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After I made the above graphic (which took a while for my meager design skills) and uploaded a carefully constructed mixtape, I realized I forgot about the previous Slow & Low #2. So I guess we'll have two #2s - oops. Evidently, I am slow as well. Anyway, slow music: I get so much of this stuff - I've yet to make it through 2009's Deutschland's Doomed Vol. 1 compilation, which is eight hours long - that it's hard to know where to start. On my desktop, my "Slow & Low" folder has a bunch of subfolders: "Epic Doom", "Melodic Doom", "UK Doom", and so on. Each of those could spawn their own subfolders; each could be its own blog!

I'll start at home. Americans invented fuzz; it still remains the most salient American contribution to metal. (See, e.g., sludge metal and a lot of USBM.) Maybe this compilation should be called "American Fuzz", but, again, I already made the above graphic, and I'm sticking to it. We Americans are dirty. We let it all hang out (for better or for worse). These tones are fuzzy. They have air. They breathe. Think not Eyehategod's suffocating weight, but something more open-ended. It's not night all the time here. 10 songs, 63 minutes: hopefully you'll find a new favorite band or two.

— Cosmo Lee
Original photo by Jnn13

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Orchid - "Black Funeral"
from Capricorn (The Church Within, 2011)

When I first heard San Francisco's Orchid, they sounded so much like Sabbath, I got mad. And while I still get that feeling from Capricorn, no band can truly sound like Sabbath. Orchid sound leaner, and, of course, more self-aware. Those are double-edged swords, but the sword of "Black Funeral" cuts through YOU. Write 10 "Black Funeral"s, fog men, and I'll pledge filthy fealty to you.

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Across Tundras - "Vanguard Battle Hymn"
from Old World Wanderer (Self-released, 2010)

This is embarrassing, because metal-archives.com says that three Across Tundras have come out since Old World Wanderer. (In fact, one of them, Sage, is sitting on my desktop right now, still unheard.) But I listen to music slowly, and slow music even more so. Across Tundras don't make things any easier by making "Vanguard Battle Hymn", the first song from Old World Wanderer, a prime candidate for endless repeats. Neil Young borrows Geezer Butler for some heavy Americana. The groove is deep with this one.

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USX - "The Quena"
from Run Thick in the Night (Neurot, 2010)

This record is practically an entire country, with states of electric wizardry, districts of acoustic picking, and counties of psychedelia. The cover artwork of lush vegetation is apt. I could have gone with one of the heavy numbers, but I wanted to cleanse the palate before the more full-bodied wines in this flight. Besides, who doesn't like drums? Even haters like drums.

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Orchid - "Black Funeral"

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Uzala - "The Plague"
from Self-Titled Demo (Self-released, 2010)

Uzala is a name you'll hear much more of soon, as they recently got signed and will put out an album this winter. This Boise outfit has the female-fronted doom setup that's so popular right now (see also, say, Jex Thoth and Wooden Stake). But, boy (or girl), they also have this beautiful gravel tone that's so wrong it's right. The first note of "The Plague" is Sabbath, the second is Earth, and from that point on it's heaven & hell. This lady sure can sing.

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Agnosis - "...And Yet We Fight to Win"
from Hecate (Dark Matter, 2005/2011)

Fans of the recent Seidr record (review) may be interested in this one - Austin Lunn's previous sludge band, Agnosis. Dark Matter has reissued this EP from 2005, but it still sounds fresh. You can sort of hear the American-sludge-meets-European-melodicism sensibility that found its way, albeit with a lighter touch, into Seidr. Stream and buy the EP here.

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Phantom Glue - "Black Tar"
from Phantom Glue (Teenage Disco Bloodbath, 2010)

Like many other bands, Boston's Phantom Glue toe the line between noise rock and sludge metal. They haven't perfected their voice yet, but their self-titled debut is full of nasty moments, and I'm looking forward to what they do next. "Black Tar" seems to be the popular favorite on this record, with a 10-ten intro leading to boisterous uptempo moments. It's a rough ride in a good way.

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Traitors Return to Earth - "Locust Race"
from Smoke Screen (Self-released, 2011)

Sleep as a sludge band: not a bad proposition. This band definitely has not found its voice yet. But it's definitely found a stash where good riffs are hidden. As of this point, not much originality (it's OK to explore the upper strings, really) is present, bu head-nodding riffs still go a long way. Stream and pay what you want here.

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Archon - "Nature Is Satan's Church"

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Archon - "Nature Is Satan's Church"
from The Ruins at Dusk (Dark Matter, 2010)

Again, female singing is the trump card here. But the huge riffs are heavy in a good way, like a big blanket in winner. You just want to burrow into them and curl up with some Satan. I guess he'd be outside at church, but you know what I mean. Actually, if Bedazzled were right (how did I manage to pay money to see that??? It must have been a girl), Satan is Liz Hurley, and I'd curl up with that, and then some. Stream and buy here.

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Swamp Witch - "Emerald Serpent"
from Gnosis (Gay Scientist, 2011)

First, Gay Scientist is truly the gayest name ever for a label. Second, Swamp Witch came to me via a sketchy-looking blogspot (OK, it's redundant to say that) and a sketchy-sounding 192kbps free download. And while it's not "all there" yet, it's definitely partway there: dirt, riffs, weight. I'm looking forward to what these Californians do next.

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Atriarch - "Plague"
from Forever the End (Seventh Rule, 2011)

Doom metal as seen from the death rock perspective, which lends a hollowness that reminds me of Verdunkeln's Einblick in Den Qualenfall (review) from four years ago. I realize that's an obscure reference, but it's the only one that comes to mind. This record is first about atmosphere and second about riffs; songwriting brings up a distant rear. Like many of the bands on this mixtape, I don't think this one is big league material yet. But minor league ball is often more fun, anyway. The cost is lower, the venues are more charming, and you get to sit up close. That's why I love making mixtapes like this. You get to hear hot prospects before they get called up to the big time. Stream and buy here.

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UZALA DEMO GIVEAWAY

I'm giving away a CD of the Uzala demo. It rules. Please leave in the comments why I should give it to you. International entries are welcome. The best answer by September 22, a week from today, wins.

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