If you’re going to be bold enough to entitle your debut EP ‘Riffology’, then you’d better be willing to stick your E-strings on the line, point your trucker hats downwards and simply go for it in my book. Thankfully, in that riff-mongering respect, Mancunian stoner rockers Pist have a jib of which I most certainly do like the cut. This gun-toting four-piece are extremely new to the UK scene having only formed in December 2013 but bring forward a raft of experience in the form of vocalist Dave Rowlands and drummer Andy Hunt who’ve been playing together for the best part of ten years. After hooking up with confident guitarist John Nicholson and bass-plucker Michael Collins, this ballsy foursome quickly set about doing what men do best: drinking beer and jamming riffs.
Swampy grooves and stomping good times is what you get on ‘Riffology’ – a 5-track affair recorded at Jon Davis’ (Conan) SkyHammer Studios with the very much in-demand Chris Fielding behind the desk. Now backed by Gareth Kelly’s (Gurt) imprint When Planets Collide, it seems it’s definitely full-steam ahead for Pist. New ground broken, you shall not find here, but Pist sway and siddle around their material with conviction, a sense of purpose and a point to prove.
The head-nodding ‘Dispose’ and black-toothed opening grin of ‘Wither’ (which it has to be said are frighteningly similar tracks) both swagger around a plucky lead riff a-piece as Rowlands adeptly bellows his lungs out about “redemption”, “elation” and the subtle act of “disposing your bullshit”. Hunt and Collins sit neatly back in the pocket, alongside Nicholson’s blues-lapping riffage, bashing out the sorts of rhythms you’d expect of sHeavy, COC, Down, Crowbar, Fu Manchu or Clutch at their chirpiest and best. Indeed, there’s a distinctly U-S-of-A feel to everything that Pist put together; a bourbon drawl to Rowlands’ gritty twang behind the mic and an elongated strum to the riffs which always thankfully just stops short of going the whole hog and ending religiously on a Zakk Wylde/Dimebag Darrell buzzsaw motif. Drums-wise, we’re talking some seriously solid action from Hunt, who keeps a stiff pace throughout ‘Riffology’s boot-to-the-chin tenacity to groove.
Whilst mid-EP acoustic passage ‘Rats In Their Own Haunts’ veers a little too starkly towards rehashing Metallica’s ‘The Call Of The Ktulu’s opening, the pacey and bluesy ‘Gutter Slut’ hits like a slap on the chops in the cold. With a hangover. In Peckham. Rowlands growls throatily through the mic as Nicholson’s never-ending barrage of riffs rise and fall over Hunt’s bullocking drumwork. If you like a bit of Raging Speedhorn sauce with your sludge special, this one’s for you.
The closing eponymous dirge of ‘Pist’ is the definitive shot over the bow from the band. A circular, finger-lickin’ good riff chugs satisfyingly onwards as the band ooze confidence and pints of mild from every pore. There’s a definite sense that this track in particular is their best celebration of all that is good, proper and ‘eavy fuckin’ metul to date and its powerful, diesel-drowned bombast would no doubt make a brooding show-closer.
If you dig the speedier, brawlin’ n’ a-drawlin’ acts that have sprung up from around the UK sludge and stoner scene in the past five or so years (XII Boar, Gurt, Steak, Desert Storm, Baron Greenback, Lifer et al) then there’s a fine chance you’ll enjoy spitballin’ over Pist’s meaty cuts. ‘Riffology’ certainly doesn’t reinvent any wheels, but it never claims that it will either and for a free bandcamp download you could do far worse than check out this barrel of heavy hooks and crunching leads. From the band’s packed touring schedule for 2014 and an apparent collective prowess for organising gigs around the Greater Manchester area (including the recent FOAD Fest) you should certainly expect to see them cradling a pint in your local boozer sometime soon. As their namesake song suggests, Pist couldn’t care if “you want to join us, we’re just going to rock n’ roll”, but if I was you, I’d spend a penny getting pissed with Pist, one way or the other.
Scribed by: Pete Green