Weedeater: Jason… The Dragon

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Weedeater: Jason… The Dragon
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Weedeater: Jason... The Dragon
Doom Metal, Sludge Metal, Stoner Metal
Southern Lord Records
March 15th, 2011
Release length: 34:21
Myspace
Website
Weedeater basically say what they are in their name. This band combines Doom, Sludge, and Stoner Metal into one smokey creation that are typically all about marijuana, getting high, and other topics such as fantastical themes and more. The group typically has remained in the underground for quite a while. Their first two albums came out on Berserker Records, and with their previous album, the group signed to Southern Lord Records, which feels like the most appropriate home for this “Weed Metal” band, as they call themselves. Jason…The Dragon marks the band’s fourth full-length offering, coming off a bit like a conceptual piece through some of the more traditional fantasy-based ideas that seems somewhat common to the hallucinogen of their choice, at least back in the eighties, which, given the band’s musical approach to the subject matter, seems to fit right in without a problem.

The music on Jason…The Dragon is simply heavy as hell. Most of the riffs are simple and come off more as traditional Stoner or Sludge Metal, moreso the first then the latter. “The Great Unfurling” gives way to the concept of the release, being a harshly spoken word introduction that sets the tone before “Hammerhandle” kicks in with it’s crushing, bass driven music. The song is rather simple, coming off more like early Stoner Rock inspired material with a Metal twist to it. The bass driven vibe of the recording is present throughout the entire release, being very loud and dominant against the deep and heavily distorted guitars. However, “Hammerhandle” moves at an insanely slow pace, and with the simpler music going on, the only real interesting bit about the track comes from that heaviness that simply feels crushing. The track itself is just flat out boring with an unenthused vocal performance that sounds like a monotone Gollum from Lord of the Rings on tranquilizers through.

While this effort is heavy and has a crushing atmosphere to that heavy music, the album has a few simply boring tracks, including the aforementioned “Hammerhandle”, as well as “Palms of Opium”. Other then those two, however, much of the material on Jason…The Dragon doesn’t make you feel like you need to be high to properly enjoy it, and actually turns out quite well. “Mancoon”, for instance, isn’t necessarily upbeat or any less crushing, but it’s a faster pace with a more Sludge-like groove to it, having a little more energy behind it. The title track, “Jason…The Dragon”, is another track that sounds great due to the crushing music actually feeling like the band put time into it, as well as has a stronger vocal performance that feels like more then just a monotone performance from someone on tranquilizers. In fact, there are times where you can pick out some Angus Young from AC/DC in it as far as similarities will go. But, of all the material, “Long Gone” makes for a very interesting track that has a chugging sound to it throughout that is well done and, while very heavy, has a rather soothing atmosphere to it, which goes into “March of the Bipolar Bear”, a roughly one minute drum solo that genuinely does feel like you should march to it. While the solo itself isn’t the most impressive, it’s rare to ever hear a good drum solo on an album, with the last one of the top of my head being the solo at the start of “Devilution” by High on Fire, so this is a much welcome addition to this release no matter what, and paves the way for a great closing track in “Homecoming” and an interesting banjo-based atmospheric piece with “Whiskey Creek”.

Up to this point, each track typically bled into the next one just enough that the next track had it’s own unique sound, but felt fluid in the transition. “Palms of Opium”, however, does not do this and really is the most obscure of tracks due to the plucking guitar that sounds like a bass guitar banjo with vocals run through a voice box, all which gives off an out of tune droning Southern sound to the track. The problem is that the song, for as distorted as it is, is just another boring track, and the repetitive click throughout the song is just insanely irritating to the point where it’ll make you want to run out and just randomly start punching babies if you don’t wind up falling asleep during the performance. In a sense it does seem to work with the song though, as the whole song feels more like the band trying to emulate the sound of a melted record being played, so those clicks could easily be considered the sound of the needle of the record player skipping due to it’s melted body. Either way though, it’s still infuriating.

Jason…The Dragon definitely comes off as one of those release that would be far more enjoyable if you were to be high while listening to it. The release does have a few boring songs, and aside the two mentioned above, not all the songs on here are jaw-droppingly fantastic. There’s a number of catchy songs, and those that just have some good energy behind them and feel like the band really wanted to record them instead of just coming off monotone and stereotypical. Pretty much each track bleeds into the next, ushering in a fantastic amount of fluid progression to the album, and the drum solo, as well as banjo solo that closes the album out, are both well done, and rather unique. Weedeater hasn’t necessarily created one of the most awe-inspiring albums, but for what it is, and the lyrical content it covers, it’s still an enjoyable release with some interesting songs and ideas incorporated into it to capture the lyrical content, as well as the general Southern vibe the band brings with them. It’s a crushing album that’s worth sampling, but only if you are a fan of this type of niche musical style.

01. The Great Unfurling – 1:06
02. Hammerhandle – 3:01
03. Mancoon – 2:12
04. Turkey Warlock – 3:03
05. Jason…The Dragon – 5:59
06. Palms and Opium – 3:47
07. Long Gone – 3:56
08. March of the Bipolar Bear – 0:59
09. Homecoming – 4:34
10. Whiskey Creek – 5:44
Overall Score: 6.5/10
Weedeater (Band)
Digital review copy of this release provided by Southern Lord Records.