Hesher Harmonies: Dopelord – Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult

Let’s slow things right down, dust off the denim vests and rip some massive bong hits in preperation for the newest Dopelord album, “Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult” (wee bit wordy eh?). Extensive album titles aside, this is the follow up to their 2012 release, “Magick Rites”, and stays right in the same vein of slow-noddin’, monolithic sludge that Satan likes to unwind to.

The first thing to hit is is the FUZZ. Lots and lots and lots of fuzzzzzzzzzzz. Their riffs are drenched in all the glorious fuzz, clogging up your brain like the smoke in your lungs that first time you hot-boxed your friends car in a 7-11 parking lot. This is important, as the fuzz is equally responsible for luring you into a half-awake trance as the riffs are. It massages your brain, filling all of the nooks and crannies of your conscious with reverberating white noise.

One key to really enjoying any sludge album is volume. Maximum fucking volume and a heavy addition of bass make the experience all that more enjoyable, as Dopelord lay down their weighty grooves and the reverb through the wall drives your roommate insane. Their grooves pack the force of a herd of rhinos, marching forward with malevolent purpose, wreathed in smoke and dark skies.

Riff-wise, Dopelord pack plenty of new and interesting tidbits across the 5 tracks on this album. Brief flirtations with post-sludge, in the vein of Earth, along with shrieking guitar solos and a couple hard-chargin’ sections give you plenty of amusement in each track. It can be hard to find the balance between drawn out jams and groove variety, as too much of the former can get boring and too much of the latter drags you out of sludge territory,  but Dopelord manage to strike this balance perfectly. There are an equal amount of sections to trance out as there are ones to raise your beer and headbang furiously.

“Green Plague” might be my favorite of the bunch. It opens up all burl and spitting fire, ripping along at brisk pace only to get slapped down into your subconscious about halfway through.  It then proceeds to meander along and a zombified pace, as you stare blankly at the wall and nod along like the hapless corpse you are. The stupor gets broken as the track closes out with the same hard charging riff that started things off and wraps the whole track together in a nice cyclical fashion.

The closer and longest track, “Pass the Bong”, has one of the tastiest riffs I’ve heard in a long while, coupled with this cool little drum fill and plenty of heady grooves to boot. Its 11:30 run time stretches out into the epic range but it packs enough musical diversity and rock-solid jams that you won’t even notice.

All in all this is a great sounding record. The vocals are clean but quite palatable, sticking to a gruff bellow that serves to make the songs seem slightly more occulty than downright evil. The riffs are crushing, the fuzz is thick and the herb is plentiful.

$6.66 on Bandcamp.

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