With the Melvins, Earth, Electric Wizard and chiefly Sleep, we saw what happened to the generation that grew up on Sabbath, precisely the moment Sabbath took a classic Jefferson Airplane flower power ballad title, Sweet Leaf, and turned it into a pleading, moaning sacrament; U KNO IT. Now with the power of the internet to unearth further reverberations from the decades-buried bunker, the early musings by Pentagram and the like, combined with the emanations of Sleep themselves. While there is a blogosphere of imitators, they do nothing to innovate, until now. Pyres of the Oregonian is a project by Ryan ‘Refusenik’ Kittell, from his social media emanations it’s clear Dopesmoker is less like a song and more like a permanently rising tide, as it is to a whole generation of long-beard drop-out doom heads. The sub-religious chanting, the howling guitars and the drum-driven structure all come up in the Weedian Master sorta-LP. A self-titled album is in the works and from what I’ve heard it burns with heathen fire right into pagan wood.
From the culty artwork to the simple track titles, everything in this record begs to be small-run pressed into an LP with resplendent gatefold potential. Other imitators to the Sabbath crown have taken the imitation as a joke, a nudge-wink and devolved into tired and loathsome pastiche, but like Sleep and proto-snoozers Asbestos Death, rather than have a sense of humour, Kittrell is deadly serious about Iommi and O’Malley worship, and is taken is Sleep Sabbath Sunn imitation to the edge and holding it there for now, like a quivering lover at the end of a fretboard. It isn’t city music, it demands to explode out, impossibly loud over green fields and empty moorland, make the rocks and the trees resound with its monolithic monotonous yawp.
The Discovery is the most obvious Sleepian reference, borrowing the intonations of Al Cisneros and the ghost of the Dopesmoker riff and roaring more guttural vocals recalling his inferior contemporaries and unbecoming of such an otherwise great EP. Undisputed highlight, as in high-light: ‘stoned heaven’ is Venus Dose, too short at just nine minutes, and yet more than a lifetime long of Sunn O))) inflected groovy drone guitar and wah pedal demolition. Taking Dopesmoker as a single unbroken hour of runway asphalt before strapping itself into some USAF behemoth and taking to the dreamy blue skies, rising sharply thorough layered guitars and understated percussion until only the black of space is above this stunning soaring EP. Titular track Weedian Master rounds out the record, finding an appropriate groove within fuzzy Melvins guitars and shouty Soma lyrics. The entire thing loops around on itself like a good trip and I can’t be more overemphatic that it smoked my pole right down to the base. TO say I’m lusting for more would be an overstatement; it feels like finally a true successor is doing to Sleep what Sleep did to Sabbath for a new generation, proceed the weedian.
Written under duress by Steven.