‘Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult’
Proud owners of one of the stoneriest band names in the history of stoner doom, Poland’s Dopelord have returned with a five-track album that’s fuzzier than a mammoth’s underpants. From the start, the barrage of riffs comes at you thick and fast (or thick and slow) with heavyweight guitars and earthshaking bass complemented by hypnotising, crash-happy drumming.
The action-packed opening track ‘Addicted To Black Magick’ sets the tone with a killer mid-tempo riff and enjoyably laid-back vocals. And while it may be somewhat predictable lyrically, it’s also fair to say that stoner metal rarely sets out to establish any kind of groundbreaking or newsworthy agenda, so who cares, let’s just enjoy the ride.
For all of the band’s fascination with occultism, horror movies and weed, it is the slower, doomier parts that work best here. In particular, ‘Preacher Electrick’ is a sprawling doom anthem that ebbs and flows like a mighty tide, and even features an almost-gothic piano outro. This is perhaps the standout track on the album, and elsewhere Dopelord prefer to stick to the well-trodden stoner path.
‘Acid Trippin’, for example, is the kind of grandiose Sabbathy sonic adventure that you might expect from such a song title. Similarly, ‘Pass The Bong’ is an 11-minute Polish plod – a dense wall of riffage with pleasingly melodic vocal parts and, briefly, some highly infectious grooves. Let your body lie still in this sun-blessed herb garden, while your soul dances in demonic ecstasy. On the track ‘Green Plague’, Dopelord deserve credit for trying something out of the ordinary, and this slightly faster effort turns into an odd mix of Fu Manchu and Triptykon. It is perhaps a little overly simplistic and disjointed, with some passages working much better than others.
Dopelord have clearly matured since their well-received 2012 album ‘Magick Rites’ and are mastering their own black arts, but, as this album’s three-part title suggests, it seems that they are yet to figure out exactly what kind of a band they want to be. Amid these conflicting influences, Dopelord are one moment dark and doomy, and the next they lean heavily on the swooshy pedals and weed theme. Sometimes the two go hand-in-hand, sometimes not.
Throughout it all, the production is very good, meaning that Dopelord’s Electric Wizard / Sleep-influenced heaviness is given the platform it deserves. ‘Black Arts…’ is a really enjoyable album that showcases an exciting and ambitious young Polish band who know how to crush skulls with their immense stoner riffs, and also explore the darker, nastier corners of existence.
Available (for $6.66) here – http://dopelord.bandcamp.com/