‘Message For The Damned’
Released: December 2014
UK band Gévaudan were formed in 2013 and this three-track EP is their first release. A very impressive debut it is too, with some fanciful and melodic embellishments upon the heavyweight stoner theme.
Influenced by Goatsnake and Electric Wizard, they unleash substantial stoner riffs with an electrifying modern edge. With rich, warm, thundering tones, they lovingly embrace the finest aspects of traditional doom, but update and invigorate them with their own personality.
This is not mere bong-eyed stoner drifting, there is a depth and vitality to the playing. The combination of vintage and vitriol makes for a great listen: fun, disarming, entertaining and splendiferously heavy. There are subtle hints of Nemesis/early Candlemass, but Gévaudan never really touch upon the epic side, preferring to pulverise rather than wail.
Adam Pirmohead’s clean vocals are pure and arresting, and he mixes it up with some incongruous and unnecessary growling, presumably in a bid to keep things interesting. However, the level of violence that such vocal diversions provides is a little at odds with the band’s animated take on the stoner genre and their stomping, Kyuss-like vibe.
Similarly, perhaps while pushing too hard to squeeze numerous elements into their compositions, the raging, spoken-word passage on the Mage-like title track is over-egged and the song loses its focus. It is admirable that these Brits are keen to instinctively follow their creative flights of fancy, but not all of them work perfectly.
Gévaudan are a band willing and able to explore new nooks and crannies in the crowded stoner doom scene. Should they avoid the omnipresent spectre of Sabbath replication, to which they occasionally succumb, and cut out the unnecessary bits, this young band could create something special.