By The Great Sun Jester

Weedeater’s new album from Season of Mist, Goliathian, is the band’s fifth album. After that many albums and nearly two decades of service as an active unit, it’s perfectly reasonable to assume cobwebs are settling over the band’s songwriting. Stoner bands aren’t particularly renowned for their musical flexibility, but such appraisals often ignore bands with such solid songwriting fundamentals they can continue mining the same vein with spectacular results. One of Weedeater’s eternal strengths is that, if you set aside their labels and all the tropes of the scene, they draw from a deep and identifiable tradition that informs everything they do.
The woozy midnight blues of “Processional” is a powerful opener. The spare arrangement of keyboards and understated, half-muttered vocals is an unexpected kick off to the album, but Weedeater has long alternated their sledgehammer guitar attack with softer textures. The first full length song, the title track, is a trademark narcoticized Weedeater crawl with slightly blurry tempos and a furious, slightly phlegmy vocal scream. Everything is pushed into the red here. It’s not hard to imagine the recording studio walls rattling down to their foundations on this and it’s apparent Weedeater has pulled out all the stops to develop this into a thunderous statement.
 “Cain Enabler” has a simple, yet powerful, groove centered on the rhythm section. One of the fascinating qualities of the track is the surprisingly musical vocal; it reminds me of Nazareth’s Dan McCafferty on steroids. Like many of their top shelf peers, Weedeater’s songwriting chops are sometimes obscured by the sonic power, but “Cain Enabler” is one of Goliathian’s strongest tracks. “Bow Down” is largely unremarkable until its second half. The music seems to break down briefly before reconstituting itself into a memorable, stuttering riff that brings the song to great conclusion. “Battered & Fried” takes a welcome turn into acoustic blues. The track certainly has some levity, but it’s more than that. The superb musicianship reminds attentive listeners, if they’ve forgotten, that the band’s palette is much wider than many might assume.
“Bully” is bodily assault in musical form.  This is, arguably, the purest sonic embodiment of the band’s muscle heard on Goliathian. It’s an album that, as a whole, pushes things to their production limit and nowhere is this tendency more white-knuckled and focused than this song. The tempo helps accentuate this, but this is tough-minded songwriting regardless of volume. The album’s conclusion, “Benaddiction”, is one of the album’s most underrated moments. It might otherwise seem like a throwaway finale, an instrumental tacked onto the end of an album without much rhyme or reason, it makes perfect sense in the context of this stylistically sprawling affair. Moreover, it ends the album in the same mood that has sustained it.
Bands never like speaking in these kinds of terms, but Goliathian plays like a definitive statement that signals some sort of key point in the band’s history. Retrospect alone will show fans and observers like what exactly this turning points signals, but however the band’s future plays out, Weedeater has released a contender for 2015 album of the year. Highly recommended.