Stoner Rock

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4.32 | 7 ratings
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stoner rock Music Reviews

BLACK MOTH Anatomical Venus

Album · 2018 · Stoner Rock
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Nightfly
Having been impressed by Black Moth’s 2014 album Condemned To Hope’s blend of doom, stoner and garage rock (which showed considerable growth over their debut) I was looking forward to hear Anatomical Venus, their first in four years. It sees a line-up change with guitarist Federica Gialanze taking over from Nico Carew. She previously played in a Black Sabbath tribute band whose influences can be heard in the grooves of this latest release as they were on the last album. The title Anatomical Venus was inspired by the wax models of women created by Clementi Susini which whilst being accurate anatomical figures for medical study also unsettlingly beautified them in death.

Istra kicks things off in fine style with powerful riffing and Harriet Hyde’s authoritatively biting vocal delivery but the song also manages to introduce some light and shade which works very well. A strong start and equally good is Moonbow, a pre-album single release, with a captivating and hypnotic 6/8 time riff. They clearly like playing in 6’s as Tourmaline later in the album does too. Whilst most of the influences that made Condemned To Hope such a strong release are in place they do seem to have toned down the purer doom touches, which were never particularly prevalent anyway, with most of the album being more in the stoner metal/rock vein with the garage rock still rearing its head from time to time. Black Moth are showing a lot of maturity as songwriters too with much of the album being their strongest work to date. The only lapse into ordinariness is Buried Hoards which whilst not bad creates a momentary lull though pleasingly short lived. Songs like Severed Grace more than make up for it though. A truly remarkable, haunting and powerful song, delving into the subject of the album title.

Anatomical Venus whilst I didn’t originally think so is the bands best work so far. A few listens however soon revealed what a compelling collection of songs this is with a few clever and unexpected twists and turns and deserves to give them wider recognition and success.

MOTHERSHIP High Strangeness

Album · 2017 · Stoner Rock
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666sharon666
When the opening title track of Mothership's 2017 third full-length album High Strangeness kicks off, you may just think you put on the wrong album. After all, the US trio is known to be a stoner metal act. But coming out of the speakers on this first track is neither stoner nor metal, but pure, beautiful space rock. Just over three minutes later though and the band start to show their true colours, as Ride the Sun introduces distorted riffs and vocals into the equation. This song is more of a stoner rock number, but the band gradually increases their metallic tendencies as the track does on, including a really heavy doomy bit towards the end before it's closed with a lead bass line. Then with Midnight Express, Mothership really start to deliver what was promised, with heavier, crunchier metallic riffs and more raw vocals alongside melodic singing.

High Strangeness is a varied record that isn't too long either, lasting for only 33:32 minutes, but this plays into its favour well. There's a twist around every corner and all kind of elements are to be found from the heavy and hard rocking to the psychedelic. After Midnight Express we move onto Crown of Lies, which has a really galloping metallic riff but otherwise is like a bridge between the two preceding songs and then it's onto Helter Skelter, which brings a noticeably fuzzier guitar tone to the table. Next, Eternal Trip returns things to a lighter but less spacey psychedelic rock sound, while finally Wise Man and Speed Dealer round the album off with as close to business as usual as the record ever delivers.

Due to the diversions into space and psychedelic rock, High Strangeness comes over as more of a rock record overall despite the band's reputation as a stoner metal act. There's still plenty of more metallic riffs here, in fact I'd say that the core sound is fairly summed up as stoner rock/metal but it's difficult to think of it as a metal album in total. I haven't heard Mothership's previous albums to know if High Strangeness is much of a departure for them, but one thing is for sure, this record is a real winner with its regularly changing yet never forced style shifts, so they've definitely done something right. Great stuff.

