Green Bastard
Pyre

First review back after a three week long hand injury, so excuse me while I pull my tricycle from underneath a wreckage of doctor bills, a limper than a wet noodle wrist and a fuckin’ sling.  Hand and foot injuries are a bitch but that’s nothin’ a good riff can’t cure and New Hampshire’s druggy, melodic sludge/doom/trip-out trio Green Bastard got plenty of mud puppy grooves and scorching THC loaded melodies that go heavy on the Vicodin all across their 5th EP release to date, Pyre…feelin’ better already!  They call to mind the hardcore doom dirt fury of Sleep’s Volume I, Crowbar’s melodic n’ melancholy dirge poundings, the esotericism of The Melvins, a slight red carpet rollout of Maryland doom royalty, some bloody battlefield fodder culled from Cirith Ungol (mainly in the second track), the deadly sludge of Cavity/early Floor/Cough and the underrated balance between light, dark and psychedelic fury whipped up by godly Floridian muck slingers Snake Oil.  The songs are winding labyrinths of dead end sludge riffs hellbent on sending a carload of crash test dummies into the nearest wall, extensive lead guitar work, throbbing rhythmic cave-ins and dual vocals that range from raw lung growls to tremoring clean singing which had me hooked like a fish on an opium worm!  I’d say even fans of Godflesh, Dead Register, Rebreather, Joy Division and My Bloody Valentine could dig into this as well.

Opener “Thoros” goes on for some 19 minutes and a few extra shillings but never induced a single yawn even as I jammed the album past the 6 a.m. clock notch.  They build and construct this jam deliberately; a downpicked dirty riff from guitar Mark, a funeral march tom heavy percussive hypnosis laid down by Ethan while bassist/vocalist Spencer provides you with a ball n’ chain ride straight to the bottom of the ocean.  As the ascending power reaches a window cracking crescendo, the trio hogties you with a rope of tightly-knotted, mouth-watering, blood drooling riffs seeded to lush growth thanks to sprawling and soaring lead guitar fertilization backed by thick, soil-y doom rhythmic churns and Ethan’s brass knuckled, windpipe punctured gruff shouted vocals that rely on a lower, dirtier register.  Control is key throughout each movement of this piece; every stringed instrument just kicking you a new chest hole with an iron-toed boot as the leads/solos reach for lofty heights against the turbulent fills and growling bass lines.  Vocally, Ethan splits the difference between a Neurosisian roar, tuneful shouts and hearty, muscular singing, which throws some whiskey n’ gasoline on the band’s forest burning bonfire.

“Cyclopean Walls” throws down some fuckin’ sloth drowning, quicksand-caked, low-end dirt that sucks you in like a vortex Joe Preston’s work with The Melvins, Harvey Milk, High on Fire and Thrones.  Sustained feedback pierces the eardrums with a rusty sewing needle before taut, constantly fluxing snare fills and black plague stricken riffs come to the forefront telling the town doctor to go fuck himself and stow his medicine bag full of slick tricks.  Though the vocals are slightly buried they are fuckin’ strong throughout with ribcage rattling thickness and even some quaking, high-reaching falsetto/fall away cries (not of the power metal, wind in hair variety but more from a deeper Earthy standpoint).  Sanity is a thin line drawn in the sand across this cut and soon the catchier elements turn to deviant sludge screams and increasingly desperate shouts where Spencer proves capable of holding his notes longer than most.  Max’s riffs keep the structure economical but take all of the right dips and bluesy bends before kicking up a West Texas duster of mid-tempo thrashed grooves at the halfway point with the beats following on their heels as Ethan drives forward with a holy water bathed bass groove.  Head-swimming lead licks gave me a consciousness change of mushrooms with a chaser of mescaline, leaving plenty of room for the power trio to snake back into wormholes of powerful melody and riffs transmitted from the bottom of a corpse-stuffed wishing well.  …Major props to the Fall of Rome crumbling riffs that end this beast, while Nero fiddles gleefully with a sparse fire-charred solo that couldn’t make for a more fitting ending, though the gigantic riff that drags this motherfucker home don’t hurt either.

Closer “Green Dream” hazes in like a John Carpenter fog with a bassline reeking of Sabbath’s debut masterpiece.  Twinkling Joy Division/My Bloody Valentine-esque chords craft beauty in the depression with Spence going after a cautiously haunting and catchy melody anthem while the drumming provides weathered soul strikes.  Double-tracked guitar harmonies send this composition into a 80s goth/deathrock masterpiece with a metal soul that’s arteries are clogged with 10 tons bloody red t-bone and frying pain grease at the bottom of the barrel of these feral doom riffs.  The vocals at times rise into emotive shouts with the guitars dripping gun in mouth sadness at every twisted turn.  It’s the perfect closer; more than heartbreaking enough yet it never falls into wuss territory with enough weight present in the bashing, locomotive drums, molten guitars and beyond thick as fuck bass density providing a constant forward propulsion you’ll want to see through till the finale.

With a name like Green Bastard I was expecting Fu Manchu Vol. 1000 and while that’d been cool with me, Pyre gave me so much more than I bargained for.  This is kick ass sludgy doom with a lot of melodic tricks and underpinnings keeping it interesting; well-worth the time for fans of the more offbeaten doom path.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jay S
November 17th, 2016

Comments

  1. Commented by: guilliame

    4 minutes in and the same 4 power chords pounding. Not really encouraging. And i’m a guy that like Isis, Russian Circles…


  2. Commented by: Jay

    I thought the first tune moves along nicely, but it all depends.

    Thought this was more doomed out than Isis/Russian Circles. I could never get into RC at all.


  3. Commented by: Vance

    Green Bastard was the name of Bubbles’ wrestling character on The Trailer Park Boys. “Green Bastard, from parts unknown. “


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