar to plowing through a field of shit,” Souldozer did not mince words - they would compromise for no one and this section of Souldozer’s history could contend to have been their heaviest. Sludge may only be a four song effort but, to-this-day, Sludge is some of the most powerful music to surface from the bowels of the Motor City. 

Want more Souldozer?  Me too!  However, if you want a copy of  Sludge, just write to reanimatedcerebralannotations@yahoo.com
Want less RCA?  Too F*%$ing bad. Send all hate mail to reanimatedcerebralannotations@yahoo.com

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I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit and currently live in Cleveland, OH with my girlfriend and our three cats.