CRUNCH N’ DRIFT: METALLIC STONER, IN ITS OWN TIME
Back when Pantera rode their Vulgar post-Cowboys breakthrough, a sort-of sub genre called groove metal emerged for a bit and Anselmo’s crew were very much its big-name associate, yet for all the rigid rubberised riffage of tracks like Mouth for War or Walk, not much about Pantera’s aggro attack spelt GROOVE, and definitely not by the time The Great Southern Trendkill unleashed its peak hostility sandblasting in our faces.
What’s this got to do with upcoming Oxford quartet Indica Blues?
Groove, metal – but not THAT kind of groove, not Pantera’s thrashing battery. Formed from the essence of Sabbath’s Snowblind riff 17 seconds in, Indica Blues trundle out a fat line in downtuned metallicised stoner in a sludgy meter, and that’s pretty much it. No deviation, no stylistic leaps and barely a tempo shift in half an hour, their debut Ruins on the Shore EP revels in nothing more than the awesome power of unhurried riffs unfolding into more unhurried riffs.
Yep. It’s that simple.
Arms to the Sky’s opening semi-solo and ground-level chug shows off the metallic end of Indica Blues – thick yet clean with fuzzy crunch, velvet sharp, measured, anon vocals knocked way back so it all feels instrumental. Feed the Pyre follows that impassive mass with a bit more swing and a decisive end, and if Wasted Landscapes is a mite doom-contrived with its devil’s vibrato intro then the emergent spacey jams more than redeem, coming off like one of those post-Kyuss bands (Dozer, Beaver, hunnerds more) who copped an astral twinkle whenever they dropped the tempo and cut the bounce. This is the stoner end of Indica Blues, and it’s this stuff that makes the EP work – this shit could really fly if they let it.
Last track Ruins on the Shore pulls it all together into a near 11-minute meander that dissolves into a floating loose-groove drift (nice bass) for the last third or so. Dead Meadow on a Down trip? EP highlight right there, as is track #1. Indica Blues might not do avant, opting instead for mid-length runs down a familiar route BUT…it’s a route marked Slow Heavy Load, so what’s not to explore? Get your solid rock fix at Indica Blues bandcamp.
SEE ALSO Earthmass and Morass of Molasses for similarly Wheatsheaf-friendly heavy rock action, and Caravan of Whores for a direct link to Indica Blues – CoW are Indica guitarist John Slaymaker’s previous band.