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There I sit at the Gateway... - 99%

Likeyoucare, August 17th, 2010

When one says "Bongzilla", the first thing that comes to mind(if you're a doom/stoner fan) is "Amerijuanican". But, just a few years before, the band released "Gateway", in my opinion, the best they have done, and the best stoner/sludge album. The album is encompassed in THC-infused riffs, growled vocals, more references to marijuana than an issue of High Times magazine, and heaviness only matched by "Dopethrone".

First, this album is filled with massive riffs, each one with considerable crunch. A few of the best are "66ib. Bongsession", "Trinity (Gigglebush)", "Greenthumb". But each song has amazing riff, all with enough catch to make sure you'll have to listen to each song a few times in a row. Then there are the solos. For stoner/Sludge, the solos are quite bluesy, to show that Bongzilla is more than just Sabbath-esque riffs. They mix blues greatness and the epicness of doom/stoner greats into a blend, blend in some marijuana and crank it out at ear-shattering loudness.

Like most doom/stoner bands, it's not all about the guitars, the bass and drums play a crucial role in this album. The bass is always audible and chunky, which blends smoothly with the thick guitar. The bass is beyond distorted, a little after the 1:00 mark of "Stone a Pig" shows Dixie's command of the bass, as well as the verses of "Gateway", which is all drum and bass. The drums are more than beat-keepers and background, the drummer explores his drums, hardly ever staying with the usual drum patterns. From random crashes, to impeccable drum fills, the drummer certainly knows his stuff.

And the vocals, very low and growled. Obviously this band never wanted the vocals to be the main focus. The instruments really come as the top priority, and the vocals just kinda be there. But non-the-less, the vocals are great, growling out the most weed related lyrics ever to be recorded. It helps blend in with the mix of stoned, heavy jams the band creates. The only problem with the album, and it's not big, is semi related to the lyrics, it's those samples. Almost every song begins with one, and sure at first they serve a point, but they later become a chore to sit through, as you wait for the epicness that awaits.

In conclusion, this album is amazing. It's full of crunchy riffs, on both the guitar and the bass. The solos are amazing blues and classic doom mixes, that blend in smoothly with the heavy jams. The lyrics are heavily about marijuana, which I love. Any one with a taste in heaviness or marijuana should listen or buy this. Would be a 100 but the samples get annoying.

A Gateway To Stoner Doom - 90%

blackfiremonkey3, March 16th, 2008

Punk rock mixes with politics. Rap mixes with money. Death metal mixes with blood and gore. Do not ever say that marijuana and doom metal do not mix because they do and once you put those two ingredients together, you will get yourself lost in a forest of smoke, psychadelia, and heavy fucking metal. Bongzilla is one of the many bands that prove this to be true.

These stoners have managed to grow an aggresive, psychadellic, and really fucking heavy collection of doom metal songs. The songs flow so amazingly on this album that it sounds like you are listening to an hour long doom song filled with audio clips of news reports regarding illegal marijuana and haunting marijuana influenced lyrics. How can a lyric like "I need to taste your breath/
Every day I need the love you bring/I just want to live my life/With you forever by my side/Never again to feel the pain of life/Your smoke takes me away" not send chills down your spine?

The most haunting song (and in my opinion, the heaviest) is Bongsession. This seven-minute marijuana love-song utilizes a very repetitive riff that gets heavier and heavier as the song progresses but you cannot help but feel the awesomeness of it and all you want to do after a while is hear that same riff over and over again. How heavy you ask? Lets just say the title is not an understatement. This song is as heavy as and I am not kidding.

I recommend this to fans of any band or type of doom metal whether it be epic like Candlemass, death-influenced like My Dying Bride, or just drowsy and psychadellic like Electric Wizard and Sleep. This album is a doom metal essential and if you just so happen to worship marijuana as much as these guys do, prepare for one hell of a trip.

Wonder what these guys smoke? Don't. - 60%

Arkkiperkele, May 19th, 2007

Bongzilla. What a name for a band. I stumbled upon these fellas pretty much due to a random recommendation on the internet. Judging from the title of their albums, this band seems to be chronically obsessed with the whole stoner thing and sweet Mary J. I've not heard anything else from Bongzilla, but could imagine that they've had a pretty consistent career, for good and for worse.

First of all, this album would deserve a decent top mark if it was judged on its musical merits alone. For a stoner record, it's one hell of a piece of sludge. Riffage is just absolutely spaced out and groovy, making up nicely for brutal vocals that really sound like the singer had been spending time with the bong. This is not exactly the most original stoner record or band. They rely very deeply on the standard Sabbath-Iommi-rip-off with maybe a tinge of blues to give a bit mellow edge to their onslaught. Yet musically, this is one of the strongest stoner/sludge albums I've come across.

But if you ask me, all this flies straight out of the window when you grab the album, look at the cover and the lyrics. Although Gateway shares a lot of things with other stoner metal albums, it is just so ludicrously over the top that I very much fear that the fellas in Bongzilla might not be joking after all. You've got a devil smoking weed in the cover. Then there are song titles like Greenthumb, 666 lb. Bongsession (an instrumental that pretty much is what is says) or Hashdealer. The lyrics talk about...weed. The message Bongzilla is putting through is such an obsessed praise for weed that it pretty much kills the charm of the album.

In defense you could say that when Electric Wizard did Dopethrone, they also had this horned guy smoking a pipe. Electric Wizard wasn't too subtle about their choice of herb either. The thing is that whereas Dopethrone is a stoner/doom monument, an defining album as such, Gateway is merely one among the dozens. Bongzilla does their thing good, but have nothing new to give musically, and the ridicilous imagery simply works against them.