Moab
Ab Ovo

I heard Moab’s Dimensioner demo earlier this year and walked away unimpressed. It was decent enough spacey stoner doom, just nothing too exceptional or interesting. Round 2 is here with the release of their first full length, Ab Ovo, and the band fares much better with some very solid stoner doom that, unfortunately, features some questionable vocals.

First things first: the vocals. At their worst, they sound something akin to a castrated Ozzy. For the most part though, they sound like Steve from Sheavy with a higher register. They’re not particularly bad, they’re certainly unique, but they clearly will not be to everyone’s taste. Sometimes they work and other times they are irritating. They may grow on you in time, as they have for me, but they are also at their worst on the first track, which may turn off some listeners.

Fortunately, beyond the vocals is good old fashioned solid stoner doom. Moab rides the line between stoner rock and doom, alternating between classic Sabbath inspired riffs and stoner rock. “The Staring Wall”, split in two parts, starts with heavy as fuck doom and ends with some thrashing stoner rock. “More Love” could have been ripped from Sheavy’s Celestial Hi-Fi and “Unbeknowst” recalls Songs for the Deaf-era Queens of the Stone Age. There’s a classic rock influence that pops up now and again but most of the time the band sticks to their bread and butter. Closer “Helios” ends the album on an appropriately simple note of lumbering doom.

Albums like this live or die on their riffs and this trio has come up with some killers, particularly the riffs of “Staring Wall pt. 1” and “More Love”. “Helios” is as classic sounding as a doom riff gets. As an album it doesn’t feel as cohesive as it could be. Sometimes the vocals sound at odds with the music and the occasional shift in guitar tone can be jarring. It’s most noticeable as the second track ends and the third track, “Sated”, begins with a jangly country rock tone. “Sated” in particular sticks out as the one-of-these-things-that-is-not-like-the-others and seems out of place amongst the spaced out doom riffs and solos.

The sum of the parts though is pretty good if you can get past the vocals. There are worse things to do on a Saturday night, or a Tuesday morning for that matter, than throw on Ab Ovo, and burn a few down with a couple of beers.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
September 26th, 2011

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