Monday, May 5, 2014

Stoneburner – Life Drawing

Churning, thudding, feedback squealing, dragging you down into another reality.  And that's just the first few seconds of this monster album and the first track, “Some Can”.  This is a beast of an album.  I saw these guys a few years ago when they opened for Sleep on their last reunion tour, two nights in a row in Seattle.  I was impressed enough then to buy a CD and a T-shirt at the show.  With this new album, impressed doesn't even begin to cover it.  More like mind=blown.

I simply can't put these guys in a box and say they play this style or that genre.  Songs plod along like doom, race along like death, morph into completely different entities, ending up a million miles away from where they started.  Most of it is on the slower side, labyrinthine with all manner of twists and turns, like one of those really good mind blowing Mastodon songs.  The best part about all of that is the songs don't sound like a mashup of just a bunch of riffs thrown together.  The songs feel completely organic, as though they were meant to wind around exactly as they do.

There is lots of heaviness here, make no mistake.  These songs move like a glacier, in their own time, and forever changing the landscape.  This is music that feels as though it is grinding you down, pummeling you into the shape it wants you to be in.  Heavy, yet intricate.  There are two acoustic interludes, which are really needed, as a nice break in the heavy.  They serve as palate cleansers to prepare you for another onslaught.

I don't want to give the impression that this is all just pounding sludge.  There are some very beautiful moments of melody, of twin guitar harmonies.  There are so many elements at work here that you really must hear this.  I expected a good album from this band, but I did not expect this.  “Life Drawing” is next level stuff, hitting heights that many bands never get to.  And the songs.  The songs.  So very good, so well paced, each one unwinding in its own time, whether that be just a few minutes or monster epic stretching out into double digit time.  Stoneburner seem to have known exactly what they wanted to do on this album, and hit the major accomplishment of making it happen.  Major kudos to the band on this one.

Get your hands on this album as soon as you can.  See them live if they come through your town, because they are a crushing live band.  Put this record on, close your eyes, and just go where it takes you.  Open your mind to the music and it will show you some grand things.  Let the different styles and melodies flow through you.  Live this music, breathe this music.  It is absolutely that good. 


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