Saturday, September 14, 2013

Album Review- Druganaut -'Druganaut'

Location: Newcastle, UK

From the thunderous sludge of low-end pioneers Iron Monkey to the cosmic freak outs of Welsh legends Acrimony, the Brits have always somewhat of an edge on their European and American peers in terms of producing proper gritty, gnarly stoner/doom bands.You wouldn't expect much less from the isle that birthed Sabbath  ,but even then, the UK underground scene is an embarrassment of riches at times.From the bleak complexity  of HARK, to the off the wall rumblings of bands like Valfader and Wolfshead, it seems there's definitely  been something quite strong and possibly illegal  being funneled into the water/Carling over the last couple of years.Now another bunch of down tuned miscreants have arrived to pound your eardrums, drink all your good beer and probably fuck your girlfriend as soon as you've fallen asleep.Ladies and gentlemen, introducing Geordie monsters Druganaut, and their monolithic debut self  titled album.

From the opening chords of 'Smoke The Dead', its very clear we're not fucking around here:Druganaut are the real deal.No cute attempts at 'the vintage sound'.No silly fantasy lyrics(apart from the pervy, sexual kind, but more on that later) and absolutely no attempt to placate the Metal Hammer set with watered down pop choruses.This is heavy as balls, hard hitting stoner metal in the vein of Crowbar or early Down, a wicked riposte to a decade of Toni And Guy groomed posers with Washburn guitars and Top Shop Metallica Ts. Druganaut's ace in the hole is front man Craig Relf, a man who sounds like he gargles broken glass and whiskey first thing in the morning as a warm up.If Relf were to recite One Direction lyrics as poetry, it would still sound scary as fuck, and its his throaty contributions that stand out ,investing every note with soulful invective and earthy conviction.Lyrically, Relf imbues songs with a vein of black humour and sinister storytelling nous,coming across as both darkly colloquial and menacing as hell.

That's not to marginalize the rest of the band of course, and credit goes to guitarists Kyle Partridge and Adam Sheriff for some of the grooviest, catchiest riffs we've heard from a band of this ilk in quite some time.Witness the elephantine boogie of 'Carradine's Closet', a poor-taste but high gain  tribute to the late B-Movie legend, or the sinister intro to 'Sober Again' , and be reminded just why you fell in love with this kind of music in the first place.Granted, not every track is a classic('Sex Face' is just a little overcooked and doesn't really fit with the rest of the tracks in my honest opinion) but for the most part  'Druganaut'  is a great collection of songs, a steroidal rhythm section and strong production holding the whole thing together.

If,like me,you find latter day Down and COC utterly disappointing, and miss bands like Raging Speedhorn in your life, you could do far worse than giving 'Druganaut' a listen.Weighty, weedy grooves and planet sized riffing,it's time to shake your bones . . .


For fans of: Crowbar, Down, Raging Speedhorn, Two Tales Of Woe


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