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High Volume: The Stoner Rock Collection

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Genre: Rock / Artist: Various / Label: High Volume / Released: 11.10.2010

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      25.11.2011 17:38
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      A varied compilation with some lesser known bands

      This is a compilation of stoner rock by the High Volume label that I came across recently. I think the album cover is pretty tacky and definitely doesn't do the content justice. It's a great introduction to a wonderful genre that crosses metal and blues to come up with a downright swampy sound. The thing I like about this compilation is that it doesn't linger on the more well-known artists or focus on the Palm Desert Scene.

      The album starts off strongly with the dark "Too stoned" from Denmark's "Gas Giant" not to be confused with the crap American pop band of a similar name. There's a good solid sludgey sound to the album, the lyrics are pretty good, it's actually one of the more commercial sounding tracks on the album although the watery sound at the beginning is a little odd.

      Next up is "Falconstone" by "The Hidden Hand", the song typifies the genre with a muddy sound and vocals that sound like Lemmy singing whilst smoking his last cigarette.

      This track is followed by the incredibly progressive and somewhat more mellow (at least at the beginning) track "Cities of the Dead" by the band Suplecs, whose every song sounds like the ultimate jam. It might be instrumental but who needs words when you can let the guitar do the talking.

      "Cities of the Dead" is well contrasted with "To Cross the Bridge" by High on Fire which is considerably heavier than anything on the compilation before it, manic cymbal slapping and an almost sinister Egyptian sound to the somewhat repetitive track, until the wicked guitar solos at the end.

      "So Bad" by "Bad Wizard" seems a little out of place on the album, the boys from Athens, Georgia have less of a stoner rock sound and more of a traditional high tempo rock sound, in fact they sound rather similar to "Air"

      Musically - "Willie Nelson" by Clutch is pretty good, it's also rather catchy lyrically but I'm not that keen on the vocals. The song seems to be an ode to Willie's drug use. "Rideout" by "The Mystic Krewe of Clearlight" is strangely jazzy at times, sounds like Deep Purple with a little less oomph, it's really rather different to all the other tracks on the album by some distance.

      "No Law" by Orange Goblin is a dark Sabbathesque sounding track, nice guitar riffs before turning into a sort of hardcore track.

      There's a handful of other tracks but nothing that particularly jumps out though, the best of the rest is probably the song by Nebula - "The Void", definitely an album worth checking out - particularly if you are not familiar with the underground music of America in the 90s.

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