Bongzilla’s fifth album comes with an interesting set of curveballs, being their first full-length release since 2005’s Amerijuanican as well as their first to be recorded as a trio. However, very little has changed about the Wisconsinites’ vision in the sixteen years they’ve been away. As evidenced by an appropriately dumb but endearing title like Weedsconsin (Heavy Psych Sounds), the Sweet Leaf remains the focal point of their aesthetic and their Stoner-Sludge sound is as potent as ever.
Like many phenomena in science, you can barely predict when it will happen, and even when you can, you are not always ready for it. Kind of like a comet, a unique blooming flower, or a blue moon, the rarest of events will make you appreciate being alive but also question your reality. If you experience a once in a lifetime event, count yourself lucky indeed. Fans of doom legends Sleep fans counted themselves lucky when the band, long dormant, came back to life in 2009. Since reforming, most would have been happy with just glorious live performances, insane volume in their ears, and all that weed smoke filling their lungs. But the band had other plans. After the single The Clarity (Adult Swim Singles), the band has been promising us a new album. Surprise releasing the album on 4/20 with one’s days’ notice is forgivable if you are this band only. Continue reading →
Here’s my plea to anyone who’s ever passed on Cannabis Corpse because they thought it was a joke: listen to the fucking band. Let me sweeten the deal, Left Hand Pass (Season of Mist) is a fantastic jumping off point to this odd, yet technically ferocious outfit. The album art and song titles like ‘In Battle There Is No Pot’ are firmly tongue-in-cheek, but the strain of death metal is very much deadly serious.Continue reading →
Matriarch from left to right: guitarist J. Hartnett, drummer Tyler McKinney, and guitarist/vocalist Austin Wilson. Photo credit Travis Heacock
“The next song we’re working on is about 45-minutes long,” confesses Matriarch guitarist J. Hartnett. The declaration isn’t in the very least surprising: the weed-fueled basement jam sesh that is Matriarch’s debut EP, Magnumus: The 44th Scribe and Lorde of the Hallucinauts, is evidence this Doom-dealing, Denver-based outfit is it in for the long haul.
To the initiated in underground music, it’s well-known Denver is a hotbed for Doom. As the hometown of punishing acts like Primitive Man, In The Company of Serpents, and Khemmis, Denver’s arid expanse can withstand many-a rumbling low-end. And now, with Matriarch a part of the low-and-slow fold, it could be said the Denver Doom thing is truly a scene.
“It just came together,” Hartnett says of the band’s formation. “It just coalesced into what it is, although [Matriarch’s music] started a lot faster and more mid tempo. Honestly, we just kept smoking weed and slowing it way down.”
“We were actually going to write a soundtrack to the arm-wrestling movie, Over the Top, ” Matriarch guitarist and vocalist Austin Wilson chimes.
“Like how Dark Side of the Moon syncs up with the Wizard of Oz,” Hartnett says. “We were going to call it Lincoln Hawk, which was Stallone’s name in the movie—we make a lot of decisions that are marijuana based.”
It’s interesting to me that there are so many Doom Metal bands coming out of Denver—do you think it’s because weed is legal that everyone plays so slow?
“Maybe!” Matriarch Drummer Tyler McKinney exclaims. “But I think all of the Doom bands in Denver smoked weed way before it became legal.”
“The correlation or causation of it—it’s a good one,” Hartnett muses. “I don’t think it helps with the formation of bands, but it definitely helps with the attendance to a show.”
“Marijuana is not a suggestion—it’s a requirement to play or watch Doom,” Wilson says.
The debut Matriarch EP was released in April—
“on 4/20 at 4:20 pm—it’s so stupid,” Hartnett laughs.
Well, it only has two songs, and it’s 44-minutes long: How do you know when a Matriarch song is “done?”
“It takes a long time to get through writing a song,” McKinney explains. “We’ve even recorded drums for a song we’re in the middle of still writing.”
“Honestly, it takes us about eight months to get through a song,” Hartnett adds.
Are you guys “Tone Lords?”
“It’s more fun for us to just collect stuff and see what happens,” Wilson says.
“We like having the big presentation of it—the volume of it,” adds Hartnett.
Why do you do Doom?
“Well, we definitely make music for ourselves,” McKinney says.
“Yes, as cliché as it is, we wanted to do this for ourselves, whatever you want to call it,” says Wilson.
“And everyone in Matriarch has a really high standard; we don’t want to suck when we play out and it’s hard to sustain this minimal thing we do,” Hartnett admits. “But our biggest goal in playing this music is to have our own sound and to not sound like anyone else—even within the Denver or Doom scene, we want to have our own place…I do think we’ve sonically found our little niche.”
Matriarch guitarist Jake Hartnett. Photo credit by Travis Heacock