CD REVIEWS ISSUE 3 Page 4
By Bob Nalbandian
THE MUSHROOM RIVER BAND
Music For The World Beyond
Ode To Oi
THE MYSTICK KREWE OF CLEARLIGHT
The Mystick Krewe Of Clearlight
Tee Pee Records
THE ATOMIC BITCHWAX
Tee Pee Records
The Mushroom River Band is definitely the best of the lot of MeteorCity releases. Sounding similar to UK's stoner-metal greats Orange Goblin, the MRB could very well be the heavyweight contenders of stoner rock. The opening riff of "To the World Beyond" kicks off the CD sounding like "Breadfan" by Budgie (the original, and perhaps, most underrated of the stoner rock bands.) This song features a fast, furious riff, and cool vocals by Spice (also a member of underground retro-metal merchants Spiritual Beggars.) Lot's of fuzzy guitars and low-end bass-grooves makes this 12-song CD a worthwhile purchase. I also like the fact that the music changes tempo, unlike (too) many of the stoner-bands who only play, monotonous, d-tuned doom-grunge.
Lowrider are very typical of this genre, basically, this band typifies what I just stated in the previous sentence (monotonous, d-tuned grunge.) There's a few cool, heavy riffs thrown in here and there (like in the second track , "Flat Earth") but, quite frankly, this bores the shit out of me. Like the MRB, Lowrider hail from the desert, but unfortunately add nothing new to the stoner rock sound that made an impact with fellow deserters Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and Nebula only a few short year ago.
What can I say about Abdullah that I haven't already said about Lowrider? Okay, the music is a bit darker, more melodic at times, and features pretty cool vocals and lyrics courtesy of Jeff Shriilla (drums and vocals.) But it's still boring as all hell! Now, I am one of the biggest Black Sabbath fans you'll ever meet, but even 30 years ago, Sabbath were capable of writing great tunes with dynamics, mind-blowing riffs, and brilliant chord changes. When bands such as Kyuss came about, it was sort of refreshing, in a retro-'70's kind of way. Now labels (such as MeteorCity and Man's Ruin) are simply seeking, and creating, bands in a sad effort to capitalize on a slowly growing "desert rock" trend, just as labels did with Seattle's grunge scene a decade ago. Let's not forget, underground, underrated American doom-metal bands such as Pentagram and St. Vitus were doing this style of music as far back as the '70s and early '80s (with more originality and diversity, I might add.) So, I said my piece...For more info on MeteorCity artists, you can check out the label's website at: www.meteorcity.com.
The Mysick Krewe of Clearlight....now here's something retro-ly refreshing! This all-instrumental 6-song CD features members from EyeHateGod, Crowbar and Down and is basically an improvisational blues/fusion jam session. Sounding much more like classic Deep Purple than Black Sabbath, this band gives the term stoner-rock new life and meaning. Somewhat mystical, somewhat jazzy...this New Orleans quintet show a great degree of talent and groove. Highlighted by Ross Karpalman's wicked B-3 organ playing (coming across like the mighty Jon Lord at times), this CD comes off as quite a surprise (it will definitely surprise fans of Crowbar and Down, as it is more blues than is metal.) Cross the soulful jamming of The Meters and Billy Preston with Jimi Hendrix's "High, Live and Dirty" record (a drunken jam-session recording with Hendrix, Johnny Winter and Jim Morrison) and you get the picture of Clearlight. The only thing missing on this CD is an obliterated Jim Morrison screaming "f**k Her In The Ass" between the heavy, blusy grooves.
The Atomic Bitchwax releases their sophomore effort on Tee Pee. Featuring Ed Mundell on guitar (of Monster Magnet fame) and Chris Kosnik (of Godspeed) on bass, the Bitchwax are a step above your typical stoner-rock band. Cool grooves and occasional vocals highlight the 10-song CD. Standout tracks include; "Forty-five," "Marching on the Skulls of the Dead" and "Liquor Queen." Unlike other stoner/doom-metal labels, Tee Pee's artists certainly add much more diversity to this genre and to the stoner-rock moniker. You can check out their site at www.teepeerecords.com.
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