Thursday, August 20, 2015

Review of Weedeater's Goliathan

Weedeater isn't a band that I would call lazy or unsatisfying but it does sometimes feel like they aren't operating at full capacity. They do tour consistently but the full-lengths are always rather short with quite a bit of time between them. The addition of Artimus Pyledriver drummer Travis Owen and a few neat elements help make their fourth album entertaining but things haven't changed all that much in the four years it's been since Jason...The Dragon.

If there's one thing you can say about Weedeater's brand of stoner sludge, it's that they never fail to sound massive even if their songs are rarely more than four or five minutes long. The guitars and drums are always loose and heavy but the group lives and dies by the all encompassing fuzz and forceful shrieks of bassist/vocalist "Dixie" Dave Collins. This is most evident on songs like the building "Bow Down" but he still drives the upbeat "Cain Enabler" and the punky "Bully."

And like Jason...The Dragon before it, there are also moments where the band decides to switch to decidedly non-metal affairs. "Processional" starts the album off with a somber funeral organ and a hatefully whispered vocal while "Benaddiction" ends it with a clean bass demonstration. In addition, "Battered And Fried" sees Dixie swapping the bass out for a banjo and modifying his rasp to a haggard drawl. They pull the switches off better than most of their peers though it'd be interesting to see the styles be integrated even more.
But like the band's other efforts, Goliathan does feel slightly underdeveloped at times. While the songs' brief run times and swelling riffs make their album play out redneck sludge suites of sorts, the ideas always seem like they could be expanded further. The riffs would be even more effective if they were set to coherent structures or even accompanied by the bluegrass instrumentation. But then again, has Weedeater ever been known for complexity?

Overall, Weedeater's fifth full-length is about what you'd expect from them at this point. The elements on here were arguably done better on the last effort but the riffs are great and the variety is enjoyable even if it is too short. It's the sort of sludge that demands to be played live and I'll be looking forward to hearing it next time they come to town.

"Cain Enabler"
"Bow Down"
"Claw of the Sloth"

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