Label: Seventh Rule
There are two types of stoner metal that I like the most. There is the “this record might as well be a suicide note,” misanthropy-drenched, sludgier side of things that I associate with the West Coast, specifically Oakland. Then there is the more THC-laden, groovier, “oh shit there are helicopters circling our grow fields in the backwoods” Southern style. Sure, that is a HUGE generalization, but those are the two types of stoner/doom metal that I tend to gravitate towards. With this new split from Portland’s Graves At Sea and North Carolina’s Sourvein, my depression-prone stoner sensibilities are peaked, and yours will be too.
Graves At Sea’s side starts off abruptly and violently. The feedback that opens the first track “Betting On Black” lets you know from the get-go that you’re probably not going to like yourself too much by the end of this record. The riffs and drums sound a bit more tribal than I remember from their previous material, but it works, and adds a different side of heaviness to the songs, both literally and metaphorically. Parts of these newer songs also have a very strong similarity to another Oakland band who deals in heavy introspective songs often focusing on the bleaker side of things – the mighty Neurosis. Just like Documents Of Grief, the topics of the songs focus heavily on self-loathing and the bleaker side of life in general; which I mean, when you’re 24 and moved back home a year ago is what is going to strike a chord with you, just like it did when you were a depressed 17 year old no one wanted to talk to. With lyrics like “Betting on black, you lose every time. You’re born into this world of shit and then you die” there seems to be a sense of introspection that wasn’t as prominent on past releases. Maybe it just comes with age, but the aforementioned tribal parts and introspection paints a really bleak picture that maybe it doesn’t get better, man.
I somehow wasn’t as familiar with Sourvein before this split. Although, I am a huge fan of their associated acts, Electric Wizard and Buzzov*en, I never really delved too deep into Sourvein. Needless to say, I’m a huge dummy, because they do the second sound I mentioned before so well. Obviously with Liz Buckingham being a former member, I expected a very baked sound that would make me want to buy a fringed leather jacket, quit both my jobs and ride a motorcycle into the sunset. The songs are a bit shorter than the Graves At Sea jams, as well as a bit mellower, but still goddamn heavy. If this is any indication of what future material will be like, I can’t wait to see the bluesy, stoned out riffs that hammer you like a bong hit.
Any fan of stoner or doom metal should break out the paraphernalia for this one, because it covers all the bases.
4/30/2014 Music City – Antwerp, Belgium
5/01/2014 Magasin 4 – Bruxelles, Belgium
5/02/2014 Hafenklang – Hamborg, Germany
5/03/2014 Heavy Days In Doomtown – Copenhagen, Denmark