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Kyuss Lives! - 89%

Doominance, January 20th, 2015

John Garcia formed Slo Burn in an instant after Kyuss split-up in 1996. Garcia and local friends from the desert wrote and recorded several songs under the Slo Burn moniker, but only four of them were recorded professionally and became their only official release: 'Amusing the Amazing'.

This EP is approximately 15 minutes in length with four great desert/stoner rock songs that are very similar to what Kyuss sounded like. The most obvious similarity are the vocals, because of Garcia's past as Kyuss' singer, but also the music itself is similar to what the legendary desert punks released in the early to mid 90s.

The guitars are down-tuned, heavy and fuzzy, but with fun, memorable riff that pack a good punch. The use of lead/solos are somewhat scarce, and when used, simple. But they're effective, because stoner rock is supposed to be straight-forward, fun and wild instead of bukkake'd by flashy wankery a la Dream Theater and so forth. The bass guitar is wonderfully heavy and wobbly, doesn't shy away at all, though, it can be a bit difficult to follow it at all times, because of the heavy and catchy guitar riffs and loud drumming. And speaking of the drumming, it's basic, groovy stoner-drumming by the books.

And that's what 'Amusing the Amazing' is really. Stoner rock/metal by the book. If you're familiar with Kyuss, you'll certainly have an idea what Slo Burn sounds like. The music is straight-forward, but isn't as basic as a lot of Fu Manchu's music. There's a fair amount of progression and tempo-changes in the songs, bar the opener "The Prizefighter", which is just a very short and one-dimensional rocker.

Unsurprisingly, that makes the opening track the weakest. The three remaining songs, though, are excellent. In fact, they're better than a fair amount of Kyuss songs, which says a lot, because Kyuss were THE desert/stoner rock band that released only excellent albums.

What would greatly improve 'Amusing the Amazing' is if Slo Burn had enough cash to add the missing demo tracks to this EP. They're also excellent songs; better than "The Prizefighter" and on par with the rest. "Wheel Fall" and "Positiva" would be the perfect additions and would almost stretch this EP long enough to be a full-length album, but what can we do? Nothing, but enjoy this criminally underrated and short-lived project.

Easily Amusing - 75%

DawnoftheShred, December 28th, 2009

One of about a million forgotten groups that were only privileged to release a single album before disbanding, Slo Burn were one of many Californian stoner metal groups to sprout up in the 90’s as the genre started to really simmer. They had the advantage of featuring ex-Kyuss singer John Garcia as their frontman, but at the same time, they had the disadvantage of forever playing second fiddle to Garcia’s more famous band. Nonetheless, the Amusing the Amazing EP, their sole venture, is of atypical quality for this sort of thing and definitely worth a listen, if one happens to come along.

Slo Burn churns out a straightforward, bass-heavy blend of doom-laced rock and roll that sounds like the burnt out, metalhead cousin of Collective Soul. The riffs are pure retro-crunch and the wandering vocals call to mind decades past, but the subtle melody and groove are somehow more akin to the grunge/alternative rock that was popular during the band’s brief lifespan. It’s a strange brew, but it goes down smooth thanks to the warm production and focused songwriting. There’s some interesting soft bits that really play up the 70’s vibe the band so hopes to generate, but the simple pleasure of the fuzzed out guitars plowing through riff after riff with John Garcia’s soulful vocals over top more than justify the time and money spent acquiring this album, assuming that you didn’t spend too much of either. Highlights? Eh, it’s all pretty uniform, really. But that means no shitty filler either. If you like one track, you’re pretty much guaranteed to like them all.

It’s not too retro, it’s not too repetitive, and it’s not too long. It’s just a purposeful slab of groovy, doomy, rock music made out of appreciation for the style. And if you can get it for cheap, stoner metal fans shouldn’t have any regrets.

By the book stoner metal.... - 85%

erickg13, October 7th, 2007

Upon the breakup of Kyuss, John Garcia formed Slo Burn, and while they only released one EP, it is one of the better examples of stoner metal. From its thick grooves to its fuzzy production, this is what stoner metal is all about.

Despite being a great example of the genre, it really only has one feature that stands out, John Garcia’s voice. Everything else sounds like the run of the mill instrumentation, which provides what is needed, but does little more. And while no one would blame you for thinking this is a Kyuss EP, it is heavier in many aspects than Kyuss.

The best song on “Amusing the Amazing” is by far “Pilot the Dune”. It has a thick groove that grabs you right from the start and just won’t let go. However, the album is fairly even throughout, with no major potholes.

Overall, I would have to recommend this to any fan of Kyuss, as it closely resembles something they would have made.

High-quality stoner metal - 70%

Corimngul, December 22nd, 2004

This is as far as I know Slo Burn’s only release. Amusing The Amazing is an EP that beats most stoner metal in most aspects. This could almost be labelled as slow-paced technical stoner metal. John Garcia, probably the best-known voice in the stoner metal genre, better known for his time in Kyuss, displays his amazing vocals. Chris Hale does wonderful things with his guitar. I haven’t heard such a massive riffage attack before, except from some technical thrash, speed and heavy metal bands. And he does it alone. The bassist doesn’t distinguish himself, but does a good job. Brady Houghton, another unknown name, operates the drums excellently. You’ll have a hard time finding a full-length with more tempos and rhythms than he manages to do in 15 minutes.

The songs are varied and Slo Burn avoids doing a mistake that many stoner bands though. Slo Burn isn’t repetitive. Slo Burn’s songs distinguish themselves. While these four songs are of excellent quality, the production isn’t top-notch. Even if everything is equally apparent, there is a raw buzz that we would have been better without.