“Ashen Blood”

By Dr. Abner Mality

If thick and dripping doom metal is best appreciated stoned, you will need a brick of cannabis to get through “Ashen Blood”. It’s impossible to come up with music more baked than what this Denver priesthood conjures up.

This is one LOOOONG ride through the mystical valley of killer herb and reverb.  3 tracks are well over 10 minutes with one approaching 20 while 3 more are in the 8 to 9 minute range. Yep, this is one of those records. The Green Druid sound is what you would expect and firmly in the mold of  Windhand, Electric Wizard and Sleep…the gods of stoner doom. But the band also makes time for prolonged psychedelic flights and almost “desert rock” grooves as well. The 18 minute plus “Cursed Blood” has some strong riffing, but unless I am wreathed in a haze of bong smoke, it’s way too long for me. “Pale Blood Sky” and “Dead Tree” are long, rumbling expanses of heavy doom, with a great crunchy guitar tone that engenders a trance-like response. The resemblance to the mighty Windhand is notable, but I’m not sure if vocalist Chris McLaughlin is male or female. When Druid is on their game, they rival Windhand but there’s also meandering, dragging psych  freakouts like most of “Agoraphobia” that drag them down. One of the best songs was one of the shortest, “Rebirth”…this has got a cool pulsing bass line and snappy riffs that grab your attention quickly.

If you are starved for the wandering kind of doped doom favored by Sleep and Electric Wizard, you can light up “Ashen Blood” with confidence. But Green Druid has got some growing pain to get through, too.