"Crater Maker"

By Dr. Abner Mality

The name WEED DEMON conjures up an image of burly, bearded men wreathed in bong smoke and musing upon authors like Lovecraft, Howard and Poe. And yes, that appears to be exactly what we have with this Ohio sludge/stoner/doom band.  They have delivered up an all-purpose sludge/stoner/doom album with "Crater Maker" that will likely have you yearning to grab a hookah and join them in headbanging in a room lit by black light and festooned with occult imagery.

There's both good and bad to be found here. Good, in that they do try sincerely to mix up their sound. The opener "Atmospheric Drag" is a surprising instrumental of raw acoustic blues, fit almost for a band delivering Americana style music. It starts things off by subverting expectations. Those expectations are totally met by "Birthquake", a SLEEP-like instrumental where massive guitars pound a "Dopesmoker" type repetitive riff to the breaking point before veering off on a different riff-tangent. The band's guitar tone is perfect for this type of music and the drumming on the track is very peculiar, with a light and papery feel to it.

"Serpent Merchant" brings the vocals and they are ugly and gruesome in a death metal matter. Much of this song can be described as death-doom, but there is a run of catchier stoner type riffs in the middle before it returns to breaking bones. The title track has an awesomely "barbaric" feel and brings HIGH ON FIRE to mind. This one totally crushes! "The Elder Tree Pyre" lightens things up and delivers what sounds like pure stoner rock before the final cut "Sporelord" issues forth some total ELECTRIC WIZARD worship with a mighty riff that could have been right off of "Dopethrone". But there's a strange deviation about half way through that kind of stops the momentum.

WEED DEMON is exactly what you think it is. They sometimes beat a riff into a senseless mush and at other points veer away when the groove is strong. But on the whole, they delivered a bongload of fat, smoky riffs with maximum crunch. They might develop into something really strong.