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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday Sludge: Green Dragon - "Walls of Jericho" (EP)

There are reasons some people don't get out much. For some, an evening away from a stained couch, stale sitcoms, and stacks of old pizza boxes just doesn't fit the mold of fun. And what happens when we make it out on the town, anyway? You run the risk of bumping into some asshole you knew in high school who you never cared for, yet he manages to find some common ground in buying you a cheap beer and saying shit like "so what'cha been doin'?" What do you think, man? I've been stoned fifteen years and I pissed away the inheritance. Fuck. I can't even buy milk and eggs without someone pretending to care.

Sure, I can go home, head downstairs, and wait for that needle to hit wax. But sometimes I don't wanna hear anyone speak at all. I try to approach the vocal as an instrument itself, and it usually works out. At times, however, it presents only another distraction. Bands like Pelican and Karma To Burn are perfect in these scenarios. Heavy, instrumental, and completely magnificent without the flimsiest of sonic elements. Stumbling across Poland's Green Dragon, I found a similar escape. On their Walls of Jericho EP, this trio sparks three slow stoner-sludge rollers of raw, Southern-glazed instrumentation. And it's delicious.

Green Dragon waste no time coating the thick with the moist. Into the Black Hole tilts and seeps dirty, smoky fuzz via long drags and crunching riffs. The electric blanket keeping you from shivering is tugged away though, and sharp shards of broken licks pepper your eyes and haze your perspective. Slow groove is never far, guitars poke through your makeshift lean-to, and the cool wind seems to have calculated a chill that'll settle in your bones. Yes, they're here.

Nuclear Nomad trickles with creeping malevolence, a cavernous and hollow sludge paranoia hitching along. Elements emerge one after another, drinking from murky waters until the rhythms snap in half to reveal a chewy chaos center. Drums are racing heartbeats under steel-toed aggression while guitars shatter above, splintering and blasting skin. As the bolts loosen, rhythms somehow hold steady despite the sludgy stumble. The closing avalanche of boulders just might seal off the outside world. There's a circumstance you can appreciate, huh?

Now gather 'round, all. Assemble here for a cleansing on Sonic Cavalry's swampy Confederate pluck. Whispers of static draw out stoner-fuzz realizations normally reserved for smoothed-out basement sessions with the neighborhood heshers. The song's sluggish hesitations are timed perfectly. And at its middle we find a crackle and a light burst, emerging to battle the moment of clarity your parents have been praying for. To bottom-line the bottom-out, the stoner-sludge riffs dominate behind the strong drumkit backbone.

Ticking just under a quarter-hour is a mislead. Walls of Jericho was, quite simply, a whole lot o' fuckin' fun. Stoner-sludge staples are there: fuzz, riffs, slow passages. You may wanna hit repeat a few times until the buzz wears off and it's time to leave for work. From pole to pole (see what I did there?), this EP is pound for pound more exciting than your local watering hole. Do bands without vocals need to work harder, thus creating a greater likelihood for killer songcraft? Who knows. But Green Dragon just copped a squat on your shag carpet and have no plans today. Let's not ruin this with small-talk, k?

For fans of: Sleep, Karma To Burn, Belzebong
Pair with: Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Stout, New Holland Brewing


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