Metal Double Feature: Battlefields Forever and Godhead

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Big Business is Jared Warren (bass/vocals), Coady Willis (drums), and Scott Martin (guitar).

For those of you familiar with the early sludge metal scene or 1980’s/1990’s Seattle rock music—Warren and Willis have been members of the Melvins since 2006, starting with the recording of (A) Senile Animal (which is probably the only Melvins album you’ve heard of anyways).

And they’re heavier than something really heavy, like a tractor or something, I don’t know.

Following the collapse of the Hydra Head Records empire last fall, Big Business relocated to Gold Metal Records. Their first release on their new label is the mysteriously titled Battlefields Forever. Sonically, Battlefields Forever is a welcomed departure from the punk-inspired minimalism that characterized the majority of their prior album, Mind the Drift. The riffs are slower, grimier, and more crushing than anything they’ve managed since their debut—a change largely due to the addition of Scott Martin (who joined the band in 2010).

After a few listens, Battlefields Forever gives the impression that the band decided to make an entire album that sounds like “The Drift,” the title track off Mind the Drift and their most successful single to date. The upside is that every song finds a perfect balance of melodic and aggressive overtones, all rounded out with a heavy dose of fuzz. But it also means that the tracks on the second half of the album start to blend together into a big indistinguishable mass of monstrous riffs, vocal chorus, and distortion. Which I guess could be a good thing too, if you’re into that.

Sound like your cup of tea? You can stream and buy Battlefields Forever from their Bandcamp.

 

 

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Sandrider is a stoner metal band from Seattle that I found just a few weeks ago. Apparently they released a self-titled album in 2011, but I never saw or heard anything about it. That said, their newest release, Godhead, has been making waves in the stoner/doom scene (and has even caught the attention of Portland natives Red Fang). The album opens with Ruiner, which is arguably the best crafted stoner/doom/sludge/insert-metal-sounding-word-here song to be released this year. And it’s a damn good way to start an album, to say the least. The rest of the album doesn’t disappoint either—it’s one of the best structured stoner metal albums I’ve heard in the past few years.

It’s easy to compare Sandrider to the Melvins, Harvey Milk, or Kyuss, because they absolutely sound like all those bands at times.  What makes Sandrider stand out from the ever-growing host of stoner/doom bands is what they do otherwise. Layered into every track on Godhead are elements of sludge metal in the vein of Leviathan-era Mastodon, groovy blues reminiscent of Clutch’s Robot Hive/Exodus, and noise rock that wouldn’t be out of place on an Unsane album. The net result is a fun, fresh, and frighteningly listenable album in a genre known for its self-similarity and uninspired songwriting (for the unfamiliar—look into Brant Bjork’s solo work).

Imagine if you wrapped a Percocet in a slab of bacon, fed it to a wooly mammoth and shouted, “Dance hairy boyfriend, dance.” That’s what Sandrider sounds like, more or less.

You can stream and buy Godhead from Sandrider’s Bandcamp page.

 

Hail Satan.

– Zander

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