Stoner/doom metal label Ripple Music has a project entitled The Second Coming of Heavy, which has been underway since 2015 and has featured bands such as Geezer and Bonehawk. Each album is split between two bands. This latest record, Vol 4, features desert rockers Red Mesa and Blue Snaggletooth, both out to show us that there’s nothing wrong with a stoned-out, fuzzy haze of rock.
Red Mesa’s debut album came out a couple years ago, and this split features one song, “Low and Slow,” from that debut. Of the two acts, Red Mesa are the more conventional, with songs more firmly entrenched in the hard rock/metal arena and not so much the haze of the desert.
“Cactus Highway” and “Low and Slow” are both straightforward drivers, while “Goin’ to the Desert” is a loose party song much like the old ’70s Canadian band Crowbar might toss out. “Utopia” throws convention to the wind and is a true stoner jam.
Named after an obscure Star Wars character, Blue Snaggletooth jam out the final three songs of Vol 4, and these guys aren’t shy about showing their love for all things Kyuss. In fact, their lead track “Sand Witch” is pretty much a direct ripoff of “Thumb.” The band have been around all decade and have several releases under their belt. “Crystal’s Gaze” features more fuzz on both the spaced-out guitars and the vocals. Big ’70s riffs take the front seat on closing track “Mystic Waters,” a throbbing and enjoyable rocker.
Production is similar on both sides of the split, and features the standard lo-fi values the genre seems to demand: rough vocals, distortion-soaked guitars, dry-as-a-desert drums, and an overall feeling of casualness. Neither band outshines the other talent-wise, although Blue Snaggletooth certainly come across as the more adventurous of the two.
All told, this split isn’t going to set the world on fire, but it does feature two solid if unspectacular bands that know how to jam out this kind of music. It’s a good addition to Ripple’s The Second Coming of Heavy series, though, so owners of the first three offerings will definitely want this one.
(released December 9, 2016 on Ripple Music)