God Luck and Good Speed

Southern Lord

I remember seeing cult doom punks Buzzov*en — back in ’94 or ’95 I think it was — their set was a glorious mess of feedback and dirt, culminating in, I believe, the bassist smashing a bottle into his guitar and bleeding everywhere. I thought it was the best show I saw all year. Why do I bring this up…

…because drone-smokers Weedeater, with leviathan new release God Luck and Good Speed, are led by that selfsame bass player/screamer “Dixie” Dave Collines. More than ably abetted by Keith “Keko” Kirkham on drums and Dave “Shep” Shepherd playing guitar, they are a power trio in the most qualitative sense of the word, Weedeater have been knocking around for several years now, bleeding and puking all over dirty stages and backrooms — that’s the way they fucking like it — but you get the feeling that God Luck and Good Speed is truly their moment.

The bottom end is so fucking low on this record, if you fell in, you’d break your fucking back. Void huge. Sabbath huge. I can’t fucking believe it, I’m reduced to comatose incomprehension within the first few notes of opener “God Luck…;” it’s gotta be the best approximation of their brutal live set to date and I’m betting that’s down to the engineering duties of a certain Mr. Steve Albini. It’s a marriage made in heaven; he approaches their songs like architecture, huge cables, sheer walls, crackling electricity, wide open spaces, deep endless pits and abysses. A blackened ambiance.

“Wizard Fight” is a bluesy, blood-simple rave-up instrumental (undead Yardbirds!) that puts most stoner rock in embarrassing perspective. It’s like babies and full-grown men, damn. Sprawling centerpiece “Evan’s Sake” has a mastodon-heavy plodding central riff that gives way to a goddamn impressive bloody-fingered blues solo, itself slowly sinking into a depressive coda, each moment seeming to fall apart, give up, but it ain’t gonna happen. “Long… time… Gone” hisses Dixie, words dripping with a toxic mix of malevolence and weariness. “Alone” starts out with banjo as ancient as one of Alan Lomax’s field recordings of deep mountain music, with Dixie mumbling the most dead-broke blues you’re ever gonna hear on a metal record. “Dirt Merchant” is sinister…. “I’m not quite right/ Fucked in the head/ Still late at night/ I’m in your bed,” over a pounding, stomping mess of noise. “Gimme Back My Bullets” is spawned from the same hellraising lineage as David Allen Coe, just encased in a coffin of solid whiskey — still doubt the blues? Nope, fucker. Closer “Weedmonkey” is an intoxicating mess, that crawls, threatens, drools all mad-eyed and hoarse, before exploding into motorik-doom fury. Bye bye ears, what’d you ever do for me anyway?

Weedeater is in a whole other category than most doom: a lot more punk, more subconsciously mired in Southern music traditions (blues, country), which gives the music an even more desperate and wild-eyed edge — if I had to pick a few peers offhand, I’d say Saint Vitus, early Cathedral, Beaten Back to Pure, Melvins, fucking Antiseen and Sleep. The sound is massive and mournful, frustrated, clenched fists and grinding teeth, barely restrained violence, simmering and boiling, before erupting into bottomed-out fuzz explosions.

Southern Lord: www.southernlord.com

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