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not for the megalophobic - 77%

Cosmic Mystery, March 25th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Defense Records (Limited edition)

Makes me think Temple of Void, Disma and Loathfinder merged with Megalith Levitation. I'm not big on stoner doom, but the last mention is the most recent in the sub genre I've heard that hits like this. Sandbreaker's debut album Sandbreaker does a damn fine job of mixing death metal with stoner doom metal; holy heck I thought this would be a disaster but the decision to invest in a plowing machine the size of a dreadnought responded with favorable returns. After all the desert is humongous in sand-scape, so as an initiative to get the job done in a timely fashion, the conductors in Sandbreaker pooled their resources and bought the biggest one they could find.

All silliness aside, the potential here to turn this band into an underground powerhouse is exceedingly high. Cant stop playing this one, the CD has been sitting in the disc-tray of the computer for so long, you'd think I was troubleshooting hardware or there's a problem with the drivers. The only complaint is, I wish the Ep was not so damn short. Surely a song or two could have been added, nonetheless, no harm done. All songs move with a slow bouldering weight, the vocals are just excellent, near-perfect growl pitch, the guitars sound mean as fuck and the drumming is precisely on-time and punishing all the while, any heavier and I'd have to add Encoffination to the list of mentions; especially on a song like 'Eternal Heat' where the movement ranges from mid-paced to blasted toilingly dense, making you feel as though the desert heat is draining your life force. 'Season of the Plow' has a sly little guitar solo that emboldens and levitates the music, would have liked to hear more. Just an all round Goliath of sounds, squeezing you to a diminished grain.

The record is evenly mixed and that monotone fuzz often attributed to stoner doom metal is non-existent on Sandbreaker; whoever handled the production did an exemplary job. I didn't find myself sleeping half-way through the music, so kudos! to that individual.

The cover artwork emits a sensation of being overwhelmed all the while adventurous; plus there's a nod at Death's Leprosy on the back cover. Sandbreaker is already very immersive, but if you want to turn it up a notch, listen to it when watching agricultural videos of farmers out in the field fertilizing the land or reaping crops with their tractors and other machinery. Now that plowing's out the way, move on to the next step in cultivation, get that forest grown! there are mouths to feed. A high recommendation for farmers.

A beautiful morning on Arrakis, but it's going to get grittier... - 70%

Lane, February 7th, 2020
Written based on this version: 2019, CD, Defense Records (Limited edition)

"Alas, boys... Did you see that?! We blasted through a pyramid! But at least those camels survived. Well, nothing lasts forever in the sands of time anyway... Except the craving for the spice..."

Frank Herbert's "Dune" and doom/stoner metal. Yeah, suits. Sand and the powers of nature. The nature works way slower than us humans, and that is how Sandbreaker work. The songwriting is kind of simplistic yet it is not. Sandbreaker also do some of the shortest doom metal songs under the sun. Anyway, songs can have have kind of, if not droning, but ritualistic vibe. Each song contains mutating riffs, that have more or less alterations during these 3-5 minute cycles. There are heavy groovy parts somewhat similar to early Cathedral or Reverend Bizarre for example, but in slow motion; not in funeral pace, though. Less groovy, sludgy elements are also onboard this desert ship. Some extra... ehm... spices give nice detail, especially those weird alien sounds closing this EP. We have a contact! There's a short brass section bit, too.

I find longer, more varied songs a bit more interesting. The main reason is that riffs aren't really as good as "killer", so to speak, but mutations do amend for that trait. 'Spice Harvester' especially tends to make my mind wander, in a wrong way. At best, though, this is really kind of ritualistic and does keep its listener well occupied. And makes one's mind wander to the desert planet Arrakis. By the way, I find some of the lyrics to be metaphors about our own planet, that is getting warmer and might be turning into a desert one.

The guitar sound is slowly, brutally and loudly buzzing. The bass guitar is clanking and banging. The drums are powerful and sound organic. About the drumming: The longer songs have that "okay, I've done loads of these (tom drum) rolls, when I can go into a beat?!" build-up thing somewhere in them, the short ones go straight into action. The production job is rather fine in general, suiting well with the style of the band. The vocals are about low, sandblasted growl.

The shortness of this left me wanting for more of this cool pseudo-simplistic and deep-as-a-blackhole doom/stoner-craft. There must be more to this band, I bet. "We got the spice! Let's get ready to navigate to the next destination..."

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