Thursday, September 27, 2007

Zoroaster "Dog Magic" review: Doom Metal for Dummies (in a good way)

Dog Magic
Terminal Doom Records
Available Now

How much do you want to bet that the members of Zoroaster spent nine months in the womb with Saint Vitus and Cathedral being piped in by headphones strapped to their mothers’ bellies? With maybe some “ba-dum, ba-dum” white blues thrown in…

Dog Magic, the latest release by these three Atlanta-based doomsayers, is a crash course in Stoner Drone 101. The guys certainly know where they came from; progenitors like Electric Wizard and Sleep are all over this freakin’ thing, but guitarist Will Fiore and company are clever enough to channel the spirits of their inspirations through subtle tribute, and not a rehashing.

Dog Magic is an audio definition of stoner metal. Some riffs come crawling up out of your speakers like mutated zombie crocodiles from the sewer in a 70s grindhouse flick; others slow down to a veritable ooze so thick you’ll have to scrub down your body with Lava soap after a single listen; and once you get to the 14-minute oil-drip epic that is “Algebra of Need,” you can count the seconds between notes in the riffs. You want solos? Well, too bad, you ain’t getting any. Wait, what? Those ridiculously sustained lead lines on “The Book” that sound like a demonic ambulance siren heralding the impending journey of some agonized soul across the river Styx? Those are solos? Oh okay, my bad.

Occasionally the album moves along at a pace more brisk than a brontosaurus; the titular closer starts off with some immediately post-binge Motorhead grooves, but soon slinks back into its familiar tempo. And while flyers of the doom flag will find no fault in that (this writer certainly doesn’t), less experienced metalloids will likely find themselves bored or confused.

But that’s their own fault…screw ‘em. Zoroaster is by far the heaviest thing to come out of Georgia since Mastodon, and Dog Magic firmly entrenches them alongside the elite of both Southern and stoner metal. Turn up the volume, light ‘em if you got ‘em, and wait for the bottom to drop out.

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