Stoneburner
Life Drawing

It would be impossible to avoid mentioning Neurosis in this review, so let’s get it over with at the beginning. The bassist and singer from Stoneburner, Damon Kelly, is none other than the son of Scott Kelly, founding member of experimental metal titans Neurosis. Damon has been on tour with his father’s band a few times, even taking part in the tribal drum meltdown at the end of the title track from Through Silver in Blood. But enough of that – Stoneburner are an established band, and Life Drawing is their second album.

The album starts with a hateful, straightforward sludge riff – clearly these guys are massive fans of the great music that came out of Louisiana in the 1990’s – Eyehategod, Acid Bath and Crowbar can be heard here, yet the band showcase more progressive influences as well. The twin guitar harmonies reminded me of Arkansas’s Rwake, and indeed the whole album shares a similar vibe to their phenomenal 2011 album, Rest. We have a fine example of this towards the end of “Caged Bird”, with some sinister tritone work at play. Punishing vocal tradeoffs are the order of the day, and jackhammer stop-start riffs pummel you but also contain a certain level of finesse.

My personal highlight of the album would be the exquisite clean guitar work in Pale New Eyes, and the utterly psychedelic buildup of the first half of the song.

The track “You Are The Worst” is one of the more unrefined and unspectacular moments of the album, but the seventeen-minute closer just about lays waste to everything before, during and after it. An excellent progressive-sludge release – it’s not easy listening, but great music frequently isn’t.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
June 26th, 2014

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