Review: The Beard ‘EP – 01’

I moved to the Appalachian Mountains almost three years ago. The longer I live here the more I see (or hear) stoner and doom is weaving its roots deep into the mountains. The Beard, a four-piece from Asheville, North Carolina, is a prime example of this. Shawn McCoy (vocals, lead guitar), Brad Justice (rhythm guitar), Fred Hensley (drums), and Brett Spivey (bass) got together, wrote, recorded, produced, and released EP – 01 which is carving a path for their own root branch.

The Beard 'EP - 01'

The Beard is a simple and memorable band name. Plus, I instantly thought of Red Beard Wall and if the music that lies within is anything close to the magic of that band, then I knew I was in for a treat. However, other than the heavy chugging riffs (and Beard in the band name), the comparison stops there. Aaron screams his heart out in Red Beard Wall, while vocalist McCoy takes a more serene approach. It provides a nice contrast to the heavy music. I enjoy music that touches extreme ends of the sonic spectrum and The Beard reach for both ends.

Long intros, big sounding crescendos, and varying dynamics in tone and volume are aspects of music I search for when listening to new music. But sometimes I want to crank the volume to 11, feel the power of the music pulsate through the speakers, and share it with the neighbors. If you’re in that mood, then The Beard is for you.

This three-song EP overflows with chugging riffs…

This three-song EP overflows with chugging riffs. The intro riff of Astronot is one of my favorites and sets the mood immediately. The driving force behind it gets your head banging right away. McCoy’s visceral vocals lay back in the mix slightly giving a spacey feel. Drink The Sun and Again follow a similar formula with memorable riffs and long droning vocals. A perfect contrast. Drink The Sun adds a well-executed solo by McCoy that’s more on the melodic side.

Hensley and Spivey are the dynamic duo of rhythm with blasting beats and heavy low end that is the core of what is felt at high volume. Mixed with the doubling fuzzed out riffs of Justice and McCoy (there’s a good band name too) the wall of sound could break the sound barrier if not controlled.

I will say, most songs I listen to are longer than this entire EP. Clocking in at just about seventeen minutes, that would be one of four YOB songs played live. However, if you want to keep rocking out with The Beard, the good news is this EP 01 is the first to drop in a four-part series, so more head banging music is on its way.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: Josh Schneider