Munich, Germany, has just spawned the heaviest stoner record of 2016 so far! Swan Valley Heights’ debut self-titled record is one of biblical stoner rock proportions, combining thick heavy assaults, drawn out riffs, and warm, grunge-like vocals that wraps the whole thing together in an awesome package.
The record opens with ‘Slow Planet’, which at over seven minutes, is one of the shortest songs on the record, with enough stoner and doomy elements to lay waste to those looking for a good old slice of heavy rock head banging. With all songs on the album hitting around the 10-minute mark, the band choose to exemplify their song writing skills as opposed to simply droning out the same riff repeatedly, and it makes for a worthwhile listen as the layers of guitar riffs, time signatures, vocal ability, speed, and peddle dabbling is stretched to its full potential. The band basically make the most out of every second they’ve got. It’s a good five minutes into ‘Alaska’ before the delicate vocals enter the frame, not rough or shouting, but gentle, dare we almost say, singing, and it matches perfectly over the top of their stoner riffage, a cross between Arctic Sleep and Truckfighters, and how awesome does that sound?
Words such as “epic”, “colossus”, and “thickriffheavysonofabitch” are all that needs to be shouted while listening to Swan Valley Heights, and that is most elegantly shown on the track ‘Mammoth’: eleven minutes of stoner doom/psychedelic riffs to melt the coldest of faces, and destructive breakdowns to rob your lungs of breath. It’s when you think these three guys can’t do anymore, they take it up one more notch.
The rest of the album continues it the same devastating fashion; ‘Let Your Hair Down’ rattles the speakers off the shelves with its Neanderthalic riffage, ‘Mountain’ lulls you into a false sense of comfort before remimding you just exactly who you’re fucking with, and closer ‘River’changing course between slow delicate playing, to doomesque meandering, to an all-out riff fest as the band decide to simply go out all guns blazing!
Swan Valley Heights is a stunning record, using every riff for a reason, and that reason is to fucking destroy you. The first essential stoner record of 2016.