Best known for his work rumbling the 4-string for hardcore heroes Converge, Nate Newton is also the mastermind of Doomriders. Here, Newton swaps the bass for a guitar and his voice. Joining him on this adventure of sonic belligerence is guitarist Chris Pupecki and bassist Jebb Riley. For new album Grand Blood (Deathwish), drummer Q joins the fray.
As I recall, it took me some time to really get into their last album and truth be told, it did here too. Track three to be exact. ‘Mankind’ is actually the the shortest track on the album (save the intro) but it packs a wallop. A techy riff opens things before introducing a powerful sludgy riff and ample swing. Riley’s bass forces its way through the mix to growl and snarl away beneath a soaring solo. Following a couple tracks later, that energy is picked up again on ‘Bad Vibes’. The relentless rhythm bounces and rolls through your brain. Newton’s screams here get full on, matching the solo that caps off this punk and roll juggernaut of a track.
Doomriders can bring the doom as well. ‘Father Midnight’, periods during ‘Dead Friends’, and ‘Death in Heat’ exhibit this tendency. The former rolls over the listener like a vindictive steamroller while still holding onto some groove and moodiness. The latter carries a heavy stoner vibe, weighed down by a sort of humidity and dirty, dirty tone. And ‘Dead Friends’ balances sludge with a Cancer Bats-like energy. Given the title you can guess how heavy the subject matter is.
From the elastic title track to the smoky ‘Gone to Hell’ and the gruff ‘New Pyramids’ to the Danko Jones-in fun of ‘Back Taxes’, Doomriders have compiled a series of tracks with enough stylistic variation to keep things interesting. Whether dragging through the mud or hot-roddin’ with style, Grand Blood nails whatever vibe they’re looking for.
Bottom line here is a fun album. It sounds incredible and would make for a great live spectacle. It’s great to see artists branch out from the projects they’re best known for and still produce something fans of those bands will enjoy.
by Matt Hinch