Indian’s second album, Slights and Abuse/The Sycophant, came spattered in blood, attached by an arrow to a dead cowboy on horseback. Women trembled in fear. The children began to cry. The men whispered to each other in hushed tones, "Indian have returned . . . and they’ve brought a compilation of two vinyl-only LPs with them. We can’t possibly survive Indian’s barbaric metal assault." The good people of the band’s hometown of Chicago knew that something terrible was coming. When a record as primitive and ugly as this comes around, you have no choice but to pack up your shit and get the hell out of town.
“Slights and Abuse” and “Cursed Reform” rumble like stampeding buffaloes, their riffs smothered in hot tar thanks to a bottom-heavy recording job by Sanford Parker (Buried at Sea/Minsk). There’s a strong High on Fire feel to the marauding “Lust,” though guitarist/vocalist Dylan O’Toole has Matt Pike beat in the parched-throat vocals department. He sounds like he’s on a steady diet of bones and blood, not unlike the dove-chomping priest on the back cover.
Indian are at their most fearsome on the slower sludge tracks, especially the fifteen-minute “Fatal Lack.” Drummer Bill Bumgardner pounds hard and spacious, puncturing deep tears in the song’s surface for distortion and dread to ooze into and fester. Almost as freaky is “Pigs in Your Open Wound,” a hypnotic chant built on Bumgardner’s repetitive powwow thudding. It’s weird to think of an album this crusty and tense as “refreshing,” so let’s just say that Indian twist the knife better than most metal bands. Surely that’s worth losing your scalp over.