RIFFLORD – 26 Mean and Heavy
Those of you waiting to enter into the world of RIFFLORD’s 26 Mean and Heavy should be prepared for two things: your bones to be crushed, and for the powder to be snorted by the God of hellfire! RIFFLORD are heavy, like, really damn heavy!
Mixing their influences from 70’s heavy rock with stoner fuzz, the guys have created one of the most devastatingly infectiously groove heavy records of the year, a record which matches their statement of a band name. As the southern twang of ‘Heavy Queen’ kicks the record off properly, RIFFLORD lull you into a sense of safety with their thick blues riffs driving your fist up into the smoke filled air, and Wyatt Bartlett’s vocals droning over an organ driven percussion, you think you know where the band are going, but hell, stamping on your chest with their powerhouse of stoner/classic rock riffs is not necessarily what you were expecting, and when ‘Olde Fashion Black Magik’ kicks in, you’re entwined in RIFFLORD’s grasp, while at the same time frightened for your life.
The vocals become more vibrant, and the guitar riffs sharper, as the record progresses, with ‘Huge Whiff Heavy Riff’ cutting you open with a jackhammer. Did we say that RIFFLORD were heavy? If we didn’t, then let the psychedelic wrecking ball of ‘Black Holy Dog’ introduce itself to your cranium by way of 70’s bong rippers.
The band are big lovers of the equipment they use, they appreciate each vibrating sonic blast that fires out of their speakers, at just the right frequency, through the perfect decibel. They are craftsmen with passion, and they’ve channelled this into their music, so as you’d expect, the results are superb. It’s no wonder the equally awesome STB records snapped them up.
Introduce your face to 26 Mean and Heavy, you deserve it.
XII Boar – Pitworthy
It’s hard to believe that, having been mainstays of the underground sludge/stoner scene in the UK for the past five years, XII Boar (pronounced Twelve Boar if you’ve been struggling like me) are just getting round to releasing their debut full length record, but it’s one that is worth the wait as all the years of trudging the toilet circuit, shitty bars, broken vans, all the experiences and regrets have culminated in one clusterfuck of an album.
Pitworthy starts as it means to go on, FULL THROTTLE like a shiv to the head. From the moment the first razor riffs of ‘Sharpshooter’ set their groove-laden bluesy claws into your throat, the Aldershot trio keep things at a steady 100 miles per hour pace that is sheer relentless assaults on your senses. Tommy Hardrocks’ vocals teeter on the edge of sludge and death metal, but always reined in by their love of the blues and rock’n’roll. The boogie shake of ‘Young Man’ sees the band align with contemporaries Grifter in the heavy-ass “Metal’n’Roll” stakes, and it’s a sound that isn’t easy to stand still to. Whether you prefer your music to be brutal (‘Battle Boar’) contain thrash elements (‘Chicken Hawk’) or be heavy on the groove (‘Rock City’), there’s something for every deprived soul.
XII Boar are heavy, they’re angry, and best of all they’re superb musicians and songsmiths as riffs after riffs are piled sky high as they power through their debut with explosive precision. Imagine a southern swamp sludgey Motorhead, and you’re somewhere along the right track with these guys, and if that’s not enough to whet your appetite, check your pulse. Pitworthy is a record which will finally bring XII Boar to the masses where they’ve been destined to land for some time now; prepare yourselves.
Shellfin – Cities Without Names
The second album from Brisbane, Australia’s downtuned stoner rockers Shellfin is a statement of intent: this is how stoner rock is done! Torche are often referred to as “stoner-pop”, but the real crossover of the genre is found within these five Aussies and their penchant for slaying riffs and laid back grooves, as they basically wrap their ability to write catchy songs through their stoner rock attitude, and it’s something which is refreshing to hear.
Opening with doom-esque vibes on ‘Poisoned Heart’, carrying you into a direction of psychedelic Monster Magnet type rocking, you think you know where the rest of the album will be headed, before the stoner gem of ‘Get On’ wraps itself around your central nervous system, and begins to gyrate.
The band aren’t afraid to play with the boundaries of what makes a traditional song, heard majorly on ‘The Earth is an Egg’ as the driving stoner rock carries some tongue-in-cheek lyrics before descending into bizarre almost spoken word southern blues jangles: it’s weird, but it works. Shellfin don’t like to stray too far for long and they’re immediately back on the heavy rock trail again with ‘Down To Zero’ packing some real swagger.
Standout track ‘She Is A Robot’ has everything you’d need in a Shellfin song: Heavy down-tempo riffs, southern groove, a structure that’s as catchy as VD, tongue-in-cheek lyrics (“She is a Robot but she don’t know it, She is bionic, she brings me Gin and tonic.”), dalliances into spaced out psychedelic jams, all encompassed in almost soothing vocals, all of which turns on a knifes edge. Shellfin say that they want to be the love-child of Kyuss and Monster Magnet, well, job well done guys!