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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Belzebong - "Dungeon Vultures"

Ah, look who's back! You're lookin' good, man. You found a little color in your face, bought some new shoes, picked up part-time work at the car lot down the street. What's it been, a year or more? What brings ya back? Well, we've got it all: Isolator, Kashmir Cream, Amnesia Haze, Super Palm, Phazer, Parvati, Double Bubblegum, Platinum Kush, OG Kush, Purple Kush, Purple Urkle, Purple Haze, Purple Blueberry, Purple Star, Full Moon, Mongout, Dro, Sonoma Coma, Strawberry Cough. We ain't got no brick shit here, goon! But wait... Hit this!

We last heard from Poland's Belzebong when Sonic Scapes & Weedy Grooves popped up in Seth's Top 11 of '11, an accolade as promising as it was wholly deserving. The weed metal titans are returning (On 4/20, to no surprise) with Dungeon Vultures, a one-track EP with heavy doses of riffs and drags that slowly and steadily takes the band to new heights. Sure, there's the fuzzy haze that creeps at every corner and dries your gums, but the patient and deliberate slow-motion nightmare is just another step in Belzebong's continually evolving catalog of expanded realities and hidden layers.

Given the right circumstances, fourteen minutes can easily grow much longer. The song is a changeling of sorts, but Belzebong maintain their unmistakable constants. The heady Nice Dreams sample would fit anywhere, while the crushing riffs have become a staple for the band. Grinding at a muddy snail's pace, Belzebong's sludge resin never dries out and still gets you just as lifted. Fuck the purists, you can't afford to waste a single hit.

Loaded with primitive howls and sirens reaching from afar, it'd be easy to let paranoia trip your buzz and kill your session. Trust me, you can't see shit through these gargantuan walls of reverb. The approaching storm is effectively a smoke signal with an enticing apocalyptic glaze. Within these clouds are tiers that emerge, peel away, and hit repeat to perfectly weave a smoky mesh distraction from your father's empty military school threats. Bass hits thick tar while sky-rocket guitar licks splinter and catch an atmospheric fire. The drumwork may be the most sobering element to this EP, but that's not saying much; the brawny underlayment reveals itself to be incredibly potent when the rhythms mellow.

It's clear Belzebong have pared down the minutes to expand not only their consciousness, but also their chops. A fourteen-minute release had better deliver, and Dungeon Vultures leaves out the stems and seeds for an engaging haunt. The true midnight tokers here plug more at rebirth than rediscovery, carrying forward only what's absolutely necessary: the sludge riff. Beyond that, Belzebong plant themselves as unrivaled in the unraveled. Ravaged and triumphant for all its brevity, this EP is a perfect demotivator.

Limited vinyl available here, 42 of which come with a surprise.

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