I first encountered New York’s (by way of Russia) Green Hog Band via their 2020 debut Dogs From Hell which I reviewed for The Sleeping Shaman. Since then, the band have been busy with a slew of releases including the Forest Sessions EP, the Dark Territory EP, a split with Opium Warlock and the Devil’s Luck full-length. The line-up remains the same, but for a quick recap consists of Ivan Antipov – vocals/bass, Mike Vivisector – guitars/lyrics, and Ronan Berry on drums/percussions.
Since the release of the aforementioned debut, the band have suffered a tremendous loss in the form of Mike’s partner (and Ivan’s mother) Lena Ant who sadly passed away early last year, it is to her memory that I would like to dedicate this review. Rest in Peace.
Dragon was written at a time when a sense of impending war was in the air and to which the lyrics testify ‘The dark shadow will cover the sun, under the thunderous roar of thunder’, coincidentally (or not) the conflict unfolded around the time that Dragon was released as a preview single. It is an ominous sounding lumbering beast of a track, with heavy Tony Iommi riffing and Ivan‘s trademark gruff vocals. Even if you have grown weary and frankly bored by the sheer amount of doom and stoner metal doing the rounds, there is no way you’ll be able to resist a track as good as this.
Iron Horses starts with the rumbling of motorbikes and is predominantly an instrumental with the odd sample slotted in for good measure. I was reminded of fellow New Yorkers Sonic Taboo, what with the bike obsession and twisted metallic psychedelia. It is certainly a little lighter in tone than its predecessor and certainly not as pounding, but it makes for a fun jam which helps to brighten the album’s mood. Crypt Of Doom recalls early Soundgarden, especially the track Incessant Mace from that band’s underrated Ultramega OK debut and there is definitely a grunge feel about it, albeit the heavier end of the genre. Throw in some Gruntruck, and Tad too, and you’ll soon get the picture.
an ominous sounding lumbering beast…
Heavier Than Mercury is a pretty bold statement and if Corrosion of Conformity’s Southern fried vibes are your bag, then you will absolutely love this number as it truly evokes the spirit of classic COC tracks such as Albatross, all that is missing is Pepper Keenan’s whiskey-soaked vocals. Sweet Tea, Banana Bread is bluesy stoner rock that reminds one of mid 90s Cathedral and boogies along ZZ Top style. It’s fun and after the band’s recent familial loss, one can’t begrudge them for wanting to smile again with this slice of pure silliness.
Leviathan at well over seven minutes is the longest track on the album and bears a similarity to Dying Inside by Saint Vitus in terms of classic doom metal while New Year Massacre feels like the perfect accompaniment to any number of classic horror movies, especially with the chainsaw sound effects and general eerie atmospherics conjured up. There isn’t a lot to say about Day After except it brings the album full circle in a reassuringly crushing heavy manner.
Green Hog Band are quoted as saying that ‘this latest addition expands the horizons on our exploration in the realms of stoner doom’ and while they may seem initially like yet another ball bustingly heavy stoner/doom outfit, scratch the surface and you’ll find some nice subtle musical detours along the way, which will help to keep you coming back for more.
Scribed by: Reza Mills