Part mammal, part machine

Abominable Iron Sloth specializes in slow-paced mayhem

No calculated bed-head hairstyles for these lads.

No calculated bed-head hairstyles for these lads.

9 p.m. Friday, August 19; with Supermodel Suicide and Bright Light Fever; $7. Blue Lamp, 1400 Alhambra Boulevard.

There are more than a few reasons not to like today’s metal scene. Just ask Cayle Hunter, founding member of Sacramento (via Chico) band Abominable Iron Sloth. “Every band insists on looking half-ass and glammed-out, wearing their girls’ jeans and youth-large T-shirts, wearing makeup with their absolutely ridiculous scene haircuts that they will never admit they had two years from now,” said the disgusted guitarist. “It seems like music is dead last on a lot of these bands’ minds.”

Upon further inspection, Hunter’s analysis appears to be dead on. While most bands around these parts barely dare to tune below D (a nauseating frequency sure to cause irrational fits, abnormal rashes and dizzying spells of sickness) to push boundaries, Abominable Iron Sloth insists on smashing the mold entirely. The band’s sound, a cross between early doom-metal fare and Bloodlet colliding with Today Is The Day, is anything but pretty.

Abominable Iron Sloth evokes behavior that could come only from such a hideous beast. While the band gets more attention than most due to its ridiculous moniker, there’s a greater story lurking in the shadows. “The band is basically a soundtrack for this character the Abominable Iron Sloth’s life,” Hunter explained. “The music sounds exactly like a giant sloth that goes around killing everything in its sight because that’s what it was born to do and can’t do anything else.”

Although the band’s current formation (Hunter, Jeff Irwin and Justin Godfrey on guitar; Mitch Wheeler on drums; and Mike Martin on bass) has been playing together for about six months, Abominable Iron Sloth is actually about two years old. “Justin and I were in a band called Oddman together,” Hunter said, recalling the band’s origins. “After that band broke up, Justin had been writing these super-heavy riffs, and I thought they needed to be recorded. We put some songs together and recorded them.”

Eventually, the two musicians found themselves in demand in Chico, the Bay Area and the Sacramento Valley region—much to Hunter’s surprise. “[The recordings] turned out so well, however, that people wanted us to start playing shows, which we wanted to do, but we didn’t have any other members,” Hunter explained. “We said, ‘Fuck it. We’ll play as a two-piece.’ Justin played guitar and sang, while I played drums. We must have played 50 or 60 shows together.”

Although two-piece bands work for the obvious reasons—fewer people to pay, fewer people to recruit for regular practice sessions and fewer squabbles—Hunter and Godfrey decided to add members of the (sadly) defunct Will Haven, who already were playing with Hunter in a project dubbed Ghostride.

“From the first practice, with the three guitars and the tones, it sounded immense,” Hunter recalled. “We’ve been doing the full band ever since and just finished re-recording the old songs and recording five new ones. It’s being mixed now, and we will probably put it out on our own Distruktor Records label, unless somebody else steps up between now and then.”

Unfortunately, an overseas tour is harder to finance alone. “Since we are totally DIY, traveling abroad seems a little unrealistic,” Hunter admitted. “Ghostride was lucky enough to be able to go to the U.K. for a while this year, but we had a label over there that was helping us. Unless another band or another label was willing to finance us, I don’t see it happening in the immediate future.”

Abominable Iron Sloth might currently be without outside label support, but the boys are anything but sedentary in their touring schedule. “As far as our upcoming U.S. dates, they are all shows that Justin got just by networking with other people that happen to like the band and were willing to put in some work to get us to their town. It’s very nice, very flattering and very low-budget. But, I guarantee it will be a great time,” Hunter said.

Visit for a list of upcoming shows or catch the Sloth this Friday at the Blue Lamp.