Green Hog Band are a three-piece based in Brooklyn, New York and consist of Ivan – vocals/bass guitar, Mike – lead guitar, and Ronan – drums/percussions. Mike and Ivan originate from Russia and according to a recent interview have been in the US for 8 years. Dogs From Hell is the band’s debut and features hand drawn artwork with a hog in a leather jacket astride a motorbike, intonating an unpretentious and grounded listening experience.
The album starts with Eclipse, a child’s clockwork toy opens the track before ball bustingly heavy psychedelic influenced sludge metal kicks you in the face. The chanted styled vocals of Ivan reminds me a little of Al Cisneros (Sleep/Om), while the tempo evokes and draws on the spirit of the latter of the two. Rat King is the shortest track on the album, and one of many sung in Russian. While I’m mystified as to the lyrical content, this doesn’t detract from the otherwise slamming stoner metal goodness. The vocals are a little rougher around the edges, akin to a harsher Lemmy or Dave Sherman (Spirit Caravan/Earthride), and this melds well with the groove laden riffs.
Dogs From Hell has a doomy vibe with some lovely subtle soloing from Mike that I could envisage sound-tracking the apocalypse, the band playing as the world burns ala Nero. Snake Mistress is an instrumental that takes its cues from the Middle-East, the band are quoted as saying that they wanted to play a ‘hypnotic riff that steals you from this reality’, and I can affirm that it most certainly does. You could imagine an undulating belly dancer accompanying this track, which is coincidental as Green Hog Band wish to feature one when they eventually return to live performances. Creatures opens with a sample stating ‘you’re evil, you’re doomed’ before leading into the track which has a Sleep Holy Mountain era feel to it evoking Matt Pike’s drone styled guitar playing.
a child’s clockwork toy opens the track [Eclipse] before ball bustingly heavy psychedelic influenced sludge metal kicks you in the face…
Machine is the longest and catchiest track on the album, for which a video has been made. What struck me the most was the grunge sound which recalled the woefully underrated Tad and their track Grease Box. Additionally there’s a biker rock influence (take a bow Steppenwolf) and one could imagine Hell’s Angel legend Sonny Barger listening to this as he’s riding through the vast American landscape.
Much like Electric Wizard, the band are very fond of samples and Shapeshifting Game starts with one that references marijuana and continues with a sound that would make old school Wizard fans misty eyed. Bong Tolkein was inspired by Mike watching The Hobbit and sonically, and thematically, resembles something akin to a slower High On Fire, conjuring up images of a fantastical world, which considering the madness currently consuming the planet, makes for a necessary piece of escapism. Green Hog Free Ride is a slow burner featuring motorcycle samples, pot references and concludes the album on a subdued note.
I tend to be rather selective when it comes to reviewing stoner/doom as I’m finding it an over saturated genre. While there were some of the traditional trademarks you’d associate with the genre, the album nonetheless felt fresh to me. The band’s image for one is not of guys dressed in bellbottoms blatantly aping the 70s but of tough, grizzled biker dudes that it would be advisable not to rile. Add in moments of melodic psychedelic loveliness and you have a surprising and enjoyable release that even the most jaded of stoner/doom fans will be able to appreciate.
Scribed by: Reza Mills