Despite the incessant lineup changes, label foldings, relocations, drug habits, and weight gain that have plagued Sourvein throughout its history, these dudes still put on a heinously great live show. For all the limitations of its Eyehategod-style doom-metal racket, Sourvein is mind-blowing on stage, with beergut-pregnant vocalist T-Roy pouring booze all over himself, the drummer splintering his sticks every other song, and a very extraneous second guitarist adding girth to the band’s already massive Godzilla-stomp sludge. Woe to he of tenderneck’d disposition, for in the presence of Sourvein, the head bangs of its own accord.
And woe as well to the poor recording engineer charged with capturing the mighty Sourvein in the studio. Producer Vince Burke does an admirable job on the Ghetto Angel EP, the second in a projected trilogy of short ‘uns, and his bass-heavy mix is swampy and filthy like any self-respecting Southern sludge tracks should be. But where the lumbering riffs of “Nightwing” and “Septic Werewolves” would take off in a live setting, here they’re just stiff. No idea what the hell’s going on with T-Roy, who sounds like he’s gargling his own vomit for most of “D.I.L.L.I.G.A.F.” And not in the good way.
‘Course this kind of metal isn’t really for listening. It’s for stomping around your apartment breaking things until you’re evicted. And, sure, the Ghetto Angel EP has its fair share of “Hulk smash!” moments. But it doesn’t get at the kegful of fun that the live Sourvein experience offers, and so it feels like nothing more than a nice memento to put on every now and then and relive the magic.