Review: Mean Green ‘Mean Green’

I was recently introduced to a band named Mean Green when we here at The Shaman premiered the track Crow as well as through the Doom Charts contributors group that I’m a part of. I gave them a cursory listen, and afterwards, I knew that I had to review their album. Bandcamp tells us they’re ‘a 3-piece stoner doom band for fans of Sleep, Weedeater, Windhand, and Acid King, and consists of members Jake Helms on guitar and vocals, Alex Wierback on bass, and James Matthews on drums.’

Mean Green 'Mean Green'

It goes on to further explain that, this, their debut self-titled long-player ‘is a full length album consisting of songs written in the first year of the band’s forming. Mean Green wrote this album to convey a stripped down and bare bones look at sludge, stoner, and doom metal. Relying heavily on tone and a slow moving freight train like tempo for most of their songs, they bring their own twist on the genre. With crushing guitar tone, wall shaking low end, bludgeoning percussion, and growling vocals, this album is a first look into the roots and inspiration of Mean Green.’

Law will appeal to anyone who likes stoner metal in the vein of Weedeater, but it’s not so much like them that Mean Green sounds like a clone; they definitely have their own sound and feel. The gritty vocal approach is excellent, fitting the doomy stoner music perfectly, and the lyrical content is all about that one chick that we’ve all met at least one of. The kind that likes to party hard, and might be a little crazy on the side, take the second verse for example …

‘My baby she don’t treat me so good, wouldn’t control her even if I could, she’s all in, likes going fast, never coming in last, she smokes good weed, shoots whiskey straight, she’s all in’.

I dig that Helms says he wouldn’t control her even if he could, showing that he and, if I’m being honest, most men gravitate towards strong willed women. These types of girls, and the guys that are like them, are fun as hell to be around.

Crow is quite similar to Law in style and execution. There’s a slow tempo, and the riffs will just crush your head with their fuzzy tones. At the halfway point, Mean Green drops the distortion in favor of a brief and somewhat clean guitar interlude. I like that this breaks up the heavy for a moment, adding in just the right amount of dynamics to keep people interested. The guitar solo is also totally badass, and aptly suited to the track.

The music is massive sounding, the guitars create a fuzzy wall of sound with a slow tempo and groove…

Mean Green is eight minutes of heavy stoner metal that is as hard hitting as any of the other tracks around it, it is also what I believe to be the best one on this record. There’s plenty of diversity in the heavy riffs, as well as some of the best vocal work offered. I seriously thought he was going to do some ‘pig squealing’, but instead he just rode the very outer borders of that style in a few spots, adding a sound that we hadn’t heard on the first two songs. This tune gets replayed several times in a row anytime that I put the album on, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’m the only one to do so.

The last track of the seven is called The Deal, and I know what you’re thinking, it’s about making a deal with Satan. Well, if that’s true, then you are totally correct, as this one is about meeting the one with many names in order to offer up the subject’s soul in exchange for fulfilling his desires. I could envision none other than Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider meeting the man in black at the crossroads as I read the lyrics to the second verse… 

‘Dressed in black with a wicked smile, made me feel at ease, he said I can do for you what you ask, my price is a soul just sign this contract, signed in blood my life away, at such a cost I will have to pay’.

The music is massive sounding, the guitars create a fuzzy wall of sound with a slow tempo and groove. As with Crow, Mean Green breaks things up with a more laid-back guitar part before getting back to their brand of stoner doom power, and the lead break is the perfect companion to the song. They speed things up at the end to create a metal vibe that releases listeners, while making them want more at the same time.

Mean Green’s first release is one of the better debut albums of its kind. They may lean into their influences a bit, but they also create their own identity in the process, a feat that isn’t always easy to accomplish. March 24th is the release date, which is today, so head over to their Bandcamp profile and give this new band a bit of your time. Enjoy!!!

Label: Independent
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Tom Hanno