Release DetailsLABEL Southern Lord Records
RELEASED ON 7/31/2007
God Luck And Good Speed
A recent Southern Lord Records addition, Weedeater would appear to need very little in the way of label promotion. Relentless touring and a stellar live reputation have gone a long way in solidifying the North Carolina trio’s fanbase. That being said, sludge/stoner/doom metal isn’t exactly flying off the shelves these days. With the exception of bands that have expanded upon said theme with atmospherics (Neurosis, Isis, etc.), the style remains largely niche. Given the current popularity of deathcore, metalcore, and tech-death, I’m not sure God Luck is necessarily on many people’s radar. After all, sludge is the antithesis to the fast pace, clinical production, and über-technicality that defines much of today’s metal. Don’t get me wrong, I gobble up as much modern metal as the next guy, but I appreciate the bare-bones ethic of bands that are cranking out albums such as this one, that rely very little on studio sleight-of-hand or a “faster-than thou” mentality.
God Luck and Good Speed wastes little time shifting into gear (albeit a very low one). The roaring opener/title track separates the men from the boys rather abruptly. The hiring of Steve Albini represents a sonic step forward for Weedeater that simply can’t be overstated, and God Luck and Good Speed may be the best sounding sludge record I’ve heard. If you enjoy a hideously distorted bass tone right up front in the mix, then you are in the right place. Frontman “Dixie” Dave Collins isn’t merely the bass player, he positively dominates the lower frequencies that define Weedeater’s sound. Given that metal bass tracks are actually heard only slightly more often than flute tracks, I can’t fault the emphasis on the low end. Still, at its sludgiest moments, God Luck maintains a stunning level of clarity, an impressive feat considering the limited frequency range in which Weedeater operate.
On the whole, God Luck and Good Speed is a varied offering in terms of pace and texture. While the vast majority of the songs plod along in no particular hurry, “Wizard Fight” and “20 Dollar Peanut” show Weedeater’s relatively speedy side (that’s Crowbar, not Kataklysm fast, mind you). Though the vocals rarely fluctuate, it’s tough to imagine anything other than Collins’ Tom Waits-meets-metal-meets-terminal emphysema approach working here. Shep (guitar) and Keko (drums) handle their duties competently, though the guitar work is at times indistinguishable amid the wash of distorted bass that permeates, well…pretty much everything. There are a few curveballs along the way, as well. The somber, banjo-laden “Alone” serves as an early intermission of sorts, allowing listeners a moment to breathe before being tossed back into the grease. Later on, the good ole’ boys who stick this one out will be rewarded with a stellar reinterpretation of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Give Me Back My Bullets”. I’m not sure if the brothers Van Zant would approve of the sound, but I’d like to think they would at least applaud the earnest effort.
Bottom line: This is an infectious slab of Southern sludgecore that will undoubtedly find more ears than both of its predecessors. God Luck and Good Speed oozes with confidence that stems from relentless touring and a lineup that hasn’t changed in ages. If you like your metal whiskey-soaked and Southern-fried, God Luck and Good Speed should be on your short list. Period.
Note: This review comes from a draft written by departing short-time reviewer John Hearn, who quickly found that starting a writing career at the same time he was beginning med school didn’t bode well for his sleep schedule. Given that doctors make a ton of dough and reviewers get promos, it’s hard to argue with his priorities. Good luck and good speed, John. Er, Godspeed, that is.