Buzzov*en – …At a Loss Re-Released   2 comments

Buzzov*en from North Carolina was formed in 1989 by the remaining members of the band Sewer Puppet. The band is known for being one of the founders of the sludge genre (after Eyehategod), and also for their explosive and sometimes violent live shows. The band in its early days toured heavily around the United States and built up a cult following leading up to the release of their début album, ‘To a Frown in 1993, the band then recorded ‘Sore’ which was released on Roadrunner Records.

The band was then dropped by Roadrunner, and from then on have gone through several periods of being split-up and reformed, with the only constant member being Kirk Fisher. Former members Dave Collins went on to join Weedeater and Ramsey went on to join fellow sludgers Sourvein and the rest is history you could say.

This album ‘…At A Loss’ originally released in 1998 was suppose to be the band’s last studio album but there has been a few albums released since, namely the‘Welcome To The Violence’ and ‘Voilence From The Vaults’ compilations released in 2005 and 2010 respectively and the ‘Revelation: Sick Again’ album released in 2007. When you look back at those early days of the band now, you have to remember ‘sludge’ as a genre was a new thing.

It is not like now where there is a million bands playing under the sludge-metal banner so Buzzov*en were indeed pioneers of the style. ‘……At a Loss’ at its time of release was the bands most concise and most accessible album they had ever done but still remained a sonic assault to the senses. The misanthropic violent sludge sound was still there but the songwriting was more refined by that stage in the band’s history. The reason I have chosen to review this album even though it is so old now it has been resurrected and re-released by Emetic Records.

Two songs stand out on the album for two completely different reasons, one is the bastardization of ELO’s hit song ‘Don’t Bring Me Down’ which on paper makes you shout what the f**k are they thinking but when you hear it, it is total magic of the extreme kind. The other track is ‘Left Behind’ which is 8 minutes of typical Buzzov*en sludge and then an additional 28 minutes of claustrophobic monotone noise. Does anybody actually ever listen to it is a good question, I think I have sat through it maybe once in the 13 years I have owned the album.

The album opens with a sample from one of Travis Bickle’s Taxi Driver monologues and you are catapulted into 70 plus minutes of horror-filled dirge and doom and gloom. The trio of songs of ‘A Lack Of,’  ‘Kakkila’ and Loracei’ are three tunes that one by one sink you deeper in the sludge-swamp of gloom. ‘Crawl Away,’ ‘Whiskey Fit,’ Dirtkickers,’ and ‘Flow’ pretty much provide the blueprint for all of the sludge-metal you hear today. ‘Buzzoven’ are to sludge what Black Sabbath is to traditional doom metal.

Out of the remaining tracks, ‘Useless’ is not only a highlight but maybe the best track on the album for me, personally. The very skilful way that the song is constructed should be a lesson for all wannabee sludge-metal bands everywhere. This album was recorded at Tapeworm Studios and engineered by Billy Anderson and Jeremy DuBois. The personnel is easily the strongest lineup in Buzzov*en history with Kirk  Fisher on vocals and guitar, Dave Collins on bass, and Ramsey/Ramzi on drums. 

It is true that like all albums from the band, it is kind of like watching a train-wreck, you don’t really want to witness it but you can’t look away. People have said many times that listening to the band is a bit of a test on how hardcore of a sludge fan you really are, they are not the most listener-friendly band around but the ‘…At A Loss’ album is the most accessible so you might want to start here if you are feeling a bit nervous about indulging yourself in Buzzov*en’s music. Great to see its been re-released, if you have never heard it, give yourself a lesson in violence and pick up a copy of this classic……9/10

Official Buzzov•en MySpace
Buzzov*en @ Relapse Records Bio

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Posted May 15, 2011 by doommantia in Buzzoven

2 responses to “Buzzov*en – …At a Loss Re-Released

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  1. “Sometimes Violent Shows” ! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA! They were always violent. Best album they ever did. One of my all time favorites.

  2. Ha Ha, I guess that was a under-statement !!

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