Muddy – Hopeland
In times of suffering and panic, Bulgarian sludge powerhouse Muddy give us Hopeland
Muddy is a Sofia-based sludge metal powerhouse with roots in the most primal incarnations of heavy-weight blues, rock’n’roll and doom music with a touch of bleak drug-influenced psychedelia.
With a history of sporadic but memorable local live appearances and a cult 2015 demo, Muddy are now here with their first full-length. Released on March, Friday the 13th, and while other bands might have dreaded releasing an album amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, I feel there couldn’t have been a more suitable time for Hopeland to appear.
The album is a slow and massive beast which reveals itself in whole 14 pieces. Here are some of the bands’ already known and beloved works as “Rivothriller”, “You Still Believe in Mirrors” and “The Dream of Misanthropic Kid”, as well as future favorites like the epic “25th Hour.”
Hopeland has been maniacally produced. Guitars sound thick and powerful, the bass sound is shattering, the drums sound warm but massive and the vocals are dripping in your ears like warm water.
Six of the tracks on the record draw away from the blues-inspired sludge realms of Muddy and reach as far as ambient and experimental instrumental music. These short atmospheric vignettes are one of my personal highlights in the album. Not only they keep pulling me back to the record but remind me how much thought, work and attention to detail was put in the creation of this immense work.
It actually took Muddy three years, a ton of guest musicians, a lot of recording and engineering to put this album together. Except for being mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side Music it’s been done locally which shows with the right amount of passion and dedication you can do it all yourself.
Hopeland, however is not only a work of passion and borderline obsession but a showcase of great talent, amazing musicianship and feels very, very personal. Released in turbulent times and being created by a gathering of restless souls Muddy’s Hopeland will surely remain in Bulgaria’s modest music scene history as its of the most sincere and memorable offerings.