Mid-Week Riff Injection: Three Stoner/Doom Records Out Now (Not Friday)
It's not Friday yet--a fact that sends a sense of wrongness deep into my bones and spawns unending questions. How is it only Thursday? Why does Thursday exist? How likely is a four-day workweek in my lifetime? All good questions.
For whatever reason, Friday is the prototypical release day for new music-probably due to reasons that the decline of physical media has mostly trivialized, but it remains by and large the standard. Fortunately, not everyone follows standards, and today I've got three stoner/doom metal releases for you that dropped midweek for your immediate listening pleasure. Admittedly, two of these didn't even make it into UMR - one due to probable oversight, and the other was just entirely a surprise. Hopefully, these offerings of fuzz ease the too-slow decline of your week's activities.
REZN - Solace (Independent)
This record has only grown more and more hypnotically persuasive since I wrote about it earlier this week. It's hard to overstate just how good REZN is at slipping jaw-droppingly heavy riffs into their framework of trippy, spacey goodness, leaving plenty of red meat for riff-hounds and ensuring their live shows will wreck shit while overall building these vast mountains of sound that defy my attempts to describe them.
Suffice it to say that Solace is an elaborate, rewarding puzzle. Unusual instrumentation, varied vocal approaches, and exquisitely maintained headroom make for a delicate, fascinating experience, and that sense of complexity meshes rather nicely with all the hell that REZN also raises here.
On the Sun - Drag (Independent)
I first encountered On the Sun when I arrived slightly late to their opening set four years ago or so, part of a support bill for what I'm fairly sure was the last US tour The Hazytones have done since. At the time they'd just put out their first EP, Solar Savior, and I believe the album art for that is just the best fucking encapsulation of why I was immediately enthralled. It is endearingly cheesy, and at the same time sort of exactly what I want to see on a stoner rock record. Fuck yeah, space! Rockets! Even better, the music exceeds the art's promise. Yes, Solar Savior is energetic, enjoyable stoner rock--but it's also got a lot of dark corners and unexpected depth.
Drag is the band's debut full-length, and it comes in the form of more fist-pumping stoner rock that's executed with powerful chops. Vocalist Derek Ault has an extremely charismatic combination of pathos and swagger, and while his voice is a strong point for the band, he leaves enough room for the other members to deliver on their strengths, too. It's a sound that, again, is heavy on the rock, but comes with a Chicagoan doom flair: gritty guitar tone and subtly complex drumming that locks in with driving basslines.
There's a refreshing simplicity to Drag, but not in the music itself--songs like "Hate Messiah" underscore all the thought that goes into the band's work. It's more about purpose: On the Sun isn't interested in gaming social media, chasing trends, or crafting two-tone album art with some xeroxed demons and ghosts and shit and then hocking some half-baked tunes that squeak by on "aesthetic". No, they just want to rock, and they are beyond excellent at that.
Nepenthes - Grand Guignol (Daymare Recordings)
Ex-Church of Misery members Suto and Neggy form the vanguard of this hard-hitting three piece, which shares some similarities with that band's blues-drenched, raspy stoner sound. Nepenthes, though, is much meaner far less reliant on samples, and... greasier-sounding? I'll admit I'm not sure of the right adjective, but the band opts for an extremely tight power-trio attack that brings the noise with little to no decorum and plenty of sleaze. Gravelly vocals and tight, in-the-pocket riffs thump their way through some nasty, anthemic doom that feels like it's been imported from the swamps of Louisiana and picked up a few layers of parasitic infestation on the way over.
For the record's 45+ minute duration, this thick sound grabs listeners in its clutches, sucks them into the morass, and doesn't let go. This is a toxic swamp you'll want to stay in.