Saboteurs of the Sun by LimbRelease date: May 25, 2018
Label: New Heavy Sounds
It is looking like it is going to be a very busy and productive year for the New Heavy Sounds label as the majority of its roster will be releasing something brand new. London’s Limb follow the impressive Grave Lines second double album, Fed into the Nihilist Engine, with the release of their third album Saboteurs of the Sun. While known for their heavy grooving sludge and doomy vibes there was always an inkling their musical tastes and inspirations were never just confined to the scene they are most associated with – they did indeed cover their very own idiosyncratic version of Johnny Cash’s ‘Down By The Banks’ on second album Terminal.
The band duly oblige with a bit of stretching out as occasional synths and organs provide swirling, lysergic intros and added atmospherics to a couple of songs, which are handled and blended in carefully so avoid any notion of sounding forced. But, this is still at its heart a heavy, hard rocking, head banging provoker of an album.
The opening track ‘Wych Elm’ is ample evidential proof of both, as a trance inspired intro is cut through, bursting out, with an immediate harder than a Rocky Marciano hook of a tune. It reveals at once the double impact of a tighter than a Tory benefits allowance song-writing craft and a first-rate production job by Russ Russell.
It is this excellent production which gives Sam Cooper’s bass a great amount of space to reveal a variety of thrum, fuzz, and rumble of a deep low end sound which rather effectively ups the oomph of Limb’s groove considerably. This thrusting heavy groove has always been one of their main assets but this time it has got sturdier, tighter, an even (dare I say it) dancier vibe about it, and at its best, crushes those in its wake as it moves like a loaded purposeful freight train – check the end of ‘Survival Knife’ or at the other end of the scale the spacey dub doom rock of ‘Astronaut’.
The occasional stepping over the line of their core sludgy trademark, best exemplified with the excellent synth atmospheric leanings of ‘Survival Knife,’ less effective, however, is the Pink Floyd/Black Mountain-esque drum-less and certified sounding album closer, ‘100 Days’. They do both open the door even wider for further heading their sound into newer territories. But, Rob’s consistent gruff vocals maintains any atmospheric diversions will always remain on the side of heaaavy!
Though fans of their robust muscular sludge roar need not fear as ‘Curse Tablet’ and ‘Death In Absentia’ both rips. And when they deliver their punchier, direct punkier approach the results are truly victorious – ‘The Rising Tide’, ‘Man Out Of Time’, ‘Truth Be Damned’, are belters, which instantly gets the head banging, and should get mosh-pits circling.
Saboteurs of the Sun is the sound of a band evolving, but not to the detriment of the band’s core sound. In fact, they have just added some extra external vision, bite, and a harder straightforward punky spirit wrapping around the inner, hard, chewy sludge centre. It is Limb’s most consistent and satisfying album to date.