What caught my attention about "The Rope," and honestly the entirety of Doctor Smoke's upcoming album Dreamers and the Dead, is that the Ohioan heshers behind it never, ever stop riffing. I mean, they don't even really slow down: their burly, fantastical heavy metal just segues from one habit-forming earworm to the next. While taking some cues from stoner rock and doom, there's a clear shift from the fuzzier, stoner-ish metal of their 2014 debut The Witching Hour, bringing the vocals into focus and introducing some modern grit to help the devilishly complex rhythm side of the record hit home. Delightfully demented and plenty doomed, "The Rope" highlights the band's aptitude for powerful hooks and songcrafting—check out the new video for it below, which also kind of highlights the 'demented' part.

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The intricate, foreboding hook on "The Rope" is hard to get enough of, and fortunately it comprises a good amount of the song. When the band breaks away from it into melodic interludes, they show off their impressive technical chops: notably the gallops and tremolo/double-bass bits that ever so slightly dial up the threat level without being a distraction, along with some dazzling mini-solos. The sharpened production here is exactly the right fit: guitarist/vocalist Matt Tluchowski's (who maintains disconcertingly consistent eye contact with the camera during the video) vocals were a highlight of the band's past work and, in perfect clarity here, provide a whiskey-stained hard rock counterpoint to the prog-ish instrumentals. This modern-feeling production doesn't work for every band, but in the case of Doctor Smoke, anything murkier would be hiding the good stuff.

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Dreamers and the Dead releases September 3rd via Ripple Music.