In April 2009 20 Buck Spin released the split LP Sacred Death between Oakland’s Laudanum and Stormcrow. That release featured two exclusive tracks from Laudanum and led Cosmo Lee of Invisible Oranges blog to regard Sacred Death as possibly “the heaviest split I’ve ever heard.” While those two tracks clearly stood out from the pack in the world of sludge / doom, it is on Laudanum’s sophomore full length album, The Coronation, where there the band’s world-eating heaviness becomes fully realized.
The husband and wife duo of Judd (overdriven string corrosion, ambient texture and documentation) and Becky Hawk (battering ram and subsonic transmissions), are also joined by Greg Wilkinson (low end frequency discharge, vocal disruption, and auditory experimentation – also of Brainoil, Pig Heart Transplant, Earhammer Studios) and the latest addition, Nathan Misterek on “battery acid, bellows and blasphemy”, or what most of us call vocals. Misterek, widely known as vocalist for the legendary Graves At Sea, adds an element of occult grimness previously absent from Laudanum’s corrosive noise-doom wasteland, the final piece in the puzzle.
On The Coronation, the two elements that make up the current Laudanum sound, punishing, bruised sludge doom and bleak industrial noise experiments, are fused ever more tightly together into a cohesive soundtrack for the slow collapse of modern life and culture. The intense low frequency pummel of Wilkinson’s bass rumble is itself an apparent cause for some of this collapse, such is its massive earth-shaking power. Becky’s crushing drum beats rival Dale Crover in sheer intensity and brute force. Judd’s repetitive stone slab riffs carrying the weight of the world, and Misterek’s vocals, colliding with Becky’s, coating the whole thing with the mournful, evil magick of life’s coming oppression. This is The Coronation of the end.