Smoke it or not, Bongzilla is back.
Mike « Muleboy » Makela (bass/vocals, Aquilonian), Jeff « Spanky » Schultz (guitar, ex-Cuda) and Mike « Magma » Henry (drums, Aquilonian, The Garza) are motivated to perpetuate their Stoner/Doom/Sludge sound with Dab City, their sixth album, to be released in 2023 by Heavy Psych Sounds.
Dab City, the eponymous song, opens the album with a strange vocal sample, followed by a rather gentle driving rhythm, quickly covered in saturation before welcoming the abrasive vocal parts. The rhythm becomes slightly livelier and more upbeat, before slowing down again to present its heaviest, weighing tones, sometimes complemented by discreet melodies, while gradually slowing down to lead us into King of Weed and its jerky touches. Vocals are darker and more disquieting, contrasting with the gentle riffs accelerating from time to time, before letting the long and haunting Cannonbongs (The Ballad of Burnt Reynolds as Lamented by Gentleman Dixie Dave Collins) make us nod in time with the dirty sound and its unhealthy peaks of energy. Some metallic percussion joins the slow oppressive waves borrowed from Drone/Doom, barely allowing a few strange harmonics, then feedback leads the way to C.A.R.T.S. and its hazy Old School hints. Leads smell of the ’70s, but the track remains fairly short, and its upbeat rhythm breaks down to let Hippie Stick place slower, more pessimistic tones, which perfectly welcome vocal parts. The band stays with this dirty, unhealthy groovy approach, while letting some softer Stoner influences shade the waves of saturation before Diamonds and Flower crush us with another fix of smoky, grimy riffs. The tempo slightly picks up to offer a more upbeat, catchy sound, but the band follows up with American Pot, the final composition, which skilfully mixes joyful fast parts with slower moments, offering a minimalist approach before letting dissonance reign again to welcome vocals and bring the album to an end.
Bongzilla always skilfully handles its dirt, smoking the amps to create a heavy, catchy sound. Dab City will immediately be embraced by all the band’s fans, while arousing the interest of curious ones.