Tuesday 10 October 2017

SUMOKEM - The Guardian Of Yosemite (Album Review)

Release date: October 06th 2017. Label: Cursed Tongue Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Guardian Of Yosemite – Tracklisting

1.Attack of the Mammoth 07:51
2.Warning 06:43
3.War Pipe/Rite of the Calumet 07:37
4.Ogama 08:43
5.Tisayac 09:33
6.Mescalito/Meeting of the Half Moon 07:01
7.Nantucket 10:05


Jacob Sawrie - Vox/Rhythm
Drew Skarda - Percussion
Tyler Weaver - Lead
Dustin Weddle - Bass


SUMOKEM have dramatically changed their sound since their last album. As their latest release The Guardian Of Yosemite sees the band take influence from bands such as Mastodon, Thin Lizzy and Iron Maiden in places. Overall the album is top heavy with brutally paced Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal riffs. However, the band show their love for genres such as Progressive Rock, NWOBHM and classic Heavy Metal sounds.

Some parts of the album are genuinely exciting upon your first listen. Whilst other parts of the album take a few listens to fully understand and to appreciate. The heavy sludge/stoner sounds of the opening track – Attack Of The Mammoth – perfectly sets the mood and tone for the whole album. Fast-paced sludge/doom moments merged against the trippy psychedelic stoner vibes leave you wanting more.

The vocals from Jacob have quite an bombastic feel to them. Sometimes OTT but they keep you focused on SUMOKEM's music. Perhaps influenced by Bruce Dickinson at times but Jacob does show his superb vocal range when he starts with those death based growls.

The lyrics are quite fantastical throughout the album but it matches the mood overall album. SUMOKEM carry on the epic mood contained on the opening track that sees the album venture further into Progressive Doom/Sludge Metal territory. With huge NWOBHM sounds allowing the band to create more epic songs to fully dissect and truly appreciate once you've listened to the album a few times.

Standout songs on the album are: Warning, War Pipe/Rite Of The Calumet, Ogama and Nantucket. All proving that SUMOKEM have came on leaps and bounds from their debut album. Fair play to SUMOKEM for releasing something different. They could have easily released The Madness of Lu Shen Ti Vol. 2. Nope, the band regrouped and released this HUGE SOUNDING RECORD. The production is superb and allows the music to flow at a natural pace.

The Guardian Of Yosemite also excels on the technical level. As the band prove what talented and accomplished musicians they actually are. The album contains some of the best technically sounding riffs I've heard this year.

If you're in the mood for a different sounding Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal album that pays respect to the classic days of Heavy Metal then get with the program and listen to this album now. It's a seriously great album. End Of.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Cursed Tongue Records for the promo. The Guardian Of Yosemite is available to buy on CD/DD now. The vinyl will be released early 2018 via Cursed Tongue Records.