Acid Bath’s debut album When the Kite String Pops has become a cult classic as one of the late precursors to modern Sludge Metal. After listening to the eras and genres of Metal, it feels like they are the bridge between more traditional Heavy Metal and Sludge Metal, never quite committing to the sludge like more modern acts will. Some of the guitar riffs are more melodic, but lyrically it’s just as morbid and horrifying as any other Sludge band. If it’s not about heavy drug use, it’s bloody and gory violence. Singer Dax Riggs has both an awesome southern singing style and a gravelly scream to deliver the brutal lyrics. And if the album art wasn’t creepy enough already, the painting is done by serial killer John Wayne Gacy.
Tranquilized is probably as close they get to typical Heavy Metal, with heavy emphasis on the guitar riffs that give them away as a southern Metal band (they are from Louisiana). The bass on this album is just gorgeous, and it shines on Scream of the Butterfly – which initially feels like an interlude, but this is a full bodied song that’s simply more mournful than the rest of the album. The very clean guitars are surprisingly emotive on this song, especially throughout the chorus:
“She smiles like a child with flowers in her hair
With blood on her hands into the sun she stares
She feels it die, I heard her cry
like the scream of the butterfly”
Finger Paintings Of The Insane is one of the most fucked up songs on the album, and that’s saying something. It has a killer bass intro and heavy head banging riffs, and it’s another song where every band member is on point. The production on this album is very even, never too much into the bass or vocals, and it results in a very unified, harsh sound. On songs like Toubabo Koomi and God Machine, Acid Bath will switch lyrical styles, opting for a more erratic and volatile delivery. Riggs spits out scene after scene of disturbing imagery in delirious succession. It’s an interesting way to construct a song, but there are many others on this album that are more structured and straightforward. The Bones of Baby Dolls is the echo of Scream of the Butterfly, filled with the same enchanting guitars and bizarre, morbid lyrics. This album is gross, grimy, disgusting, and amazing. One of the best albums to give to someone if they’re looking to get into Sludge Metal, and as someone online put it “90s metal at it’s best”.