Connecticut duo Turkey Vulture know their way around a glorious noise. On their 2020 EP ‘Time To Pay’, they set out their stall with a collection of riffs that combined the drive of punk with the bottom end of stoner metal, topped with layers of extra fuzz for good measure. A particular highlight, ‘Lost At Sea’ sounded like Motorhead cranking their way through Black Sabbath’s ‘Children of The Grave’ augmented by a sea shanty melody and wonderfully scratchy vocal. It’s fair to say that those who got them, loved them.
The name Spiritu was never stoner rock’s most famous, but the New Mexico band left behind a brief legacy which included a Jack Endino produced album and live experiences shared with Clutch and the mighty Spiritual Beggars. For those who missed the band at the time, it would be fair to suggest that their Kyuss derived sound would be broadly appealing to most fans of that style. Six years on from Spiritu’s second and final recording, ‘Human Failures’, half of the band have emerged from hibernation, making up the core of Blue Heron. Despite being a new name on the stoner scene for 2021, the sounds they make are of a timeless appeal, and ahead of an already completed debut album, this two song 7” gives a fantastic taste of a band about to gain some huge traction with the desert rock diehards.
During the first half of their career, Corrosion of Conformity went through a lot of changes to find their sound. Their early thrash metal releases create a confident noise, but didn’t always utilise the best of COC’s combined talents. 1991’s ‘Blind’ blended thrash with a more melodic stoner feel and brought them to a wider audience due to some great reviews, but was still a hit and miss slab of metal. It wasn’t until the release of 1994’s ‘Deliverance’ that the band unleashed something genuinely classic. Part of the greatness came from a shift into even more melodic territory – the COC sound was now dominated by huge stoner vibes and a very retro groove – but just as important was guitarist Pepper Keenan’s decision to take on the lead vocalist’s role. The fourth person to step behind the COC mic, Keenan’s melodic drawl was perfect for the new sound and on tracks like ‘Clean My Wounds’, when dropping Thin Lizzy-esque riffs into a very desert rock scenario, they finally sounded natural in a way they never had before. The follow up album, 1996’s ‘Wiseblood’, gained even more commercial attention due to an appearance of James Hetfield, but 2000’s ‘America’s Volume Dealer’ absolutely knocked that out of the park performance-wise, even if sales were not quite as impressive. With the new millennium, COC finally gave into their natural instincts and became one of the greatest stoner metal bands on the face of the planet.
They may not be the biggest name on the rock scene, but Scattered Hamlet have been making some very chunky (and very retro) sounds for a decade. The US band mix classic hard rock, swampy attitude and big hooks to create something that sounds occasionally like a blend of the lighter end of Zakk Wylde meeting with the more melodic strains of Corrosion of Conformity or, perhaps, a throwback to the days of Roadsaw colliding with a classic rock sound.
The stoner/psychedelic band Kesem have only recently released their album ‘Post-Tera’, but they’re not resting on their laurels. At a time when any live promotional work is still a little hit and miss due to Covid-19 restrictions, they’re promoting the album with a new video clip.