December 16, 2013

Sandrider - Godhead

Written by Justin C.

Sandrider plays a brand of heavy rock that sits somewhere in the realm of stoner and sludge metal, but put more simply, they make me want to drive really fast and hit people over the head with beer bottles. They also hold a special place in my heart, as their self-titled debut was one of the first things I bought upon stumbling across this site.

Photo by Invisible Hour

The trio is back with their follow-up, Godhead. They still make a huge racket, and everything I loved about the debut is here: the dirty, jangly guitar riffs, stomping drums, and sinuous bass. Guitarist/vocalist Jon Weisnewski still sings with a raspy holler that's as melodic as it is rough, and he still kicks out riffs and solos that are some of the most satisfying guitar playing around. But like any band worth paying attention to, they've grown and expanded since their first album. "Gorgon" was the only track I heard before I got the full album, and although it's an excellent tune, I did fear that they'd fallen into the trap of "second verse, same as the first." I didn't need to worry. Godhead starts out with a slow bruiser in "Ruiner," and it also shows off a psychedelic touch that they let out more on this album. The title track starts out with a quiet, chiming guitar and bass and drums locked into a bluesy beat, but that's before the main guitar riff lands like a hammer with some of Weisnewski's growliest vocals. These are quickly offset by some nice harmonized vocals, provided by bassist Jesse Roberts. Then we're back to that bass and drum backbone, now with Weisnewski's soulful soloing over top. It's a 7-minute long mini-epic.

Photo by Invisible Hour

But if you're still looking for some straight-up ass-kicking, have no fear. "Champions" is a real barn-burner, with Nat Damm knocking his drum kit all over the room, and "Scalpel" is a two-and-a-half minute blast with a riff that late 80s-early 90s Soundgarden or The Cult would have been more than proud of. It also features the line, "THIS IS MY FAVORITE PENCIL!" I have no idea how that fits in to the narrative arc, but it's nice to hear a metal band have a little fun now and then.

As a long-time fan, I'm naturally biased, but this one's going on my best-of-2013 list for sure. Fantastic from start to finish.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

1 comment:
  1. My favorite pencil was abducted long ago, and I've never been able to find a replacement. It's kind of hard to talk about. But thanks for rubbing my tragedy in my face.