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

Svölk ‘Em All: Svölk

Rating: 75%

R-3492662-1332554824.jpegNorway’s own Svölk is a heavy metal band with some stoner influences. Their second album “Svölk ‘Em All” released in 2011 is what turned me on to the band, particularly the song “52”. When I heard that song, I thought it sounded like Southern Rock on steroids. It begins with a nice down south banjo piece, then the full barrage of heavy guitars comes in along with the heavy bass work and good drumming. The lead vocal work, is absolutely good. This song has a good quality sound to it, good tempo and good leads.

The song “This Is It” is my least favorite, there is too much going on with it. The guitar lines, vocal work and the drums that seem to drown each other out. The bridge has a good riff to it, but the full barrage, of the verses and chorus fall short.

The rest of the album is good, with a few above average songs. There’s a lot of really cool riffs. I do like the 70’s hard rock sound to it that you can pick up throughout the album. It also has a good amount of ass kicking southern rock to it. These guys really do know how to blend the American music styles of hard rock, stoner rock and southern rock to make their own sound.  The leads are very impressive and the musicianship is really good. Musically it’s strong. The vocal work is good. Structurally, it’s sound. The album, does have a bit of noise to it. It could have been mixed better, which is why I gave it a 75% rating. I am looking forward to hearing more from these guys in the future.

Track Listing:
1 52 5:26
2 This Is It 4:23
3 Anchor 5:07
4 Sweet Agony 3:29
5 Miss Alcohol 6:19
6 12 Times The Pain 3:28
7 End Of Days 4:44
8 Inferno 5:52
9 Dead 00:30 3:26
10 Time For The Dying 5:36
11 Warm Within 5:05
12 Overload 7:02

First Communion: Stoned Jesus

Rating: 85%

316469.jpgStoned Jesus is a Stoner/Doom Metal from the Ukraine formed in 2009. The original formation of the band was composed of Igor Sidorenko on guitars and lead vocals, Nikolay on bass, and Alexandr on drums. “First Communion” was their first LP, released in 2010 with only four songs, clocking in at 40 minutes.

Overall this record is a good effort for the Stoned Jesus. It’s doomy with the traditional slower rhythms, while some of the song structures contain an upbeat tempo and more aggressive approach. It’s heavy, deep and has a good bit of leads and lots of good riffs. The bass work is funky and straight forward and drum lines are good. The melody is good and changes consistently. The vocal style is comparable to early Ozzy vocals of Black Sabbath’s self entitled release. Not a lot of vocal harmony. Lyrically, the band writes themes of love and occultism.

The opening track, “The Occult” begins with the classic Doom Metal slower heavy riffs which slowly build into the first verse. The guitar work in this song is very impressive. There’s a good balance within the tone and song structure. It’s heavy, slow and then the vocal work softly makes it way into the song. At first, the music seems to drown out the vocal work and then once the melody changes, the vocal seems to come more to the forefront. The lead in the outro is very good.

The second track “Red Wine” is a more upbeat song. It still retains that crunchy sound of the bass, but the guitar work is very mellow. The vocal work is a lot better. It has a good vibe and is a bit funky. It almost has a classic rock feeling to it. The chorus is simple, it’s heavy and then once the verses kick back in, there’s that nice mellow sound. The bridge is nicely worked in and changes the flow of the structure itself. Then a nicely done lead comes in.

“Black Woods” is the third track. It begins with a guitar playing a hard, but not distorted riff which the band comes in and the classic doom metal is unveiled. The vocal work is much influenced by early Ozzy Black Sabbath. The guitar work in the verses also help to pull that early Black Sabbath sound off. The bridge that leads into the chorus is is blended by the same three chords as the opening, but the sound is different giving it a much harsher sound to it. Then the guitar solo comes in, which is very atmospheric which is one of the reasons why this is also called stoner music. After the solo, it goes into the intro and opening chords and chorus.

“Falling Apart” is another song that begins with guitar softly playing a pretty cool riff, almost as if it was a practice warm up. It’s followed by the heavy distortion which the bass and drums come in on cue. The vocal work on the opening and one of two verses is very atmospheric, almost as if it is in the background of the song. Another soft groove accompanied by the drums and bass is heard once you get past the second verse. Although soft, there is a certain degree of aggression to it as you are waiting for the music to pick up. A soft bluesy solo comes in with some audio work. The music gets heavier and more distorted which leads into another very atmospheric lead.

 

Amusing the Amazing: Slo Burn

Rating: 90%

Amusing_the_Amazing.jpgIf you like the band Kyuss, then Slo Burn is a continuation of that band, for the most part. Slo Burn was a California Stoner Rock/Metal band formed in 1996. Slo Burn featured ex-Kyuss member John Garcia on vocals, Chris Hale on guitar, Damon Garrison on bass guitar and Brady Houghton on drums. In 1996, Slo Burn released their first demo. In 1997, the “Amusing the Amazing” EP was released. Later the demo sessions and the EP were released together on several of the unofficial “Amusing the Amazing” reissues. You can tell the difference in the sound quality when listening to the the reissue.

The music structure is very raw, gritty and with very little to no treble toned down guitar sound and in some portions, the sound is flattened. This record has a good collection of tempos and grooves throughout the EP. Lots of leads and fills and some weird guitar rhythm sections.  The album is very bass heavy and some pretty good drum work. John Garcia vocals are raw, somewhat whinny and can be a bit drawn out in spots. But this is what makes his vocal style sound pretty good and unique.

EP

1. The Prizefighter
2. Muezli
3. Pilot the Dune
4. July

Demo

1. Wheel Fall
2. Positiva
3. Cactus Jumper
4. Round Trip
5. Snake Hips