This particular Sleeping Village owes a massive debt to Black Sabbath…& not just because we blatantly lifted our moniker from their plunder-worthy supply of deepcuts. Because Sabbath have left such a veritable canyon in the firmament of heavy music, we dedicate every Sunday to exploring their own discography, or to highlighting a lesser-known band that carries the mantle of Sabbathian legacy. Today it's a case of the latter, as we briefly review Lunar Eclipse, the 2nd EP from @Stonus.band, a stoner doom outfit from Cyprus. Slip on those headphones & dim the lights, dear reader; it’s time for Sabbath Sunday.
Perhaps the ultimate touchstone for stoner doom & space-rock is Planet Caravan. While Stonus runs the gamut from hard rock to blatant psydoom, this EP is a gradual voyage that results in an updated approximation of the universe-traversing aesthetic. Aspirin, the 1st track proper, is a Pagan Altar-eque rocker with muffled vocals, jubilant cymbals, & some wonderfully catchy licks. It’s an enjoyably unpredictable track in & of itself...but then Spiritual Realities kicks into gear, & Stonus deftly maneuvers their way through a tonal shift, demonstrating modern prog leanings à la Tool. Just when you feel like you have some sort of handle on what to expect, the title track leaves firm ground & goes for a bit of a jaunt through the ether. To describe Lunar Eclipse as “chill” feels diminutive, but honestly, this is a supremely laid-back experience--yet still rockin’ enough to facilitate attention to the details.
The intro & outro feel unnecessary & add little to the atmosphere, but as the aforementioned songs are simply outstanding, this is a minor quibble. No bones about it: this EP is a fun & relaxing listen, not least because of the obvious attention paid towards consistent exploration. Stonus may not be innovators & wayfinders per se, but their ability to avoid getting lost in the stereotypical stoner doldrums is incredibly admirable--a trait that sets them far beyond their many colleagues in the genre. Despite sounding familiar, Stonus are genuinely unique.
For this week’s humble sampler, we’re turning the spotlight on a small DIY label from Quebec City, land of my ancestors. Specializing in slow-burning, distortion-heavy riffage, @from_the_urn are curators of the highest order. Without further ado, let’s get fuzzy.
SLOTHER - MMXVII
Want a succinctly accurate descriptor? Slother delineates their sound thusly: “damp riffs.” Certainly makes sense for a sound that was discovered in the depths of the St. Lawrence & thrust into mildew’d, barnacle-infested service. Sopping tone notwithstanding, Slother deals in an obtusely visceral blend of sludge & slasher aesthetics. If that ain’t enough to wet your whistle, the leisurely harsh vocals should seal the deal. This demo is massively promising.
STONED HORSES - Horstrummental
While never having witnessed a stoned horse, draught horses are my speed. I can safely say that this band potentially pulls as much weight as a Percheron or Clydesdale. A vocal-less endeavor, rippling muscular riffage is Stoned Horse’s forte. Nothing groundbreaking on display here, but if you like hardworking, frothy-mouthed tone, you’ve certainly come to the right place. À 2 jours de cheval, in particular, comes highly recommended.
GRAND MORNE - S/T
My father, on Rush’s Snakes & Arrows: “For 3 dudes, they make a lot of noise!” Something quite similar can be said here. Grand Morne is built on a simple foundation. Guitar, bass, drums? One of each. Vocals? Largely unnecessary. Despite these self-inflicted limitations, Grand Morne creates one helluva racket & absolutely slays in the composition game, crafting a sonically diverse palate across the stoner & doom spectrums. For comparison, try Voivod’s progressive tendencies & the crunchy menace of early Cathedral on for size. I love this album, & sincerely hope that Grand Morne’s forthcoming full length projects them as serious contenders in front of a wider audience.
SONS OF GEEZORA - S/T
Fear not, Kaiju lovers. The Village’s plague doctor will be seeing this bad boy shortly.
From the Urn Records can be found: