Ken ‘Nuclear Dog’ Elliott
Out of the high desert country of . . . Athens, Greece . . . the four piece band Lord 13 have managed to conjure 12 mighty tasty morsels of stoner rock on their second full length album “2013”. Lord 13 have been around long enough to know exactly how to construct a quality product that doesn’t just fit in to the stoner rock genre, but can be regarded as one of that genre’s finest examples of what stoner sound should be. All the pieces that can be used to describe stoner rock – fuzzed out, driving, low guitars; pounding, primal drums; vocals crisp, clean, interesting, and adept; and riffs and hooks that leave you wanting more – is exhibited in spades by that little ol’ band from the cradle of civilization.
“2013” starts off with Fire, a song that lets you know right away that you are in for an enjoyable experience of fuzzed out bliss, starting with a single guitar playing a fun little riff with just the right amount of distortion, followed closely by a piercing pulse from the skins of rhythm, moving smoothly into a quick but all out assault from every instrumental contributor, before shifting into the heart of the song with vocals that bring it all together into a cohesive and enjoyable experience of wonderful sludge and fuzz.
Love and Hate has a bit of psychadelica to kick off another heavy hitting assault, this time kicking up the tempo a notch while including the signature guitar sound that makes stoner songs unique, recognizable, and thoroughly enjoyable. Whether paying homage to the established kings of stoner rockdom or simply including the sound that makes these songs so unique and wonderful, Lord 13 is adept at wielding all sorts of heavy, hard driving riffs and melding them into an impressive array of sound that becomes a very listenable and memorable piece of music.
Love and Hate moves seamlessly into Get You High continuing with the wonderful structure, beat, vocals, riffs, and sounds established on the first act of this fuzz bomb duo.
Off the Edge, the 4th track, is a wonderfully constructed staccato onslaught of drums by Costas, bass by Dee, guitar by John, and vocals by Jim, who also shares in the guitar duties. As memorable as the first three tracks have been the fourth seems to deliver more on the wonderful promise of worthwhile stoner rock.
Free follows the pattern now firmly established by Lord 13 of a tantalizing and meager introduction followed by a well crafted and executed example of metal music, this one most definitely paying homage to several of the genre’s best acts such as the ubiquitous Kyuss and many of its offshoots such as Slo Burn, Fu Manchu, and QOTSA.
The Warning and Wicked Thing surprisingly both kick off right away with full blown sound, this time in the vein of Truckfighters and Freedom Hawk, except heavier, harder, more urgent in their tempo, yet exhibiting dexterity that rivals the best anyone could offer. Both of these songs, each unique in their deliverance of the familiar, stand out as pieces that transcend the mere sound and structure that defines stoner rock while delivering songs worthy of inclusion on your music player’s ‘best of’ playlists.
Lord 13 delivers perhaps the crown jewel of “2013” with Wicked Thing , featuring Orange Goblin’s Ben Ward in a dueling vocals role with Jim on a song worthy of his guest appearance, not by being a clone of OG’s music, but by being among the best crafted songs Lord 13 has to offer.
There is no let up in quality on Make It With You and Keep on Riding, quality songs from beginning to end, delivering still more of that wonderful stoner sound. Keep on Riding can be reminiscent of a number of Brant Bjork’s work, while remaining true to Lord 13’s own established awesomeness of sound.
Not Over is this album’s foray into lengthy psychadelica, cranking out over seven minutes of still more superb distortion and fuzz of the stoner rock mold and from the Lord 13 library of kick ass music.
When you get to the final track you might first think your player has jumped over to ‘radio’ mode and is playing something from some other source, but in fact it’s instead playing Walking In Sin, a decided departure from the rest of the album on which it appears Jim and his guitar are delving down an acoustic pathway, accompanied by a flute, and delivering what, for me, is a wonderful and worthwhile offering of music that simply proves that Lord 13 are more than a stoner rock band, they are musicians and artists, very gifted in what they are able to craft and share. This song is a joy in which to listen, and a fine way to close out what is truly a memorable and worthwhile collection of some of the best stoner music I’ve heard since Freedom Hawk’s “Sunlight” album.
Lord 13 consists of:
Jim: Vocals, Guitar
The best part about the album is that you can get it for FREE along with their previous releases. Go here to download.