Friday, October 9, 2015

Review of Dopethrone's Hochelaga

It can be tricky to determine the long-term fate of a clone band. Most of them fade into oblivion after a few releases but a few may outgrow the dependency on their influences and come into their own sound. Four albums into their career, Montreal’s Dopethrone doesn’t stray too far from bottom heavy stoner doom but may be performing it better than the band who inspired them are nowadays.

As expected from the name, Dopethrone is about as close as one can get to the old school Electric Wizard sound. The riffs are slow and sludgy, the structures are long and meandering, and the occult and drug lyrical themes are topped with a constant array of old movie samples. These elements are best exemplified by “Vagabong,” a slow burn that revolves around a riff progression not unlike that of “Funeralopolis.”

But even with the obvious homages and occasional lifts, I’m not sure if Electric Wizard ever sounded this harsh. The psychedelic influences are nowhere near as prominent and the shrieking vocals have more in common with Dixie Collins of Weedeater than Jus Oborn’s mournful drones. The riffs are also not quite as catchy though segments such as the bass driven breakdown on “Dry Hitter” are pretty memorable.

Overall, Dopethrone’s fourth album is a solid alternative for fans that have grown weary of the recent efforts by the old guard. Their songwriting isn’t as definitive as those bands’ best but the rougher sound gives these tracks a satisfying edge. I haven’t heard any of the band’s other records yet but I imagine there isn’t too much reason to stray from the course they’re on.

“Scumfuck Blues”
“Dry Hitter”


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