A Brief Survey of Yorkshire Black Metal: Sump
Astute readers of my previous post on Yorkshire Black Metal will have noticed I omitted to mention Sump and White Medal and that was deliberate on my part as these two bands – more bastard children of proud prolific parents George Proctor and Gareth Howells – seem to have the most releases. As of this time of writing (29 January 2013), in a brief four-year period starting in 2008 the two bands amassed over 25 recordings, mostly demos, EPs and split recordings with other equally obscure acts, between them. Sump play a fusion of black metal and punk and White Medal play black metal with lyrics written in Yorkshire dialect.
A number of Sump tracks have been uploaded to Youtube by MutantApe (Proctor’s Youtube uploader alter-ego). An early track is “Satan has Spoken”, recorded in 2009, with a skipping rhythm and bouts of crashing cymbals. It actually sounds like an old punk song from 30 years ago but I can’t remember who did it then (it might have been XTC, I’m not sure). Another early song is “Gang Street”, from the band’s first demo recorded in 2009: very short and not terribly sweet but at least GP and GH sounded like they were having a grand time bashing strings and skins together.
From 2010, there is “Miserable Sin”, another garage track with more of a catchy rhythm, lots of opportunities for hand claps and vocal track than the rest reviewed here. It comes from the “Taken Dead” demo.
“Standing by the Grave”, released in late 2011 on the “DictaHell” tape, is a noisy buzzing track with a steady pace and rhythm, quite groovy in fact, and blurry distorted vocals of an enraged-pygmy sort. “We Know Your Face” is another very raw garage song with chuggy rhythm and screechy singing: it invites singing along with a basic call-and-response chorus. “Old Fools” starts with a thumping bass drum and some abstract-sounding guitar chainsaw drones that segue into rock-n-roll rhythms, groove-tastic riffing and the most raggedy-raspy vocals this North Sea side of black metal. All too quickly this track ends and I’m quite sorry it does because it’s a very good song and demented to boot.
“Leave this Knife” is a recent (2012) recording and I’m happy to say it shows no evidence of song-writing progress or refinement of musicianship: Sump is still a happy raucous and droning duo peddling punk rock ditties with steady rock-n-roll rhythms and basic melodies. Long may they continue in this vein!
Maybe one day these guys will go all serious and worthy: they will write songs with deadly dull repetitive music shorn of originality and inspiration; lyrics will be about love or saving the world; they will play to full-house football-stadium audiences with elaborate lighting rigs and a stageshow circus of magicians and acrobats; they will become tax exiles with their base in the Netherlands. Until that day arrives in the far distant future, all I wish for is for Sump to gather up their demos and release them all onto one compilation tape or CD for all to enjoy.
Originally I was going to include some songs by White Medal in this survey but as usual this piece ended up closer to 1,000 words than the intended 100 so I’d better leave that band for another time.