Sludge Toxic Misery CD

From the glorious point of view of 2024, a band calling itself SLUDGE is, depending on your perspective on punk paranomasia, either unfortunate or brilliant. Or both, actually. Of course, SLUDGE couldn’t have known that the term “sludge” would come to represent a whole musical subgenre. And, well, let’s all admit that it is objectively a good name for a punk band. This is definitely an obscure one, and details are scarce to say the least. What I can tell you is that this CD is a reissue of the band’s 1990 demo entitled Toxic Misery, released on Snake Den Entertainment, a label based in Pennsylvania. And that’s about it. But it only made listening to it even more mysterious and challenging. In a world where you have access to almost all of the music of all bands in a heartbeat, it is a pleasant feeling to just give a band a go without any prior knowledge, like a baby tasting lemon for the first time. And on the whole, I like what I am hearing. The band has that distinct late ’80s raw hardcore edge with throaty, angry vocals and a crunchy crossover feel on some songs. Obviously, the band completely belonged to the ’80s American hardcore school, and I am reminded of POISON IDEA in the vocal delivery and the punk beefiness of the songwriting. The filthy, heavy, and crusty metal number “Lost” is the clear winner for me. I cannot say I love it, and some of the tough guy hardcore moments are totally lost on me (that probably has to do with the fact that I am about as hard as a dead shrimp), but I am sure fans of old school USHC would fall for this. Good job by the label to unearth this rare recording from a short-lived band that was typical in the noble sense of the term.