At the tail end of 2021, a new stoner band appeared over the musical horizon. Blue Heron were incredibly heavy, and yet conveyed broad atmospheres within their world of darkness. It was clear from their two track debut that they weren’t just another sludgy doom and stoner vehicle hacking out weighty riffs.
Somewhere around the peak of the first UK pandemic lockdown, Gramma Vedetta released their second EP. More than just another short collection of rock tracks, the London based outfit’s ‘A.C.I.D. Compliant’ actually acted as a snapshot in time, with the brilliant ‘Lucid Dream’ providing a musical diary of those tumultuous days in a very direct fashion. Backing up that obvious highlight, listeners were also reminded of their psychedelic and stoner influences, leading to a short but very effective listen.
Formed over a love of lo-fi noise and trash aesthetics, New Jersey’s Pyre Fyre began making their own brand of stoner/sludge music in 2019. A pair of digital singles emerged in 2021, with each cementing the band’s commitment to a DIY brand of riffs and distortion. Despite not having the most original sound, there was plenty about the unavoidable influence from ‘Houdini’ era Melvins cutting through the heart of ‘Lobotomy’, especially, that suggested this project came with a great potential.
After spending a couple of years perfecting their riffs and honing a heavy, retro sound, Norwegian stoner rockers White Tundra unveiled their debut EP ‘Graveyard Blues’ in the middle of the 2020 global pandemic. Their weighty Monster Magnet/COC influenced sounds were a perfect compliment to a troubled time, and proved yet again that a tried and tested heavy psych/stoner sound could still impress when delivered with a lot of confidence and a few massive hooks. The title cut, in particular, with its chugging riff, gravelly vocals and rattling bassline – at times sounding as if a direct descendant of ‘Children of The Grave’ – set White Tundra on the road to stoner greatness, but ‘Freedom Fighter’ with its heavy and lurching anger suggested they’d have more to give than your bog standard stoner copyists.
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.