Thursday 1 June 2023

Hemplifier - The Stoner Side Of The Doom (Album Review)

Release Date: June 02nd 2023. Record Label: Electric Valley Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

The Stoner Side Of The Doom: Tracklisting

Headless Chicken (Intro)





Snooze (Outro)


The Stoner Side Of The Doom is the new album from Doom/Stoner Metallers Hemplifier. A band from Malta who' are made up of veterans of the local scene as far back as the 1990's. They state they love AMPS and VINTAGE GEAR which answers why their debut album is ferociously LOUD and full of DISTORTED GROOVES and AMPLIFIER FEEDBACK.

With an album called "The Stoner Side Of The Doom", you know what type of music that Hemplifier will play. However, there's more to Hemplifier's music than Stoner Metal and Doom Metal. The band also focus upon Psych Rock, Fuzz Rock, Grunge and Sludge Metal. The music is mostly FUZZ inspired with a lot of menacing groove that brings back memories of Electric Wizard, SLEEP, High On Fire and Black Sabbath. The "LOW & SLOW" approach is heard from the very start with tracks such as Headless Chicken and Brujo settling the scene. 

Opening song Headless Chicken is a slow Instrumental Doom/Stoner Metal piece with an atmospheric Post-Rock sound. There's a creepy element within the confinements of the track which is used in the later aspects of the album.

Second song Brujo opens with a FUZZ based sound inspired by Electric Wizard and SLEEP. A slow moving monster of a track with heavy amounts of punishing Sludgy based Doom/Stoner Metal. The track has an eerie Garage Rock vibe with Hemplifier playing at their own pace. The production values are quite raw and match the underground aesthetics superbly well. The harsh vocals appear in brief bursts of aggressive energy around the halfway point and they're mostly DOOM & GLOOM based. If you dig GUITAR REVERB and FUZZY DOOM soundscapes then Brujo offers the perfect track to become accustomed to Hemplifier's style of great music.

Third song Invocation is where Hemplifier offer the first of three tracks that run near or past the nine minutes mark. As they bring a more Progressive feel to the album. The grooves are more Classic Doom based with the modern day sounds relate to the Fuzz, Stoner and Sludgy aspects of the track. Adding a droned out MELVINS quality to the track, Hemplifier wisely pick their moments to play more riff-based grooves. As the song is mostly delivered by long drawn out guitars and subtle intricate drumming. The vocals are mostly clean based but with an OCCULT edge to them though they do change to a more primal style of CHANTS on the more gloomier moments.

Fourth song Gort continues the great work shown on Invocation but with a dominant Psychedelic Droned Out aspect. The song is cautiously slow yet again but Hemplifier use their love of AMPLIFIER DISTORTION and VINTAGE SOUNDS to great advantage for the heaviest parts of the album. The song is purely instrumental with a bleak slow-paced delivery allowing the listener to soak up that vital SLEEP/Black Sabbath inspired aggressive energy which comes out the most throughout the thrilling BASS HEAVY sounds.

The final two tracks Weedcraft and Snooze (Outro) allows Hemplifier to play their uncompromising blend of Down-tuned and Doomed Out Stoner Metal theatrics with absolute relish. This part of the album is perhaps the most sinister but the WEEDIAN CREATIVE themes shine brightly mostly on Weedcraft which is another one of the standout moments of the entire album.

The Stoner Side Of The Doom showcases everything we know and love from the Doom/Stoner Metal Underground Scene with Hemplifier's clever use of Sound Manipulation and Amplifier Feedback that all builds upto a highly volatile record that ultimately questions your sanity at times. However, this is a wonderfully LOUD and deceptive album which is helped along by excellent production values. 

Overall, Hemplifier have delivered the goods with The Stoner Side Of The Doom and the Underground Scene should welcome this band with open arms. As this is an absolutely thrilling gem of an album that offers many moments of volatile Sludge/Doom/Stoner Metal to fully lose yourself in.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Qabar PR for the promo.

The Stoner Side Of The Doom will be available to buy on DD/Vinyl via Electric Valley Records from Friday June 02nd 2023.


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