Weedeater - Goliathan (2015)

While stoner metal remains as one of the hardest sub genres of heavy music to define, it is also one of the most popular, used so often to describe bands around the world. Whether justly or not, the connotations of being dubbed a stoner band are many. But what does that word really say about the music you make? For North Carolina's Weedeater, it may be the only word one could use to aptly describe the music they've made for the better part of two decades. Pressing play on their latest album, Goliathan, is the musical equivalent to walking into a bar filled with smoke, the grating hum of feedback pouring through speakers, and a collection of beards, varying in length, occupying every square inch. And it's better than you could have ever imagined.

Even the sweet tones of Processional can only temporarily distract you. When the first line trickles from the mouth of vocalist Dave Collins - "I really hate your face" - you know exactly where you are. It's as though you can hear the exhalation of smoke, and the clink of glasses. And before long, the title track erupts in a mess of hazy distortion, sounding like your speaker has been cracked. But the slow, methodical instrumental pairs so naturally with Collins' voice; a signature shriek that pierces the ears from all angles. It's a fuzzy stomp from start to finish, bleeding over into the massive Cain Enabler. It would be impossible to isolate the lyrics from their delivery mechanism, nor should you want to. But their Biblical undertones, covered in a thick layer of southern sludge, are unmistakable. You won't find a great deal of latitude here, as the band stays as straight forward as can be, pounding and pummeling their way through the murky Bow Down, a track that boasts some of the lyrics you've come to love of the band; "I will get what I need, got no time for you."

And yet, with all of the wordsmanship and turning of phrases, it's the interlude, Battered & Fried, that stands as one of the most enjoyable tracks of the year. It's as if the front porch pickin' of the movies has come to life, with Collins as the lead. It sets up the second half of the album, too, giving pause before the crushing Claw of The Sloth bursts into flames before your very eyes. It embodies what the heavy (see: more driving) side of the band sounds like. The rattling of cymbals, now a constant on the disc and the discography, is a weird harmony all it's own. The metallic clang rings out over Bully and finds a home amongst the bending strings of Joseph (All Talk). The balance of the parts is key, with each small minutia of feedback, distortion or reverb occupying an important place in the mix. And with the ending instrumental, Benediction, things slow down and ease back on the harshness of that balance.

There are reasons why bands stand at the forefront of their genre, and become the face of a sound. Weedeater is just any random stoner band (or one dubbed a stoner band for the sake of ease). They've come to represent everything most need to know about the genre, and they've done so with an amazing honesty. Goliathan is an album with only one discernible flaw: it's too damn short. Standing at a miniscule run time of just over 30 minutes, it leaves the listener, possibly in various states of inebriation, sounding like a child being woken up for school. Just five more minutes. Just one more song. Regardless, what they have done is produced yet another filthy, dirt covered masterpiece that can become the soundtrack of another blurry Friday night. Or the rallying cry for those who want more from the stoner metal masses. They want Weed Metal.

8.5/10

Official Site - http://www.weedmetal.com/

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