KADAVAR Rough Times

Album · 2017 · Stoner Rock
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Kev Rowland


Two years on and the trio are back proving that they fully understand their niche and feel no need whatsoever to move away from it. The slight change in the sound is that the bass has been given more prominence and a far richer sound, but apart from that it is another album straight from the Kadavar playbook, namely doom, psyche and hard rock with major influenced from the likes of Sabbath, Cream and Atomic Rooster. Somehow, they always manage to imbue the music with a vitality, a real energy, and it is this that really makes them standout from others following a similar musical journey. This album has moved them more into classic Sabbath territory than ‘Berlin’, but for someone who grew up cutting his teeth on those albums that’s never going to be a bad thing. But whereas many bands appear to emphasise the doom-laden riffs of that group, Kadavar never forget the need for balance, and this album comes across as refined and polished, as well as raw and grungy all at the same time.

This is their fourth studio album, and they continue to mine a rich vein of material, and although it may never be the most fashionable forms of metal, they are experts at what they do and it is of little surprise that their third release gained some chart success on both Germany and the States, and this one will do the same I’m sure. There is much here for any fan of the genre to really get their teeth and ears into.

KADAVAR Berlin

Album · 2015 · Stoner Rock
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Kev Rowland


The cover to the German trio’s third full-length studio album has a very Seventies feel about it, and the music on offer definitely belongs to the first part of that decade, if not earlier. But, given that the first two albums looked as if they belonged firmly in the Sixties, possibly the band are coming more up to date? By now bassist Simon ‘Dragon’ Bouteloup was fully ensconced in the band, having only contributed to a few songs on the previous album, joining Christoph ‘Lupus’ Lindemann (vocals, guitars) and Christoph ‘Tiger’ Bartelt (drums) in making a glorious sound that owes a great deal to the few years either side of 1970. The guitars are distorted when they need to be, or clean and fine at others, while the drums are solid and the bass moved between hitting a solid single note and going off at tangents.

Somehow the band manage to mix Cream, Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster (although with no keyboards) and others in a celebration of bell-bottomed flares, long hair, and loud music that is exciting, invigorating and undoubtedly honest. This is music guaranteed to get the sweat running down the walls, and turn even the most svelte and sedate manner rocker into a greasy mess of hair and snot.

Music guaranteed to make lovers of the Seventies and Sixties smile, their version of doom, psyche and straight ahead hard rock is a joy from start to end. If you like the genre then this is essential, but if not then I suggest you pass quickly by while the rest of lose our dandruff.

FU MANCHU No One Rides For Free

Album · 1994 · Stoner Rock
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The Crow
Debut of this splendid stoner rock band leaded by Scott Hill!

Brant Björk, ex-drummer of Kyuss, achieved a typical stoner guitar sound while maintaining some hard rock elements in the sound of the band, especially in the strong drums and clear bass. The result is a very compact album which is not a mere copy of Kyuss.

Time to fly demonstrates that Fu-Manchu are good scholars of Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality, despite the weak vocals. The riff after 2:20 is just astounding! Ojo Rojo is even better, with a mastodontic riff and very catchy melodies. Pure stoner-metal from the 90’s at its best.

Show and Shine is a more accelerated track, even hard rock despite its muddy sound. Mega-Bumpers is not so inspired and a bit repetitive at the beginning, but at the end of the second minute it introduces a fast and catchy riff.

Free and Easy is a relaxing tune with some funny guitar melodies, increasing the variety of the album in a much appropriated way. But Superbird comes to bring the stoner metal back, with another splendid riff at the beginning and good percussions throughout the song. One of the highlights of the album in my opinion!

Shine it On is lighter and a bit simplistic. But not bad nevertheless! And Snakebellies is luckily better especially because it’s psychedelic elements in its second half, leaving a good feeling about this album and band.

Conclusion: despite being produced by Brant Björk, Fu-Manchu are more that a copy of Kyuss or other stoner bands like Sleep. On No One Rides for Free they made an interesting mixture of stoner and hard rock, not so dense and complex like other bands of this genre, but very interesting and catchy nevertheless.

They improved a lot on subsequent releases, but No One Rides for Free is a good point of entry if you want to discover this band.

Best Tracks: Time to Fly, Ojo Rojo, Superbird, Snakebellies.

My Rating: ***

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