Three things you need to know about Dopefight
1) They’re a 3 piece stoner sludge outfit from Brighton
2) They like…no, they LOVE weed!!!
3) They’re fucking awesome!!!!
The first thing that strikes you about the release is the packaging. Aside from a narrow black strip on the front with some vague recording details, the entire cover is taken up with a picture of a batch of weed. Open this little sucker up and remove the disc and the inlay tray is a photo of a batch of weed. Pull out the booklet and the back and inside are photos of a batch of weed. Flip this over and look at the back cover and you get…a track listing and a Chinese takeaway!!! Once you’ve done all the weed, indulge the munchies!!! This basically makes Bongzilla look like a bunch of dope amateurs…this is dedication to Mary Jane at an almost professional level.
So now you may be thinking that, with all the THC in their veins these guys may not be capable of creating anything more than a sub Sleep monotonous drone. Fear not as this album is wall to wall riffage of the highest quality. Dopefight bridge the gap between the out and out sludge of Eyehategod and the stoner aesthetics of Acrimony. Where this style of music may in general be in danger of being over played, Dopefight have a real knack with a catchy riff. I suspect with all the smoking their short term memories are totally fucked so only the most memorable of riffs make it through the filter. The whole thing has more weight than Oprah Winfrey getting spit roasted by Pavarotti and John Prescott and is topped off by a thick production that gives the guitars room to breath and drums that literally make your sphincter pulsate!!!
Dopefight have an innate sense of dynamics. They appreciate that it doesn’t always have to move at a crawl to be heavy and throw in enough changes of pace to keep the listener on the edge of their seats. “Slu ‘n’ Mop” pretty much runs the gamut from a droney, almost Gregorian intro, to full on doom to a driving wall of crunch. Vocals are kept to a minimum preferring to let the music do the talking, but when they do appear it’s not the insane screeching or growling you may expect. Instead the voice is steeped in hardcore intensity combining brutality with articulation and coming across like a mixture of Taint’s Jimbob and the weird dude out of Church of Misery.
Clearly the band have their eyes on the bigger picture and are more than ready to leave their hometown behind. The fact that it is eulogised in the sub 2 minute hardcore rant of “Brighton Town is a Fuckin’ Whore”, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it blast of quick fire riffs and bellowed vocals, shows that Dopefight are not just another band content to be the big fish in a small hometown pond. Elsewhere “La Mano Del Daemon” is everything that Electric Wizard would love to be but somehow fail by not quite being good enough…horror doom clashes with grinding intensity. “Jock Witch” bizarrely starts off sounding like some weird ass Tom Waits outtake complete with twangy lo-fi acoustics before crowning with a behemoth of a groove. Special mention has to go to drummer Ant Cole here whose dexterity and flair lifts Dopefight into greater heights of style and proficiency. Just so he doesn’t get big headed it has to be said that Owen Fareye Karti shits riffs with the frequency and quality that Tony Iommi used to in the early days of Sabbath and bassist Epic-fail Hale underpins the whole shebang with a stomach churning growl.
Dopefight have managed to push themselves through a weed induced haze and produce an album on their own terms that competes both musically and in terms of presentation with anything you’re likely to find on some of the so-called bigger labels. It would be easy to dismiss them on the strength of their “image” as a bunch of slackers but to do this would do them a huge disservice as this is one of the more impressive self released offerings I’ve heard from a UK band in a very long time. Buy it, stick it on, crank it and blaze one up!!!
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall