"I think if you were Satan and you were settin' around tryin' to think up somethin' that would just bring the human race to its knees, what you would probably come up with is narcotics. Maybe he did."
45 rpm offers higher fidelity, so I'm not sure how I got it wrong in the first place. Complicating things was my impish delight to hear something so deliberate and cavernous delivered with such slow sustain. But 33 rpm quickly got pretty fucking weird and I got pretty fucking curdled. Regardless of user-error, Richmond-based stoner-doom trio Druglord readily demonstrate their damp, viscous, achingly slow blend of trippy psychedelia and smoky sludge on the four-track Enter Venus, an essential exercise in unsettled recreation.
Initially hushed with warbled Christian propaganda, Grievous Heaving's scorching doom decadence hangs heavy with static and Tommy Hamilton's distant reproach. Fur and filth fuse on gargantuan riffs, but jagged interruptions pierce the veil of white noise and welcome the filter of echoed laments. By the time we discover the opener's relatively abrupt close, we've grown beards and can recognize that sherm sticks are taking this experience a bit too far. *Twitch*
Not one of the album's mossy timbers clocks under six minutes. Feast On The Eye chortles and spews for seven and a half, slow-slicing riff slabs atop HufKnell's half-eyed drum sprays. As guitars swell only to later splinter into bite-sized tablets, we're dragged through trance-inducing progressions. Slowing toward a threesome of riffs, vocals, and spooky cathedral organs breeds an escapist's abduction. The delicious trip commands your full absorption; classic Stockholm Syndrome, y'dig?
And Side B? Well...
The album's title track dodges puddles only to stumble into a nebulous web of expanding stickiness. Distortive fuzz is garnished with ribboned licks and teasing pauses, drawing you into a narrowing corridor with a vocal that's more depraved here. Innards spiral to reveal their center before jumping back into the haze, with slivers clarity hardly allowing a healthy breath. What ensues is a collapse of stone and smoke, promising an unnatural side-B experience best served behind vinyl's crackle. Let Us Bleed offers the truest sludge tempo, led by the ringed nose of descending drums. Hamilton's howl spars with deliberate rhythms both distant and so beautifully unsettling. Of course this closer briefly offers marquee billing to reflective plucks, but the psych-doom onslaught that ensues hits heavy and litters our flesh with track marks. Enter Venus saved its finest moment for last, shaking listeners and yanking our jaws south.
This is hardly an experiment. This isn't a precocious white girl anxiously waiting in the car as you score some Friday night supplies. The gravity of Druglord's sound may as well be a fifty-pound rucksack as you wander a muddy path. Enter Venus IS drugs. For all the spook and stick, these four tracks stay fluid and never gum up. I can't help but wonder if this exposure will somehow have an effect on my later years. Druglord are gonna house up in my spine and periodically travel to my brain. But my family won't bother wiping drool from my chin or unclenching my teeth. They'll have a harder time keeping me from stomping holes through the floor.
For fans of: Windhand, Sabbath, Salem's Pot
Pair with: 80-Acre Hoppy Wheat Beer, Boulevard Brewing Co.