A Eulogy for the Damned: Orange Goblin

Rating: 85%

Orange_goblin_a_eulogy_for_the_damned.jpgIn 2012 Orange Goblin released “A Eulogy for the Damned.” This is most diverse album by the band and to me one of their best. It’s a good combination of Space Rock, Heavy Metal, with some Psychedelic Rock influences that brand their style of Stoner Metal.

The band consists of lead vocalist Ben Ward who has a bluesy, gritty, and graspy kind of voice. He’s got plenty of range. Guitarist Joe Hoare has a nice sound. He throws a lot of riffs out there.  His leads a spectacular and remind me of the past greats like Motorheard, Black Sabbath and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Bassist Martyn Millard throws out the gritty and over driven bass lines. Then you have drummer Christopher Turner. He’s got tempo.

The album opens with what I think is the best song on the record. “Red Tide Rising.” After that, the rest of the songs seem to be in line along the same mid paced melodies and a few that really mellow out. This maybe because of the Doom Metal influences that this album incorporates. The up and down tempos in someways keeps the music from getting boring and the transactions from verse to chorus are pretty smooth. Nonetheless, this album is a good Stoner Metal album to listen to and have if you’re into this kind of music.

Track listing:

“Red Tide Rising” – 4:49
“Stand for Something” – 3:47
“Acid Trial” – 4:13
“The Filthy & the Few” – 3:32
“Save Me from Myself” – 5:58
“The Fog” – 6:45
“Return to Mars” – 2:26
“Death of Aquarius” – 5:48
“The Bishops Wolf” – 4:39
“A Eulogy for the Damned” – 7:17

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Wretch: Kyuss

Rating: 75%

kyuss_wretchSo, for a debut I am disappointed in the quality of the production. That is my biggest complaint. When you turn it up, there is much background noise. Now, with that said, the year was 1991. Kyuss had to compete with the music scene. Grunge was all over the airwaves. Groove Metal was on the rise as was  Nu Metal. Coming onto stage, but not in popularity of the music scene, was Sludge Metal and Stoner Metal.

The musicianship is pretty good. You have drummer Brant Bjork, bassist Nick Oliveri, (Chris Cockrell is bass on songs 4 and 6), guitarist Josh Homme, and vocalist John Garcia. These guys had to start somewhere and “Wretch” was it.

Musically, this band has some good flavor in their sound. It’s a bit raw and plain at times. It’s toned down to give the sound of the guitars a deeper sound. The chords are basic, some good riffs and decent solos. The bass guitar sticks out and sounds good. Plenty of decent drumming. Vocally, it has a style more of the whine, but it’s a mix that compliments the music. The music itself is pretty heavy. It can be Punk at times. The best songs on this album are “Son of a Bitch” and “Big Bikes.” These two tracks alone really showcase the music of the band. This is still a solid album despite it’s overall production and rough sound.

Track listing:

1. “(Beginning of What’s About to Happen) Hwy 74” 4:43
2. “Love Has Passed Me By” 3:12
3. “Son of a Bitch”  6:03
4. “Black Widow” 2:44
5. “Katzenjammer”  2:23
6. “Deadly Kiss” 5:05
7. “The Law”  7:53
8. “Isolation” 2:48
9. “I’m Not”  4:39
10. “Big Bikes” 5:01
11. “Stage III” 4:14

The Art Of Self Defense: High On Fire

Rating: 90%

Artofselfdefense.jpgHigh On Fire, wow! What can I say? I love this band. They are one of my favorite Sludge/Stoner Metal bands. I love the sound that is produced by these three guys and the sound has gotten even better since their release of this album in 2000.

Musically, it’s bold. It’s got a great sound that is deep and aggressive. The bass and guitars have this harmonizing sound. Mix that with progressive drumming with whiskey drenched vocals and you have one badass Heavy Metal band.

The musicianship is tight. Matt Pike, throws out some great riffs. In fact, he throws out riff after riff with his drop D tuning, with the toned down sound and aggressive style. His leads and solos are far out. I just love the heaviness of his guitar. It’s got spunk and it even has a bit of atmosphere and psychedelic influences. His sound is almost like Black Sabbath’s “Volume 4” on steroids. His vocal approach is influenced by none other than Lemmy of Motorhead. George Rice thunders out the bass lines. His style is clearly a leading element of the deep rich sound. He does perform plenty of scales that  link the guitar and drums together. Behind the drum kit, is Des Kensel. His tempos, beats, and progressive style on the drums is what makes the music so good. You have to respect High On Fire for blending the instrumentation and creating such great melodies.

Track listing:

“Baghdad” – 5:15
“10,000 Years” – 7:53
“Blood from Zion” – 4:55
“Last” – 6:36
“Fireface” – 8:35
“Master of Fists” – 10:03

Dopethrone: Electric Wizard

Rating: 90%

1530.jpgIn 2000, Electric Wizard released “Dopethrone.” “Dopethrone” is a Doom Metal album that features Jus Oborn on vocals, guitars and all effects, bassist Tim Bagshaw, and drummer Mark Greening. This is regarded as their best album.

The sound of Electric Wizard can be best described as sludgy, gritty, fuzzy, spacey and downright muddy. This is what makes Electric Wizard in my opinion, a great Doom Metal band. They take elements of Sludge Metal and Stoner Metal, combining those styles with traditional Doom Metal. The end result is an album that sounds raw with a big gritty finish to it.

The song structures are long and drawn out as they should be for this genre of music. There’s lots of audio clips and weird sound effects that gives this a more modern sound to the music vs. the traditional Doom Metal bands like Trouble and Candlemass. To best describe the overall sound, song structures, and production, I would almost use the words fuzzy, gritting, dirty, muddy, and thick. Lyrically, the album is well constructed.

Musicianship is very well thought out by the band. The guitar work has a ton of heavy, slow crunching, and heavily distorted riffs. There’s nothing polished with regards to the guitar. There are some solos and fill ins which do help to break the rhythm from bogging down.

Setting the tempo and timing of the music is the bass and drums. The bass is deep and heavy riding along side of the guitar. I has a thick sound like almost tar and is surprising clearly heard and not being drowned out.

The drums are complex using a ton of off beats staying course with a more atmospheric Doom style. The drums lines, still with the usual slower timing gives the band a major boost with regards to that thick and heavy sound. I will agree that at times, the drums seem to be almost drowned out by the guitar and bass.

The vocals are amazingly clean and polished. Although, they seem to be placed further in the background of the final mix. They have a pretty grimy sound to it as if they were submerged in mud. The vocals are an even keel of clean and screams, but without the harshness that one would expect to hear in modern Metal.

Track listing:

1. “Vinum Sabbathi” 3:05
2. “Funeralopolis” 8:43
3. “Weird Tales””Electric Frost””Golgotha””Altar of Melektaus” 15:05
4. “Barbarian” 6:29
5. “I, The Witchfinder Aka Las Torturas de la Inquisicion” 11:04
6. “The Hills Have Eyes” 0:46
7. “We Hate You” 5:08
8. “Dopethrone” 20:48