Having been acquainted with vocalist Brenna Leath through her work with Lightning Born, her new project Crystal Spiders has a comparable grittier approach to Stoner Doom. Their first album, Molt (Ripple Music), is primarily driven by bass-heavy fuzz with songs that range from Psychedelic excursions to borderline Punk numbers. The style is most comparable to Year Of The Cobra, especially with the bass-drum duo setup, but the darker aspects also trigger associations with Windhand and Ruby The Hatchet.
The musicians’ dynamic also favors a loose approach with a raw production job courtesy of Corrosion of Conformity’s Mike Dean and energetic, off-the-cuff playing. There is some supplementary guitar courtesy of Mike Deloatch, but the song structures are most often defined by Leath’s sturdy basslines. Tradd Yancey’s drumming also plays an important role, opting for busy rhythms that fill out the sound and allow for snappy transitions. From there, the vocals fill out the atmosphere with Leath’s husky delivery draped in witchy layers.
While the band still appears to be finetuning their songwriting, there’s a fair amount of variety to work with. The particularly groovy riff sets on ‘Tigerlilly’ and ‘Gutter’ make for the album’s most memorable tracks though the faster executions on ‘C.U.N. Hell’ and ‘The Call’ mix things up nicely. It’s also cool to see the atmosphere play an even greater role at the album’s end as the percussive ‘Headhunters’ makes for a neat prelude to the dark recesses of the closing ‘Fog.’
Overall, Crystal Spiders’ first full-length makes a solid first impression. While there are better bands out there playing in a similar Stoner Doom-style, the energetic musicianship and varied songwriting ensures a fun execution for fans of the style. There’s enough potential here to suggest that something even stronger could very well be on the horizon. Once the band is able to hone their focus, they can get expected to go to some great places.
7 / 10