"The Green Vapour"

By Earthdog

This Swiss stoner-doom metal band sat around and smoked a trunk load of the strongest weed imaginable and then proceeded to make the most fuzz laden album that they could muster in their stoned stupor. Well ,that is what it sounds like anyway. It has been about 3 years since they released the very impressive 'Raunacht' album and it seems they have turned everything up a notch for this release. Their nihilistic bare-boned take on sabbathian sludge and doom metal is still there but they seem to have coated this album in a extra layer of slime and filth for your listening pleasure and damn, it is filthy. What you get here is 5 long and even longer still tracks that kick off with the 15 minute 'Raping Zombies.' If there is a early criticism to be made, it is the fact they take their sweet time in getting the songs moving and this opening onslaught is by far the worst offender but that wait is all worth it in the end.

Everything about this album seems stoned; from the sludgy, distorted fuzzy guitar tones to the vocals that also seem to be heavily under the influence of some very toxic weed. Even the production which is buried in a pile of mud seems to be targeted at stoners everywhere but don't worry if you are not a smoker of the herb, this album will make you feel stoned anyway. The band have a nice balance of 70's retro proto-doom sounds and modern louder than loud sludge grooves with heavy self-helping of horror movie vibes. Sounds cliched right? Well, yes it is , to a point but when it is done right, it is immensely enjoyable heavy rock and Lord of the Grave have indeed nailed it in more ways than one. The obvious comparisons to be made are Electric Wizard and Sleep but they are certainly not a direct clone band in any shape or form. Rather they take that much used formula and seemingly give it a new lease of life.

If you are already tuned into Electric Wizard and co, you will know what to expect and to be honest there is not much in the way of surprises with this release but it don't mean diddly squat at the end of the day. This album crushes but also has enough grooves and melodies to be catchy and thankfully they avoid senseless unemotional drones and pointless feedback. If you can get through the 15 minutes of 'Raping Zombies' without feeling restless, the rest of the album should be smooth sailing for you all. The title track that follows begins with clean guitar and a surprisingly nice melody....well, nice in relation to what this band normally comes up with but after a few minutes you soon find yourself drowning in fuzzy riffs and bongwater once again. 'Green Vapour' is a great track that showcases the fact that there is far more to this band than just stoned-out doom riffs. The following 'Horsepunchers' (I wonder if they got the song-title from watching 'Blazing Saddles'?) amps up the intensity with a stronger emphasis on the metallic. This track reminds me of early High on Fire but I don't know if anyone else will hear the connection.

'Mountain Rites' is big on grooves and is a very sweet 8 or so minutes of primal sludge-doom and the closing track which I don't have the title but I think it is something strange like ' 00/15' or something similar ends the album in typical amp-destroying fashion. Fans of Sleep, Electric Wizard, Serpent Venom, Pombagira and High on Fire should be all over this. It is not perfect, the production at times seems too muddy, even by sludge-doom standards and some of the tracks (especially the opening track) do have moments where you wish they would just get down to business a little quicker than they do. However those minor question marks aside, this is a impressive stoner, sludge doom attack that all fans of these genres should dig...8.5/10.