Review: Jahbulong ‘Eclectic Poison Tones’

The second album from Jahbulong, a Verona, Italy trio that brings us four relaxed and expansive songs, with a nod to Giordano Bruno and the tarot, but without labouring the ‘occult’ label that has been in vogue this last while. My notes say ‘Ronseal, mate’.

Jahbulong 'Eclectic Poison Tones'

In fact there’s none of the camp and pretence that mars (for me) that branch of today’s doom – Eclectic Poison Tones is at home in the primitive fuzz and stoner roll. And tones there are a-plenty, this isn’t an amplifier-worship album of overwhelm, but Jahbulong find a solid 12” worth of fat fuzz bass and overdriven guitar, unison riffs and drifting solos.

The drums sit with plenty of space in the mix and the lack of CRUSH is blissful. In this mellow space there’s an engaging ‘in-the-room’ feel, each element adding immediacy, shuffling snare and rolling toms that energise, and distortion that we can revel in, rather than be swamped by. In fact there’s so much room in the mix that there’s space for a bit of organ courtesy of Cristian Barbazeni on a couple of songs to complement the strings and low-key vocals, but only a little bit, Jahbulong don’t want to over-complicate the arrangements. If this sounds like I’m saying it’s not heavy however, make no mistake, here be riffs and groove galore.

classic heavy blues and given it their own spin…

The band are upfront that their sound draws heavily on Black Sabbath, Sleep, Electric Wizard – certainly no surprise for any proper stoner-doom outfit. They also mention some 90s grunge influence, and building on that I’d add Windhand as a point of reference for Eclectic Poison Tones, not so much for the depth of emotion, as its always-weighted with a slacker feel. And yes, all those bands are perhaps also ‘in-the-room’ and watching, but Nicolò Bonato (drums), Martino Tomelini (bass) and Pierpaolo ‘Paul Vinegar’ Modena (guitars, vocals) have taken that classic heavy blues and given it their own spin.

The interesting thing is how they‘ve managed this through stripping-back and moderation, where the impulse of many doom bands has been to tune down and turn up, to pile on the layers of guitar, or invest in eeeevil imagery. Is there such a thing as tasteful stoner-doom?

In the press release from Go Down Records they encourage us to ‘get stoned’ before giving this one a spin, and while of course I have no idea what they might mean, I suspect that adventurous souls, with a yen for the good old days of doom, may find a pleasing synergistic effect from taking their advice.

Label: Go Down Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Harry Holmes