Contra
Son of Beast EP

Man, this is THE shit.  This is like a long lost high school reunion for my ears.  Chris Chiera swingin’ axe (he the man behind Sofa King Killer’s purely classic guitar sound), Aaron Brittain kickin’ the cans (his hard hits have been missed since the Fistula days) and bassist Adam Horwatt (So Long Albatross) keeps the foundation fortified like an old English castle.  There’s no vocalist mucking up the groove these Ohio boys get going, which comes on like a freight train blowin’ Sabbath steam, pissin’ ZZ Top oil and grindin’ Karma to Burn gears.  The whole shebang can get as thick as Eyehategod, Church of Misery and Cavity to boot!

If “Bottom Feeder” doesn’t get you in the game you’ve got a serious problem; you’ve got the left ear screwed on where the right ear should be and you’re not hearing worth a good goddamn.  Brittain carves mountainous fills into a Rushmore sized wall of patented Chiera riffage that climbs into grooves so high weed isn’t even required for full enjoyment.  Horwatt’s low-end might is never lost in the equation, his smooth action the buzzing, fuzz-blasted glue that connects the bread together with a bluesy jam Smuckers would be jealous of.  At its dirtiest, grittiest peaks of rockin’ there’s an agile Sabbath swing happening, but when the playing opens up with those mind-altering leads we’re suddenly in the church of Billy Gibbons.  Goddamn, it doesn’t get any better than this and the lightest savory psychedelic sauce really gives a hungry listener the spread they’re looking for as the song fades out into ambient feedback.  They fade each track with the same tactic, which only furthers the cohesiveness of the material.

“100 Hand Slap” hits you with more dizzying blows than old Edmond Honda could have mustered with frenzied mashes of an arcade button.  Chris’ playing has always been admired in this household and he’s definitely at the top of his game here.  That riff has been on a steady diet of beef, Guinness and pork rinds.  She’s a fat, lovely ol’ hog with plenty of switches egged on by Aaron’s constantly busy performance that’s mindful of the pocket with tricked-out fill work on the snare that never loafs on the job.  Adam dishes thick slabs like he’s got tenure at the county morgue, and guitar leads burn until they’re white hot, melting down into extensive solos that are so classic sounding in nature they must have went for a long walk and ended up back in 1972.  Those lumbering, giant on a bender blues riffs that kick off “Snake Goat” are brutish and that bass matches their every move with the drumming accenting every twitch n’ change in a flurry of quick-handed beat cooking.  This stuff is so belligerently awesome it’ll hit on every woman at the local bar, getting slapped in the face no less than 15 times while being labeled as a “masher” for life.  Chris squeals some killer, tastefully implemented leads until he redirects the riff at the 2:20 mark, forming an instrumental call n’ response where everybody’s take on the jam is commenting back and forth in a serious display of musical poetry in motion.  Fuck…I need a stool, towel and a bucket ice on my head after that.

EP closer, the 7+ minute “Humanoid Therapy” has some of the biggest, nastiest riffs around and some of the grooviest too where every note is bent as far as it’ll go.  It ascends gracefully and falls off the wagon into a vat of 114 proof DOOM…this stuff will take you on a hayride from Kentucky to hell and back all in the course of one evening.  Where a lot of bands can come off as cliché with the southern influences and even the doom influences, this is the REAL deal.  I mean that doom break is gargantuan…godless in its heathen downtempo and those grooves are like a baptism in pure moonshine by a toothless preacher.  I’m going to end my discussion of this song with a simple, “Just listen to the damn thing,” and hope you go out and do it, bringing back what I got from it.  This is a case of there’s some things that rock so damn hard you need to hear for yourself.  End of story…

Contra rules…plain and simple…  If you dig those vintage, tube amps blowing a fuse blues sounds backed by a rhythm section set to kill, Son of Beast is your catch.  All of the licks you need are right here, don’t go looking elsewhere.  Great to see you fellas back in action…I for one am grateful and can’t wait to hear what’s next!  Top-notch…don’t miss this!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
October 2nd, 2015

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