Stonehelm - Stonehelm

California's masters of weed metal are about to unleash on your unsuspecting ears their debut full length album. Load up your bongs, grab a beer and hold on tight because this is a hell of ride. Before you rip your speakers apart with the fuzz driven onslaught, mesmerize your self with the stunning artwork. Adorned with marijuana buds and beautifully presented in purple and gold, the artwork of The Perverted Old Goatess is breathtaking much like the sonic fury that lays within the grooves of this self-titled album from Stonehelm. The packaging comes complete with a booklet containing the lyrics and the centerpiece artwork is especially fitting, a goat head, marijuana leaf, skulls and those immortal words "So High We Hail". Recorded, Mixed, and Mastered at Blue Dragon Productions in Somis, California By Mark Hashimoto and Stonehelm themselves, its a exercise in Ultra Heavy Cosmic Metal Stoner Doom that will make Jus Oborn put down his pipe and take notice. The album contains five songs from their previous "So High We Hail" EP that have been giving a sonic makeover and re-recorded for this album and three new tracks. The album begins with "Hyborian Tale" that sounds heavier here than ever did on the EP. The movie sample intro commands you "crush your enemies" and this track does just that. The riff is drowning in distorted fuzz with a rhythm section that has a ferocious attack just as heavy as the guitar sound itself. It has a mid-tempo swampy groove with a swaggering attitude and with lyrics like "While Stopping To Smoke The Earth's Sweet Leaf, The Hessian Warrior Is Ambushed By Thief's", you know you are on a Stoner Doom bong hoping journey. What first grabs you is the production which is great and then the actual sound of the band which is a wall of sound. No gaps or spaces within the instrumentation here, this is pure solid riffage designed to crush scene kids. "Tower of Black" starts off with a slow building melody that sounds almost re-strained by Stonehelm's standards. They don't hold back for long though, when the monster riff makes its presence known you are greeted with another wall of smoke-laden fuzzed out Doom riffage. There is a cool guitar solo that takes the song to another level of toxic awareness and the repetitive riffing approach is used with the intent to beat you into submission. This is a great track that always seems short to me but maybe that is because it is so great, i really cant get enough of this stuff. "Deep Space Doom" is the next tune to puff on, it kicks off with a almost funky bass line and a spoken word sample that gives it a Psychedelic cosmic vibe. The riffage onslaught comes in and its another churning dose of Stoner Doom. The vocals on the album by John have a spacey feel to them, like he is some commander in space shouting orders like "Take Your Final Hits Of Weed and Now Watch The Sun Fade To Green". "Zombie Apocalypse 420" begins with another sci-fi/horror movie soundbite before catapulting itself into one of the best riffs on the album. While the band has the obvious Electric Wizard influences, they take it up a notch in tempo rather than crawl along at a snail pace, they keep up a momentum in their songs while still remaining total Doom. The tune ends with a water bong being consumed. "Scumbag" tells you to take drugs and hate everyone and there is a lot of aggression delivered along with the fuzz on this track. "Scumbag" has a pulsating groove that has been done before but this has to be one of the best examples of it in action. The feature of the track is the squealing, gyrating solo which is simply a whirlwind of sonic excess. "Acid Blur (Green Tab)" is a instrumental epic verging on 11 minutes, here you can hear the band jam their way through some remarkable riffing sections and catchy headbanging melodies. Its almost impossible to get the main riff out of your head after hearing it. About halfway into the track, they slow down to a crawling sludge groove with a wailing guitar solo by Wes Caley after which the track returns to that incredible riff once again to finish up what is a killer track. "Vault Dweller (13)" is up next with a sick sounding bass/drum intro that slowly builds into another apocalyptic wall of riffing backed up with the outer worldly vocals. Again it stampedes like a herd of elephant and there is more shredding solo guitar work. To round out the album you get what is the Stonehelm theme song or anthem "So High We Hail (Lord in Green)" where they spread the message to "Hate The Cops And Smoke More Weed" and if there ever was a Doom / Sludge album to do bong hits to, its this one. Once again Stonehelm unleash another colossal riff and more shredding solo's. In conclusion, this is maybe  the finest album of its kind since Electric Wizard dropped Dopethrone on the world. If you are the kind of Doom, Sludge Metal fan that likes it heavy, fuzzy and clouded in weed smoke, then i doubt if you will hear anything better than this in 2010. This is the real deal right here, due out very soon for your consumption.

1. Hyperion Tale
2. Tower Of Black
3. Deep Space Doom
4. Zombie Apocalypse 420
5. Scumbag
6. Acid Blur (Green Tab)
7. Vault Dweller 13
8. So High We Hail (Lord In Green)

Black Eye Media
Reviewer: Ed
Mar 3, 2010

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