posted on 3/2010 By:
Ever wonder what it would sound like if Corrosion Of Conformity and Slough Feg were magically merged into one? Honestly, I didn't. In fact, I'm fairly certain I'd never thought about that at all. But nonetheless, now I know the answer: it would sound like Barn Burner.
Bangers is the band’s debut, originally released on New Romance For Kids and re-issued here by Metal Blade, remixed and remastered and with two new tracks in place. If you couldn't tell by a song titled "Beer Today Bong Tomorrow," Bangers is stoner metal, but dear reader, you should put a small emphasis upon the last word there. (Here, I'll do it for you: "stoner metal.") Barn Burner brings a bit more than just the greasy classic-rock-based riffage of a Freedom Hawk--they blend the usual reliance upon downtuned pentatonic blooze-groove with decided Thin Lizzy-worshipping guitar work.
Vocalist Kevin Keegan (sometimes "Keaglesmith") has a worn, smoky voice, fitting the music in fine manner but not transcending, a la Scott Hill of Fu Manchu. Instead, alongside the leadwork of Marc "and the" Doucette(s), it's up to Keegan as rhythm guitarist to truly carry the load here, and thankfully, the two of them do it well. Bangers is packed full of whiskey-soaked riffs, both traditional and fuzzy, melodic and drugged-out, slow and doomy, fast and fist-pumping, somewhere between Maiden and Clutch. From the introductory "Holy Smokes" through the hazy rockin’-to-sluggish-and-back "Brohemoth," Bangers puts a new spin on the well-worn grooves of stoner rock, and while it isn’t the best record I’ve heard this year, nor even the best stoner rock one, that new twist is a welcome one, and I’m suitably impressed by the band’s skills.
As for the best stoner rock record so far this year… well, it is something of a shame that this new version of Bangers was (re-)released into the wild at the same time as High On Fire’s massive Snakes Of The Divine. Although far from interchangeable, the two records still share some common ground within their stoner-metal-that’s-metaller-than-stoner-metal attack. Though it’s not Snakes-level release, Bangers is no slouch and worth a listen...
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