There’s been a lot of chatter in the Twittersphere over the last couple of weeks concerning the re-release by Southern Lord of the legendary Sleep album, ‘Dopesmoker’. The benchmark of slow, downtuned riffage, this behemoth has set the standard for the collision of hard rock, psychedelia, metal and sludge and has spawned a million imitators. I recently happened upon a band whose name is derived, we must presume, from the other famed release by Sleep – Holy Mountain. Not to be confused with the Florida thrash band of the same name, this Glasgow, Scotland based three-piece will tomorrow [7/5/12] release an LP called ‘Earth Measures’ on Chemikal Underground records which caught my attention.
These guys have gone way past the categories we might try and throw, lazily, at their music. This slab of buzzing, bomb-tuned wizardry takes us well away from the stoner rock genre, if we must use such a term. What we have here is a set of music created with both skill and insight, and through the sweet-smelling blue haze we pick up tastes of crackly vinyl from the likes of Deep Purple, Sabbath, a bit of Led Zep, and dare we suggest some Stooges somewhere in the mix. This is the kind of background that Ray and Blackie of the Hard Ons would approve of. In 2008, the venerable Lord Yatesbury, ol’ Julian Cope himself, posted a fine sampler mix on his website entitled ‘Hardrocksampler‘ which introduced many obscure and wonderful lost 70s rock classics by bands such as UP!, Budgie and UFO. I guess if you were to sit and fire up a fat one whilst alternating that fine collection with some slow contemporary metal, you’d be roughly on the same page as these guys.
This is rock and roll played with a degree of abandon. It’s easy to tire of the whole stoner genre sometimes, because like many areas of the rock spectrum, musicians have a habit of taking themselves and what they do rather too seriously. This can often lead to self indulgence. That is not a problem here. Capable of mixing up both slow and fast, they introduce MC5 – style chanting with skill and respect and blend it with downtuned metal riffage. Check out the video clip, and the teaser track ‘Great Monkey‘. Then get over to their label page and buy it!