Thursday, May 3, 2012

Temple of DOOM III

You have arrived my friends. This is the last batch of music I have to share from the genres of doom metal and "stoner" rock. This edition will focus on more stoner rock bands than doom bands, but in my opinion both scenes are forever intertwined. After reading through this blog series (3 total), you'll have been exposed to all the bands from this scene that I like. Hopefully I've been able to turn you on to some new bands thus far. Prepare yourself for the final push!


I'm going to start off a bit more "commercial" this time, with the bands that formed out of the ashes of Kyuss.

Kyuss was represented in the first Temple of DOOM. They were a very big band in the "desert rock" scene (what the non-stoners like to call "stoner" rock), and were one of the few bands from the scene that toured extensively outside of California. Even though the band unfortunately broke up in 1995, almost every member of the band went on to other respectable projects. The main bands to arise after the break-up of Kyuss are Queens of the Stone Age and Unida.

Queens of the Stone Age (circa 2007)

Queens of the Stone Age was formed by Josh Homme (guitarist from Kyuss) and is by far the most successful band to arise out of the desert/stoner rock scene. The band was originally exposed by Stone Gossard from Pearl Jam. Queens of the Stone Age's first album was released on Gossard's indie label Loosegroove Records, and they were instantly put on the path of success. By their second album (Rated R), they were signed to Interscope Records and touring extensively with bands like Foo Fighters. By their third album (Songs For The Deaf), Dave Grohl was playing drums for the band and they had a hit video on MTV ("Go With the Flow"). By their fourth album (Lullabies to Paralyze), Queens of the Stone Age were a platinum-selling band. Not too bad for a bunch of desert stoners, eh?

"Go With the Flow." from Songs For the Deaf. (2002)

"3's & 7's." from Era Vulgaris. (2007)

I've been a big Queens of the Stone Age fan pretty much since their inception. I was lucky enough to see them live in 2000 at Club Soda in Kalamazoo, Michigan when they did a one-off gig while on the Ozz-Fest tour. Despite their commercial success, I'm definitely more of a QOTSA fan than I am of Kyuss. They haven't released a new album since 2007, but hopefully something new will come along soon.

Unida (circa 2001)

Unida was a band fronted by the front-man of Kyuss, John Garcia. They weren't nearly as popular as Queens of the Stone Age, but it wasn't from a lack of trying. They released one full-length album (Coping With the Urban Coyote) and a couple of split-albums before getting signed to the major label American Records. Can you guess what happened next? American Records joined up with Def Jam Records, and Def Jam refused to release what was to be Unida's "breakthrough" album (The Great Divide). The album has never been officially released, but its available on the torrent sites and other places online I'm sure. Of course, Unida broke up shortly after. 

"Black Woman." from Coping With the Urban Coyote. (1999)

John Garcia has gone through a few bands since Kyuss broke up, but in my opinion Unida was his best one. Its a shame they never got a proper break. 

Electric Wizard (circa 2010)

This is Electric Wizard. Not only do they currently have a guy in the band with tattoos all over his face and a hot chick, but they're sometimes credited to creating the "stoner doom" genre (good grief, right?). Electric Wizard has a "bad" reputation of sorts, mainly dealing with the married duo of Jus Osborn (vocals, guitar) and Liz Buckingham (guitar). The only mainstay member in the band since its incarnation is Osborn. Every album has almost a completely different lineup, at least until Liz came into the band. Now its kind of like they're a husband-and-wife doom metal force with hired musicians.

The music of Electric Wizard is like Black Sabbath slowed way down and covering it with raspy vocals and bong-rips. They are one of the biggest bands in the doom metal scene, and I'm sure they'll be around for a while longer. I've posted a couple of tracks. This band might be a bit to "heavy" for some, but give it a chance!

"Barbarian." from Dopethrone. (2000)

"Satanic Rites of Drugula." from Witchcult Today. (2007)

Interesting side-note about the Witchcult Today album. It was recorded entirely on vintage 1970's equipment, from the guitars to the amps and recording equipment. Honestly, I can't tell that much of a difference but maybe an audiophile can.

Monster Magnet

Talk about a band that totally fucked themselves over. Monster Magnet is a sad story, and its not entirely their fault. Monster Magnet was one of the first bands from the stoner rock scene that gained indie success. Unfortunately, when they made it to MTV status the songs that became gigantic hits were two of the most annoying songs EVER ("Powertrip" and "Space Lord"). A bunch of people loved Monster Magnet for 15 minutes and their career was forever fucked ever since (at least here in the States. They still have a pretty good following in Europe). 

When it comes to Monster Magnet, its all about the first two albums: Spine of God and Superjudge. Forget anything you've ever heard from Monster Magnet on TV or the radio before. These two albums are stoner-rock masterpieces. They were highly influential for their time. Monster Magnet is to stoner rock as Metallica is to heavy metal. Early stuff, awesome. Everything else? Meh.

"Pill Shovel." from Spine of God. (1992)

"Cyclops Revolution." from Superjudge. (1993)

Monster Magnet became more of a straight up rock band in their later years. I haven't been a fan of their newer stuff. To me it just sounds boring and tired. Those first two albums are excellent though, and I can't recommend them enough.

The Sword

I've saved the best for last, the folks that are keeping vintage rock alive for the next decade or so. The Sword!

The Sword kick ass. They've only been around since 2003, and didn't release their first album until 2006. 
Age of Winters is a stunning achievement, and dare I say it competes with Sleep's Holy Mountain album as "best stoner metal album ever." They've released a couple albums since (Gods of the Earth and Warp Riders). I've included songs from each album here. You'll like this.

"Iron Swan." from Age of Winters. (2006)

"The Frost-Giant's Daughter." from Gods of the Earth. (2008)

"Tres Brujas." from Warp Riders. (2010)

And there you have it! That's the end! No more Temple of DOOM after this! Trust me, you're going to miss it. Doom metal and stoner rock is very emotional music. It evokes deep thought and rocks your ass off in the process. You don't have to be a weirdo or a druggie to enjoy this music. Basically, this music continues the spirit of 60's and 70's-era rock n' roll. Its vintage rock that's existed from the 80's to now. 

Fuzzed out guitars, darkness and classic nostalgia will always have a place in rock. I'm sure you agree. You might not have liked everything I've shared in the three Temple of DOOM blogs, but I hope you've got a nice little list of stuff to go explore on your own. 

Until next time......Take us out, Bobby...

"Under My Thumb (Rolling Stones cover)." from First Daze Here Too. (2006)

1 comment:

  1. I have to say I was impressed with Unida and Electric Wizard. The Sword were ok...I like the album artwork for the Warp Riders album.