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Puff the mournful dragon, ran out of weed. - 94%

hells_unicorn, March 16th, 2010

Puff is a very mournful and most unhappy dragon, though the reason for this is not immediately clear. Some guess that it may be that the poor old lizard hasn’t had a good burn in a day or so, being as his supplier recently got busted for possession while being publicly dressed like a wizard. Being the paranoid serpent that he is, Puff has decided not to risk meeting with other dealers for fear of getting something else mixed in or potentially getting arrested himself. So here the poor fire-breathing dinosaur sits in his old, broken down recliner in his family’s basement, with all the Doritos corn chips and other assorted munchies that a stoner could want, but not the heart to consume a single morsel.

As if his predicament were not woeful enough, our scaly post-60s friend has decided to try and get himself into a non-cannabis induced reverie by breaking out his father’s brand new vinyl pressed copy of Saint Vitus’ “Mournful Cries”, unknowing that this album contained nothing but the most woefully fatalistic of anthems, devoid of any hope. Nevertheless, the depressed Puff found himself in a bizarre mood of angst and paranoia, perfectly befitting of the opening song “The Creeps”. Rather than continuing to wave the white flag of despairing defeat, he grabs a can of paint and dips it in until it is pure black, and then proceeds to wave his Black Flag around the room as one punk inspired power chord gives way to the next from his retro fashioned stereo speakers.

Suddenly, after the closing of a rather brief upper mid-tempo flogging with just a few too many lead breaks and a guitar tone too muddy to count as real hard core, Puff wonders if the record has just skipped as the lyrics suddenly shift from being about clinical delusions of persecution to a dragon destroying cities. Sure enough, somewhere in that final, free time mess of drum improvisation and blurring tremolo power chords, the first song ended and another, much slower one has begun. Puff identifies heavily with this song, as the psychological withdraw he is suffering from his lack of ganja has given way to thoughts of burning down a few buildings. However, despite his latent homicidal tendencies, the slower and more relaxed feel of “Dragon Time”, coupled with the frequent and riveting lead work out of Dave Chandler that invoked happy images of Jimi Hendrix and Tony Iommi kept him too occupied. By the time the near 8 minute epic had drawn to close, the mournful serpent was a calmer but still very troubled beast.

With his mood gradually coming down from its early peak, “Shooting Gallery” chimes in with a hypnotic, descending riff that brings poor Puff down to the beginnings of despair. Overcome by his unfortunate situation, and no longer taken in by the slower yet still impressive lead guitar work going on, he concentrates on the heavy feeling of the grave-like groove established in the rhythm section and Wino’s lyrics about heroine abuse. Wishing that he could improve his situation, the cellar-dwelling reptile begins daydreaming about finding the perfect dealer and the perfect woman in one package. Unwilling to submit to the irony of dreaming about chasing the dragon while both being one and listening to a song about it, he begins dreaming of a human prize. As the song picks up tempo a bit, an image of a young stoner chick appears with a guitar in hand, sitting on a mountain of quality grade reefer. Sure enough, it is the striking Ukrainian born star of stage, screen, and hit stoner flick “Dazed And Confused” Milla Jovovich. Many would wonder how it is that Puff knows about a movie that will not come out for another 5 years, but to a dragon with his tolerance for mind altering drugs; time and space are quite flexible things.

After being filled with an ecstasy that canceled out the reprise of the depression inducing drone riff of “Shooting Gallery”, our scale-covered protagonist finds himself in a peaceful acoustic guitar intro. For a few seconds our cannabis withdrawn lover boy thinks he’s hearing a variation on Milla’s “The Alien Song”, but then a dark, thudding stoner rock groove ensues and Puff is introduced to the “Bitter Truth”, which involves but is not limited to the fact that “Dazed And Confused” won’t be made for another 5 years and that he’d end up in jail if he tried anything short of time travel. Lamenting in agony over this, he tries to ignore the depressing lyrics and waits in anticipation of better musical subjects than a man facing his own death.

Sure enough, a gradual trill riff begins to fade in and Puff is all set to hear something akin to Jimi’s “Foxy Lady”, only to be let down by another slow, Sabbath inspired doom riff and still no Milla Jovovich. Our dragon friend is completely rebuffed by the trollish nature of such a cruel trick, and sure enough, he discovers that the title of the song matches this sentiment. After putting Milla out of his mind for a few minutes, Puff takes notice of a subtle sense of fun and catchiness amidst probably the slowest and most depressing homage to “Hand Of Doom” that he’s ever heard, spearheaded by a soulful vocal performance out of Wino. Once free of his brief infatuation with the future star of “The Fifth Element”, Puff’s ears are hit with a guitar lead comprised of so much fuzz drenched noise that he can’t make out a single note. It gets so violent that it begins to resemble a dragon mating call, and instantaneously our red dragon has got his mind back on Milla again. One thing is for certain; “The Troll” definitely lives up to its name as far as poor old Puff is concerned.

Before falling completely into thoughts of suicide over all that this album has put him through, Puff comes into contact with a final fit of down tempo swampy goodness in “Looking Glass”. As he begins to contemplate the dreary bastardized blues drones that filter in and out between Wino’s deep recitations, he begins to feel everything become hazy. In the next instance, Puff finds himself awake in his bed in the year 1993, and someone is knocking on his door. When he gets up and answers the door, there stands Milla with a giant bag full of weed in one hand and the newly released “Children Of Doom” album in the other. Once Puff is done telling her the wild dream he just had, she goes over and takes “Mournful Cries” off of the turntable. After a strong recommendation not to listen to that album while on both marijuana and LSD simultaneously, Puff and Milla settle down for a nice burn while listening to the new Vitus album; all the while both of them agreeing that “Mournful Cries” is a better album and that it was a good thing she left Shawn Andrews after how horribly things turned out for her on her recent film project.

Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on March 16, 2010.