I found out this year I like bands with the name slug in them. Don’t ask me why, I’m not exactly a slug loving person outside of metal but for some reason if a band has “Slug” somewhere in the name I’m going to notice it. First there was Ten Ton Slug, some of my favorite guys from Ireland, now it’s Spaceslug, who could very well be my favorite guys in Poland. What is it about stoner doom and slugs that make them such a perfect match? Whatever the slimy reason, I think “Lemanis,” Spaceslug’s debut album, is the surprise hit of the year, the one that sneaks up on you at the end of the year and smacks you over the head with well in this case a slug. Doing my due diligence when it comes to research, the only things I could come up with Lemanis were an Australian basketball player and a Roman fort. Somehow I don’t think either of these things are what the band centered their album around.
Spaceslug are an old school stoner band, the riffs are slow and psychedelic but strong nonetheless. I didn’t feel like I was being taken on an acid trip through outer space so much as I felt like I was actually going through space. The guitars didn’t have a lot of distortion to them, giving the ultra-slow riffage a very clean sound. There was still some drone, this is stoner doom after all, but it wasn’t the cover everything in fuzz and reverb kind of drone. It was a much softer, less intrusive. I liked it because it didn’t take away from the actual music being played beneath the drone (my only real issue when listening to drone).
The story within Lemanis, as befitting a stoner doom album, was nonlinear. If Lemanis was a novel I would say it would be one of those that lose a lot of readers in the first hundred pages because nothing is connected and the plot seems to be all over the place. I actually like those kinds of books, they challenge conventions of storytelling and when you actually have the patience and trust the author the stories are more gratifying and enriching.
The same goes for Spaceslug and Lemanis. If stoner doom isn’t your thing, then why are you even listening to Spaceslug, be patient. The story takes some time to unfold in a very nonlinear, somewhat chaotic fashion but soon the listener-protagonist will figure out what’s going on, that or you’ll feel like you’re spinning through space.
So what is the story? Well, from what I can gather, It’s an adventure story, the story of people abandoning their old life on Earth and exploring the cosmos. Sounds a bit like a 70s sci-fi thriller doesn’t it? That’s the best part of the album though, it draws so much atmosphere and so much inspiration from the old sci-fi classics, the guitar melodies almost have a synth kind of sound. I grew up on films from that era (my dad has a huge collection) so the album has a slightly nostalgic feel to it. Okay back on track, the story details a group of loners and hippy types that feel the call of the empty void, but there’s no fear in the music, there’s no fear of the unknown with this group. Cosmic black metal, another genre that deals with all things metal and space, relies heavily on that fear of the unknown. Spaceslug, the band and the actual vehicle of the travelers, removes the capacity to fear space. Instead we are given the wonder and the excitement. It’s not same sort of happy sound you get from science films but there is no underlying sense of dread in Lemanis.
While space doom isn’t normally my cup of tea, I really liked Spaceslug. This is their first album and as of the moment I’m writing this they are unsigned. Yet the production values, the absolute care these guys took to build this album is mind boggling. The entire album was fresh and razor sharp, the drone was perfectly pitched and the volumes were perfectly balanced. There were vocals, in theory but they were pretty sparse throughout the album and were no more than a few lines so I would call it on whole an instrumental album. A damn good one at that.
This album, and indeed the band itself, are a worthwhile collection to my little garden of slugs. They sound amazing and the music is wild and crazy. It’s a fun album to spin when you need an escape, and we all need those from time to time. Give Lemanis a listen and tell me I’m wrong.
Listen and support!