Okay, so there aren’t many animals easier to theoretically herd than a two-toed sloth. It may require patience, but a sloth’s nature implies your paycheck won’t require a ton of sweat-inducing chases to round ’em up. But Sloth Herder‘s genre-obliterating assault is the direct opposite of a sedated crawl. After a few abrasive EPs, they now make their feature-length debut with No Pity, No Sunrise (out March 24th from Grimoire Records). You can throw most extreme two-word combinations together and likely describe brief Sloth Herder passages: Gutter grind. Bummer sludge. Dissonant death. Jagged noise. Power-slob. Blackened whatever. But No Pity, No Sunrise is still a cohesive roar of discontent.
From its initial blast to the ensuing brain-scrambling cacophony, “Spectre of the Absurd.” states Sloth Herder’s intentions loud ‘n’ clear: Let’s get weird, and let’s get LOUD. Stream the new track off No Pity, No Sunrise below, and see how long your mind lasts before melting. Then check out thoughts from vocalist Josh Lyon and drummer Sean Wilhide about – surprise, surprise – sloths. Also get their hot takes on the greatest cinematic achievement of our, and any other lifetime, past or future: Airheads.
After the Abandon Pop Sensibility EP, did you have any discussions about how you wanted to approach the writing and sound of No Pity, No Sunrise?
Sean Wilhide: Not at all, we’ve always felt that our music and writing process should be organic. The only thing we try to keep in mind while writing is topping the aggression and weird vibes portrayed in previous material.
What’s the lyrical theme of “Spectre of the Absurd,” and what’s the history of that song?
Josh Lyon: Lyrically, that song is about opportunism and the cold calculation in taking advantage of chaos and desperation.
Wilhide: This was the last song we wrote for the album; it came together relatively quickly in comparison to some of the other songs. It turned out ugly as hell, and it’s become one of my personal favorites.
How did you connect with Grimoire Records to collaborate on this release?
Wilhide: Noel contacted us shortly after Abandon Pop Sensibility was released about working with Grimoire. We had played a show with Noel’s band Questioner – they did a wicked cover of “Elusive Treasures,” by the way – and had made friends with some of the early Grimoire bands through gigs and whatnot. I think from the start we knew we’d be working with Grimoire for a full-length.
In a 2015 interview you mentioned the freedom of not being easily definable, but mentioned internally you’ve called yourselves “Power-Slob.” Considering it’s close to the self-description of The Lone Rangers, is someone in the band an Airheads fan, and did they find Joe Mantegna a convincing rock DJ?
Lyon: I think at one point we meant “power slop” and someone wrote “slob” instead which ended up sticking. We are fans of the movie and knowingly ripped that line off. I personally did not find the dad from Searching for Bobby Fischer to be a convincing metal DJ, but he tried. Reg E. Cathey’s character would’ve been a better choice.
Do you have a favorite type of sloth, and why? My personal favorite has to be the Megatherium, but that might be cheating since that sucker’s extinct.
Lyon: Excellent question. [guitarist] Nick [Cragg]’s favorite sloth is Linnaeus’ two-toed sloth. [Bassist] Luke [Ibach]’s favorite is the pale-throated sloth of northern Brazil. I want to say Sean’s favorite is the monk sloth, while my favorite type of sloth is hopelessness.
What’s next for Sloth Herder in 2017 and beyond?
Wilhide: We’ll be lining up several shows this year, starting March 25th for our album release in Baltimore. April 15th in Frederick, MD, and some more tasty treats to be announced soon, including a show with our friends Deceased in Pittsburgh. As far as the beyond goes, we’ll continue writing, and there’s been talk of a new EP in the cards, so stay tuned.