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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Sunday Sludge: Belzebong - "Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves"

I've often wondered what the soundtrack to my life story would sound like. A wife, three kids, and a line to toe probably wouldn't give Belzebong much to work with, but it was a nice thought. They'd have more luck courting the bearded, cloaked campus shaman. Y'know, the guy that speaks to nobody yet somehow (or perhaps thereby) convinces everyone that he's the coolest motherfucker around. This was my first *ahem* trip with Poland's Belzebong, and I can't stop coughing. I know rubbing my eyes only makes it worse, but I can't help it.

Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves is that completely disabling high, though the sidecar paranoia is distant. Belzebong bring no pretense, no bullshit; what you're hearing is exactly what you're meant to hear. They won't leave tar caked in the treads of your boots, they'll just shove you off a mountain of ash with double-fisted sludge feedback.

The fuzzy avalanche of Bong Thrower immediately rattles your senses with colossal riffs and a slow, deliberate plod worthy of every hourly worker's haste. Supporting riffs aren't in any hurry to get home, joining quicksand and clouds that lure you into a smoke-filled cavern. For pressing-on at more than 8 minutes, this mudslide does seem to pass far too quickly. But perhaps we should have expected a complete distortion of pace. By the time this thick haze has worn off, your dinner is long cold and your parents have probably moved away.

The album contains no true vocal, but soundbites supplement the incessant sludge drop with impeccable timing to an unsettling expanse. Names of The Devil is chaotic, broad, and bloodshot. Guitar licks from Cheesy Dude and Alky Dude (yes, all five band members have Dude monikers) get trapped in a space vacuum as the real sustain blows back your greasy mane. Good luck finding another group of stoners so dedicated to something that isn't bagged by Frito Lay.

The southern crunch of Witch Rider is thunderous, more weed-blues than acid-blues. Riffs honor Woodroe Weatherman, though parting the fur to get there is as unnecessary as it is difficult. Sheepy Dude and Falony Dude keep the sludge slow and low, dropping the heavy in perfect balance with the distortion a la Weedeater.

Acid Funeral hilariously samples a film called Alice in Acidland, a film I've never seen but will certainly seek out. The song's ├╝ber-slow, gloomy atmosphere threatens to polarize the youth of America, scaring some from using hallucinogens while pushing others into full-blown addiction. Guitars suspend like fog and the bass rumble encompasses both the willing and the unexpecting. Acid Funeral's crowning achievement is sending your perceptions up in smoke. Not flames, just smoke... downtuned to excess.

Clocking in at exactly thirty minutes, this twice-baked sack o' ditch is packed with serious sludge and gorgeously fuzzy feedback. Don't bogart it; Belzebong brought plenty of supplies on Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves. Your parole agent is gonna be pissed, but Belzebong can take you somewhere he'll never follow. Their Kansas Grass ain't no schwag, son. This swirling, thumping kush frolic is the perfect, uh... score to an after-school session with your pals. Clear your calendar.

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