|Gozu - 'Locust Season' (Small Stone Records)|
|Written by Gaz E|
|Friday, 13 August 2010 05:00|
Certain promo packages from certain labels/companies elicit very different responses when they crash into the Über Röck mailbox. Some get my Chuck Taylored feet edging towards the pedal bin, others get my fingers assuming the horned position as soon as I see the return address on the envelope. One of the latter would include the produce of US label Small Stone Records.
Their parcels assure me of two things - that the enclosed material will be from bands best described as rough rock diamonds, and that those bands will (generally) be as heavy as fuck and previously unknown to the masses....and that's where we come in. It is the duty of sites like ours to push albums like 'III' by Sasquatch because, well, they simply deserve to be heard. And the same goes for 'Locust Season', the debut album from recent Small Stone signings Gozu as, like the aforementioned Sasquatch long player, it is one of the finest albums that I have heard this year.
Only in the second year of their existence, Gozu, featuring members of Wargasm and Triphammer, released a seven track EP before being snapped up by Small Stone. 'Locust Season' is the first taste of material from this most heavy of marriages and, while it follows the template that a fair few of the label's bands are guided by, it noses its way to the front as a result of nothing but sheer quality.
One of the qualities is the apparent ability to fuse bone-splintering heaviness to sunbursts of melody, whether they be of the vocal variety or infectious six string work as witnessed on storming opener 'Meth Cowboy'. Vocalist Marc Gaffney possesses a golden set of pipes that will ensure that comparisons to Chris Cornell will be great (feel free to rearrange the words of that sentence so that the point they make is that Cornell was once great - younger readers won't believe us) but, though this type of voice is a standard of this fuzzy, heavy, stoned and sludgy genre, Gaff's throat is as much of a golden ticket as it is a product of its musical whereabouts.
Mightily produced by a gentleman who goes by the name of Benny Grotto, this earth-shaker of a debut album crushes your skull with its mammoth riffmongery, kicks the heart out of your chest with its drum sound and threatens to loosen your bowel with bass that rumbles like an earthquake in a country that rolling news channels have never mentioned before but now tell you is important.
I've seen early Queens Of The Stone Age comparisons thrown at the band and, while you'd be foolish to not allow at least some of them to stick, there is a whole lot more to this band. A hefty Monster Magnet influence, for example: check out the monolithic 'Rise Up' if you want to stroll down that avenue.
Any band who name a song after Jan-Michael Vincent of Airwolf fame deserve swarms of credit, right? That the song is immensely memorable and a retro collusion of barbed hooks, big riffs and moments of surprising subtlety is as big a bonus as you're gonna get. Kitsch of song title, killer of sound, this song, like the other eight housed on this soon to be legendary shiny disc, is an aural stun-gun.
The rock 'n' roll world has to produce something really special in the remaining months of this year to crowbar this album off my stereo, and I can't see it happening. Not that, realistically, I want it to as 'Locust Season' delivers like a mailman on steroids. Highly recommended.