On their 2018 debut Thor's Toolbox, New Zealand amplifier magicians Filth Wizard offered a strong thesis on how riff-focused metal could be merged with progressive tendencies: without a word spoken, the album's songs (all named after normal, non-godly tools, curiously) are as attention-grabbing as any reverb-drenched chorus sung by a voiced equivalent. Working in and modulating a staggering amount of catchy riffs and intricate dynamics, the band nails down a reliable formula for holding focus and getting the head nodding.

With their upcoming album Sleepeater, these sorcerers of sewage twist the formula further, retaining their groovy songwriting chops but putting them to diverse and heavier uses. The first single from the album, "Chimney Ethics," highlights this, interspersing sludgy rock riffs with adventurous melodies and the band's signature strangeness. Listen now:

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Though Filth Wizard's mighty aptitude for crafting a groove is a big part of what makes this song work, it also shows off the trio's cohesive creativity. Each part of the song, from the drums to the lead guitar work, feels like a unique and autonomous voice, but they fluidly interact within the song's confines to create harmonies and counterpoints rhythmically as well as melodically. This vivaciousness helps the song take shape in the mind: by example, after a jazzy lull midway through, the transition back into full-bore riffing feels like an orchestrated trap sprung on the listener, not just a few distortion pedals being stomped on.

Whereas Thor's Toolbox opened with a softer, acoustic track, "Chimney Ethics" kicks off Sleepeater with a bang. The retro-stoner jam vibes of their debut are joined here by a broader palette of sounds, partially due to the band as a whole partaking more in the writing process, and the results are striking. Filth Wizard was definitely not in a position where they needed to change their approach, but "Chimney Ethics" demonstrates that the band's newest chapter is filthier, heavier, and more sonically persuasive than ever.

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Sleepeater releases October 8th independently via the band's Bandcamp page.