posted on 1/2009 By:
Canada’s Fiftywatthead sure do love their riffs. Big-noted, grooving, earth-rumbling riffs. Each of the eight compositions on latest effort Fogcutter are simple but powerful, built around a mere handful of droning, thunderously heavy guitar lines. Opening salvo “White Out” is almost misleadingly upbeat and jagged, with its stop-start rhythm and megaphone vocals recalling Mastodon more than anything else. Then the excellent title track kicks in and is a better representation of Fiftywatthead’s sound, which basically takes traditional doom/stoner and brings it bang up to date with a touch of modern extremity. This song is particularly well-crafted, with the promising slow build of its first few minutes leading into the first instance of J. Drummond’s weather-beaten singing voice, and eventually going out with a beast of an end riff/solo combination. “Seadawg” maintains the big heavy grooves but is a faster, more succinct rocker that balances out its more epic predecessor nicely. By this point these guys have me hooked and convinced there should be more nautically-themed doom metal records out there.
Fogcutter is slightly soggy in the middle, with not quite as much in the way of innovation or tempo variation as the earlier tracks (“Iron Clad” being the most memorable). Things pick up again though towards the end with the vocal-less, high-octane jam that is “Last Leg” (a great example of how to milk the bare minimum of riffs for all they’re worth), and the full-bodied “Followed by Thunder” which ends the album on a high. Fiftywatthead aren’t likely to cause ripples too far beyond the doom/stoner/sludge set, but if you’re a lover of all things slow and heavy, Fogcutter should serve you well in between bouts of High On Fire and Mastodon.
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