Photo by Allie Mullin Photography | www.alliemullin.com

Like the blind oracles of legend, the North Carolina acid-sludge quartet Doomsday Profit offers a dark vision of an even darker future. Of course, after watching the past years’ collision of natural catastrophe, political unrest, and the ruthless culling brought about by COVID-19, one needn’t be clairvoyant to surmise what lies in store for humanity. 

Into this desolate present, Doomsday Profit emerges, offering its meditation in anger, In Idle Orbit. The debut EP floods its dystopian visions with snarling psychedelic grit and deep-dredged sludge riffs that calls to mind the relentless pummeling of Conan, as well as the cosmic excursions of Earthless; the bad-trip acid-rock of Church of Misery, as well as the scuzzy blues of Dopethrone. 

Perhaps there’s something vile in the hog-pond tainted North Carolina waters. Connoisseurs of all things slow-and-low might draw comparisons to fellow Tar Heel acts such as Sourvein, Weedeater, or Toke, but rather than draw inspiration from a coastal existence, Doomsday Profit reflects their life in the Triangle region of North Carolina — an intellectual, commercial, and political hub of the state. It’s a region of sprawl and gentrification, where the South’s dark history festers beneath the promise of technocratic futurism, and where the scars of the past are painted over with the false promise of salvation through innovation. 

But for all its apocalyptic nihilism, Doomsday Profit doesn’t shy from accessibility. Writing about the band’s 2020 demo, Abandon HopeRiff Finder Reviews noted, “For as dirty and raw as this is, it actually has quite a bit of melody to it.” The melodic aspects of Doomsday Profit caught the ear of Sleeping Village Reviews’ Ian Corse, as well. “There is so damn much here to love,” Corse wrote in a review on Bandcamp. “From the head-bopping fuzzy riffage, to the harsh shrieks, to the psych tinges, to the seemingly omnipresent sense of melody.”  

Doomsday Profit’s keen balance of heavy sludge with proto-metal groove and psychedelic spaciousness seems like a natural outgrowth of its members’ varied influences and experiences. Guitarist and vocalist Bryan Reed is a long-time music journalist whose specialization in punk, hardcore, and all strains of metal reveals itself in primitive, monolithic riffs, and a harsh, barking vocal style. Lead guitarist Kevin See is an experienced sideman whose resume includes jaunts with classic rock, Americana and jam bands, and whose affection for classic songcraft and freewheeling improvisation fuels his evocative and melodic soloing. Bassist Ryan Sweeney is a veteran of independent radio, who showcases the wide world of rock ‘n’ roll and psychedelic music on his weekly “Global Garage” show on Hillsborough, N.C.’s community station WHUP. And, finally, drummer Tradd Yancey — also of the acclaimed stoner-rock duo Crystal Spiders — drives the band with a heavy, swinging style honed over years of musical training and cross-genre gigging. 

All of these elements coalesce on In Idle Orbit. From the hazy end-times vision of “Scryers of the Smoke” to the monolithic and mournful “Cestoda,” the EP builds a sturdy bedrock of riff-driven groove, but never lets blind riff-worship stand in the way of dynamics or songcraft. “Consume The Remains” merges desert-rock groove with death ‘n’ roll bile, while “Crown of Flies” serves Southern-fried sludge with a side of blackened blues. 

The EP’s inspirations may well spell doom for humanity, but for Doomsday Profit, the future looks, perhaps ironically, quite promising.