Portland, Oregon’s Nether Regions does a good job capturing the same bare-chested, club wielding Motorhead-on-speed — er, more speed — roaring quasi-sludge metal perfected by High on Fire. That said, if that’s all they had going for them, Into the Breach would be a listenable but entirely superfluous effort.
Thankfully, these guys do a good job of covering a pretty wide swath of ground, most of it still within a viscous sludge core. Tracks like “Into the Breach/Spanish Werewolves” are built on a template of propulsive, battering that demonstrates a considerable debt to Pike and Co. But at other points, Nether Regions wanders into spacier, less immediate territories. The extended intros to “Blood Ritual” and “Outrun the Sun” flirt with post-metal in the vein of Cult of Luna and Om through their darkened meditative tones. But it’s in the fertile ground between these two styles that Nether Regions truly asserts their own identity. The place where the resinous, heavy tones break upon the bleak, roiling pensive post-metal underbelly is where Nether Regions does the most damage, managing to be melodic but jarring and occasionally unsettling.
At other moments, there are even traces of punkish aggression and traditional metal melody, making Nether Regions an act that’s pleasingly hard to pin down. This variation between uptempo bruising aggression and more reflective and purposeful build-ups feels organic and prevents Nether Regions from being nothing more than a talented understudy. The band has a complex palette of sounds and uses them to create a diverse, engaging brand of gritty sludge-based metal, even if they have room to grow. Into the Breach is worth exploring, and Nether Regions is definitely a band to watch.