Judd Madden - _Drown_ / _Float_
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (6.5 and 7.5 out of 10)
It is sometimes odd to receive a promo from an artist you already have in your library. Judd Madden is a Australian graphic designer with as much musical spirit as visual. I honestly forget where I first stumbled upon his Bandcamp page, but I do know there was an imperative command given to me. "Download this now" was the subject of the conversation, and near twenty minutes later, I possessed three of Madden's records. For brevity, I will be focusing on both the two 2011 releases. For sake of the site, I will begin with the heavier one first._Drown_ is an instrumental stoner doom record whose album art depicting a grayscale octopus is but the first step into a journey 4000 meters below sea level. Madden's _Drown_ came after a considerable time spent with stoner doom instrumentals. Last issue of Chronicles of Chaos had my review of Brotherhood of Sleep -- a Greek psychedelic rock outfit with equal ambitions. _Drown_, though sharing a similar style, is very different as Madden breathes a level of isolationism that is rarely seen in stoner metal today. The same spirit which still drives a quarter of black today lives in _Drown_. From the free downloads, to the self-programmed percussion, Judd Madden's _Float_ was created at the hands of the artist and with permission by Judd Madden. One could almost picture the artist writing recording, mastering and album art in the same room. There is something admirable about records which are incubated in solitude. Madden's _Drown_ is more like a painting made after weeks of spending time locked in a room. For the next 60 minutes you are at the mercy of the artist's will. Watch the room flood with icy waters, because here comes a giant squid. _Drown_ bases itself, unsurprisingly, after water. Almost every song, which hover around the nine minute mark, have either a water or darkness theme constructing its title. The album is interesting in the fact it begins with the less submerged stoner doom tracks like "Path" and "Riptide" and slowly moves into heavier, more obfuscated territories. After passing near drone selections like "Blackout" and "Subsurface", the record has its moment of clarity with the last two tracks. If Madden was intending on simulating the act of drowning with the sounds of Sleep, Electric Wizard and Bongzilla riffs, then I would say he has done a damn near impressive job. Madden's _Drown_ could be and should be contrasted with its sister release _Float_. While the first possessed a dark and brooding spirit, _Float_ calms those brash tendencies with progressive ambiance. As a record, _Float_ works better as it is allowed to explore places without the weight of stoner doom riffs. Madden seems to be more skilled in wandering guitar jams than he does with doom metal. Regardless, _Float_ possess more than enough dark undercurrent to warrant it attention for anyone interested in duality. I hate to compare these two records to another dual release from 2011, but Devin Townsend's _Deconstruction_ / _Ghost_ is a suitable place to start. Madden, in comparison to Townsend, possess that isolationism and homegrown aesthetic which makes this record different and ultimately more endearing. There exists a personal quality to both of the records. This is something Judd Madden needed to do, and these two records are what he came up with.
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