Monday, January 28, 2013

Revenge of the Quick Ripple Bursts - The Stoned Out Edition: Featuring Monobrow, Snail, and Firelord

Grab your bong, turn on the black light.  Gather the boys.  We got some riffmania for you.

 Monobrow - Bennington Triangle Blues

My bias:  I'm not a real fan of instrumental rock.  I tend to cling to melodies and hooks, and those are usually conveyed in lyrics, not musical passages.  I'm even less a fan of instrumental doom/stoner because the plodding nature of doom riffs gets real repetitive without the singing.  Monobrow are making me re-think that strategy.

Bennington Triangle Blues is the second album from this instrumental stoner/doom three-piece and it is one monolithic achievement of swirling, fuzz-laden heaviosity.  Forget lyrics, these guys mix in enough dynamic time changes, blistering guitar, and chest-crushing riffs to make the album obliterate all my reservations.  Side one alone, through it's three songs "Starship Holodecks & Chicken Soup," "This is Herman Nelson" and Stone High in Transit" create an aural journey of stellar seeking exploration.  Paul Slater may just be stoner rock's first true guitar hero, whipping through riffs and effect laden melodic passages with ease before tearing into some true doomed out shredding.  With any three-piece, especially an instrumental band, the bass and drums have to be amazingly tight to carry the extra weight of awareness, and Brian Ahopelto and Sam Beydoun are as tight and locked in as a sealed rocket door.

A killer album of mood and atmosphere and sonic exploration of acrid haze and distant galaxies.  Definitely worth checking out. 

Snail - Terminus

I dig what Snail are doing.  Take the foundation of stoner groove, but play with it.  Toss in some 80's metal drive, some 90's grunge, some retro-2000 psychedelia, smother the whole concocton with a layer of doom, let ferment, then unleash upon an unsuspecting public.  Nice formula.

Apparently Snail have quite a history that spans back almost 2 decades.  I know not of this, nor their last release, Blood.  All I know is that Terminus is bludgeoning my skull right now, particularly the retro-riffy pure rock of "Galaxy's Lament" with it's staggering riffing and just too-sweet melody.  "Recurision" is an onslaught of post-Ozzy bliss, while songs like "Matchbook" come on heavy and slow as tar before mixing it up (1:36 in) with a perfect breakdown to 6 impeccable piano notes.  "Hippy Crack" tears it up with a grunge ferocity while never losing it's heavy fuzz or groove, while "Burn the Flesh" is a certified, 5 star heavy psych freak out.

A vast multi-textured journey through the stratus of metal from eons past til now.  

Firelord - The Burning E.P.

This isn't a new one, but definitely worth talking about.  Firelord are another power trio, this time hailing from Italy.  And let me tell you the emphasis here is on the word power.  These guys use bulldozers and all sorts of heavy equipment to move earth and mountain under the mass of their riffs.  5 songs here, the last being a slaying cover of Earthride's "Fighting-Devil's Inside You."

Like the best of stoner rock, this one is laced with the PCP of doom bludgeoning, and amped up with the crystal meth of fierce riffing and a heady groove.  Way fuzzed out riffs come from all angles and merge into one TCA haze of burning intensity.

I'd easily put these guys up on the same shelf of the other leaders of stoner riffery from the undergound, like Borracho.  Not as much dynamic shifting as SuperGiant, not nearly as much modern metal influence as Snail, and not not as bluesy as Hong Faux, Firelord like their stoner rock straight up, Sabbath-inspired and growled out with honesty and ferocity.  I could listen to a track like "Riding with the Death" forever.  Definitely check it out.



dan said...

You have clearly been listening to the wrong instrumental music then!! Monobro are great, the first album (in my opinion) is a little stronger. Karma to Burn are the benchmark, but you need to be listening to Earthless, Tia Carrera, the Restoned, Grandloom and Black Bombaim to name a few.
All bands are better once the ego shuts up and lets those that can rock get on with the rocking. Sabbath are a perfect case in point, good in spite of Ozzy, not because of him.

The Ripple Effect said...

Fair enough Dan. And truth be told, by opinion has been changing. I loved the latest Black Bombaim. Gotta admit I'm behind on Karma to Burn, and the others, but I'll dig in.

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