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Friday, November 25, 2016

Album Review: Ruff Majik - "The Fox"



Whew! Where are my asbestos gloves? This album is HOT!! Searing through the ionosphere from Pretoria, South Africa, screaming towards us cloaked in fuzz stuffed riffs, raucous runs, and joyous melody comes the latest release by one of Stoner Rock's new breed of jam masters, Ruff Majik. "The Fox" delivers six fibrous, rollicking delicacies of amplified fuzz close on the heels of their 2015 offering of "The Bear", itself bursting forth with six jagged metal edges of sharp and smoky stoner standards.

Ruff Majik are comprised of:

Johni Holliday - Guitars, vocals, and narratives
Benni Manchino - Drums and narratives
Jimi Glass - Bass guitar

As an EP of six, "The Fox" has little room and little time to waste in solidifying a sound that will attract the ear of discerning stonerheads. I can safely and securely report they have been quite successful in utilizing every bit, every note, every riff, every run, every song on this astounding release.

"King of the Badgers"  This opening track begins with what would appear to be a setup for a psychedelic riff trip, but before the initial minute has closed the band has unleashed fuzzy hell on our senses, and all out distortion through melodic amplification. Fittingly, Glass's bass begins the riffslaught, followed closely by Holiday's dextrous riff-fire and then Manchino's undertow of power. The tenor of the song is pure stoner bliss, with low tuned distortion and filtered fierceness throughout, before closing on a short, melancholy acoustic coda.

"Wax Wizard" begins with heads tilted simultaneously to the sky at the gargantuan sound and straight downward to the dark abyss of low tuned stoner perfection. This song is deliberate, dank, and darkly determined in its steady onslaught of hammer blows and husky sound detonations.

Third in line is "Canned Fruit Bats", which utilizes a very cool opening couple of minutes. The fidelity at the outset is low, simple, and melodically beautiful, almost as if being played through your portable hi-fi at the beach back in the day. But very cool soon gives way to awesome. Awesome in scope, delivery, and emotion. The band's now customary onslaught begins with, and sustains an up-tempo flow of fuzzy chords and dusty laser riffs wrapped in a vocal and lyrical masterstroke. This song is a treasure.

"Sodoom and Gomorah" is a dirge of dark delight, gloomy and certain in its trudging tempo through melodic muck before revving up its outboard amplifiers to cut a quick and deadly swath toward its riff laden conclusion.

Opening with a poetic reading that is a prelude to what's to come is "Coffin Dragger", another beautifully crafted up-tempo onslaught of fuzz and distortion in the same vein Ruff Majik have perfectly established to this point, but offering up something new and immensely compelling, burying your experience deep into exquisite riffs of bass, string, and skin.

The closer is an emotional ride told in two parts, each equally adept at portraying the darkness of emotion and loss. "Royal Forest" is a beautifully haunting tale, perfectly accentuated through low wailing riffs and woeful vocals.

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