Review: Disastroid ‘Garden Creatures’

Even after forty years of listening to, and obsessing about, rock ‘n’ roll, I still come across a band whose name is so good, and so obvious, it leaves a listener wondering how on earth it’s taken this long for the name to be taken? San Francisco’s Disastroid, Enver Koneya on guitar and vocals, Travis Williams on bass and Braden McGraw on drums possess just such a name.

Disastroid 'Garden Creatures' Artwork
Disastroid ‘Garden Creatures’ Artwork

I was totally intrigued, I mean come on ‘Disastroid‘ for a heavy rock band? I wound up kicking myself for somehow missing them on Heavy Psych Sounds roster and when seeing them described as ‘90s grunge and noise, but with generous helpings of modern stoner rock, I had to check ‘em out. Their second album for Heavy Psych Sounds, Garden Creatures, more than lives up to the band’s description, as listening to this beast, I find myself hearing the band’s influences scattered all over the eight songs.

The record opens with the title track, as Disastroid instantly throw down the gauntlet with Garden Creatures, sounding like a combination of ‘90s New York heavy-noise crushers Unsane but mixed with generous helpings of modern Sasquatch, certainly with their ability to conjure up some chest-rumbling rock that is on the same sonic plane as the Los Angles veterans, but here guitarist/vocalist Enver Koneya sounds an awful lot like Sasquatch’s main man Keith Gibbs. In addition, there is an overlying aura of psychedelia permeating through the rumble.

The awesomely titled Stucco Nowhere takes its time getting started with some grunge guitar twinkling before unfurling into a pounding noise-fest in the chorus, again conjuring up Unsane, as well as hints of vastly underrated Seattle riff lords, TAD, certainly in Koneya’s guitar tone. Figurative Object also takes it’s time getting started, before they fall into a totally Amphetamine Reptile-style middle section, recalling the long-forgotten Tar, whose album Jackson was on heavy rotation for me in the early ‘90s.

the quasi-menacing fuzzy-rumble from the guitar and bass is cranked to eleven with the end result giving off mountain-moving vibes…

I’m unsure if Disastroid is being ironic here because the verse riff from Backwards Sleeping is practically note-for-note with Stone Temple Pilot’s ‘90s hit Vasoline with the vocal delivery during the verse sounding like a cross between STP’s Scott Weiland himself and Local H’s Scott Lucas. This may be the most deliberately ‘90s heavy rock song I have heard in a long time. As well, just wait until you hear the middle trip-out as Knoeya has got both the pipes and the riffs to deliver the goods.

24 does its best Soundgarden-meets-Alice in Chains impersonation, complete with a grunge swing on the drums from Williams, while the quasi-menacing fuzzy-rumble from the guitar and bass is cranked to eleven with the end result giving off mountain-moving vibes. While keeping with the albums natural flow, the band proceed to get weird as fuck with the psychedelic nod of Hold Me Wrong that rides a spaced out groove for the entirety of the song.

The penultimate Light ‘Em Up on the back of McGraw’s locked-in bass groove proved to be, dare-I-say, a Melvins-worthy heavy-grunge throwback, complete with distorted, in the background, drag-racing commentary, undoubtedly from the ‘70s and enough fuzzy riffage and low-end rumble to please even the most picky of heavy rockers. Closer, Jack Londonin’ is the obligatory noise-punk throwback ripper serving as a nice send off after the three heavy riff-nodders that came before it.

As a man of a certain age, and certainly one that spent a chunk of time of the ‘90s in Seattle, I can definitely say I dug the shit out of Garden Creatures as this record is almost a perfect blend of the band’s described sound of grunge and noise mixed with contemporary stoner rock vibes. It seems quite a few bands have tried to pull this off, as early grunge seems to be a cool throwback now, and I would argue, that early stoner rock did run parallel to grunge as bands like Soundgarden and Monster Magnet played together back then, but few have done it as deftly as Disastroid, who more than backed up their killer name with the grooves that lay within Garden Creatures.

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams