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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.