Stoner metal. What bullshit. Why not just get stoned and listen to good metal? Burzum, Incantation, or even Bach is still incredible music when stoned out of my gourd. Other than giving me the amazing ability to eat an entire large Hawaiian pizza, marijuana intake never fundamentally changed my taste or personality. This fact makes stoner metal, and stoner ‘culture’ prima facie stupid. By that line of reasoning, my having listened to Wolftooth’s newly released album “Wolftooth” stupid. Yes, dear reader, I do stupid things so you do not have to. Stoner culture is not for people who smoke the reefer, it is for stupid people who smoke the reefer.
What is immediately obvious is that Wolftooth loves the 70’s. I would stake a large wager that at least one of the band members owns a rusting 1974 Pontiac Firebird. And judging from their picture with 2 band members wearing foam trucker hats and another wearing a Castro hat, the one who owns the Firebird probably listens to 8-tracks for the sake of both irony and ‘authenticity.’ The first few songs are slow, simplified Sabbath and NWOBHM affairs that, due to the plodding tempos, don’t even rock. Songs alternate between unmemorable pentatonic riffs, unmemorable bluesy/pentatonic solos that sound like every solo you’ve ever heard by every bar band in existence, and refrains with ringing power chords where the singer does a passable Phil Collins impression. During more intense (and I use the word lightly) portions, the singer sounds like Ozzy would have sounded on “Sabotage” had he been too cowardly to heavily abuse hard drugs. To the advantage of the music, the band picks up the pace on the middle and end of the album. “My Father’s Sword” sounds like a particularly bad reject from from “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.” “Frost Lord” at least has a kind of cool riff, but it is one that a trillion different metal bands have done a trillion different times: triplets on the low E, holy shit broseph. I found myself nodding my head now and again to parts of songs, but all too often the band fucks this up by inserting some pointless interlude of ringing power chords. Or a pallid NWOBHM riff lazily harmonized by fifths or maybe some major thirds… I mean, you’re stoned so why bother with any sort of difficult and interesting harmonization? In the promotional material, the songs are described as epic journeys… sometimes in the evenings I putter aimlessly from room to room in my house with a beer in hand looking at my assorted material possessions and this is exactly the same kind of epic journeys that are described by this music. Really, nothing at all memorable, and I am only able to write a review and cite actual song names because I sort of kept notes while listening. The album isn’t grossly offensive to any music sensibilities, so it has that much going for it.
The main problem is this is advertised as metal. While there is certainly some influence from metal sources, this album sounds a lot closer to Grand Funk Railroad than to Black Sabbath. Instead of singing about snorting vast mountains of coke and plowing androgynous chicks, they sing about swords and witches and such. The most superficial, and often the worst, aspects of metal: the lyrics, are what is taken by this band to be the true meaning of metal. The music is just rock.