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Dope Drone - 50%

marktheviktor, May 26th, 2009

Doom metal is not so much a different genre as it is just a type of heavy metal that intentionally sounds like a glorious tribute to old Black Sabbath. Electric Wizard are one of the most recognized bands that have made that sound their motif but I think the other well known bands Cathedral, Saint Vitus and Sleep play doom a lot better. I like EW’s first album and some of the music on Come My Fanatics but Dopethrone demonstrates why I just can’t get into this band like other listeners do.

A huge syrupy stoner sound pervades this record and all the trademark ingredients are to be found but this really sounds too much like sped up drone and the vocals of Jus Oborn really suck. That’s been the biggest thing I never liked about this band. They are too whiney and monotonous. I think even sixty-year old Ozzy would do better than this. It’s not bad enough that the record is overlong but to have to endure the inanity of the ranting vocals just kills this thing when I thought a song might have a chance to be really good.

Heavy is a good way to describe Dopethrone but it’s still too boring and drawn out. Bass lines are one the most defining aspects in doom but the band goes into utter obviousness with it. Vinnum Sabbathi was enough of a showcase to attest to the heaviness but it quickly gives way to the song Funeralopolis which sounds too free form to be that long. You listen to the first three or so minutes of it and it sounds decent but it wears thin quickly. Weird Tales is broken up into three pieces. I wish I could say this song was a lot better than the last one but it’s just an exercise in ad nauseam. It’s also the most dronish track because that’s what it turns into at the end. Barbarian picks things up again with an upbeat tempo and down tuned mania. Most of these cuts have either guitar solos or bass solos and I don’t think they are supposed to stand out too much. Heavy distortion and fuzzy slowness are this band’s modus operandi.

I have listened to this record many times only to come away with the realization that this is an album that I can respect but not embrace. After all, I have listened to bad doom metal before (that would be the band Goatsnake) and this is not it. Electric Wizard is relatively good and stylish doom and I can see the attraction by fans of the subgenre but I like doom and I am not one of those who will buy into the hype. Dopethrone is just too much of what I don’t like about the band and even though I like some drone, it doesn’t work for me here. This is the kind of album that makes me sleepy or makes me sit up waiting for something special to come but never does. This is respectable but not exemplary doom.