Cortez’s third full-length album shows a certain spark that was merely hinted at the Boston group”s previous releases. This is immediately established with the opening”No Escape,” which comes crashing in with a template more in line with Classic Metal than their usual Stoner Rock. I find myself reminded of Cauldron or Castle as the driving tempo sustains a reverb-friendly production job with a slew of flamboyant guitar leads, gritty bass, and chanted vocals to go around.
While the other songs on Sell The Future (Salt Of The Earth Records/Ripple Music) subsequently bring in more variety, they manage to maintain that energy quite nicely. The title track makes for an immediate contrast with its crawling riffs and ominous atmosphere effectively channeling a Doom spirit.”Faulty Authors” and”Sharpen The Spear” provide hazy overcast as the former retains the Doom while the latter puts in a more dramatic trot. It ultimately culminates with the closing “Beyond,“ which maximizes a trippy flavor.
Through it all, the musicians keep to a rock-solid, meat, and potatoes dynamic. The drums provide a strong backbone, hitting hard regardless of the style at hand, and the guitars never waver even in the most subdued sequences. The vocals” husky workman quality is also quite serviceable; the performance doesn’t have the most personality but fits in quite well with the shifting moods.
Overall, Cortez skirts the lines between Stoner Rock and Heavy Metal quite nicely with Sell The Future. While the straightforward execution makes it easy to overlook compared to similarly styled groups like Spirit Adrift and Horseburner, the powerful riffs and electrifying musicianship are endearing in their own right. It’s not the sort of album that takes multiple listens to really feel out, but the attitude behind it is poised to win over fans of the genres at work.
8 / 10