Review: WyndRider ‘WyndRider’

I’ve always enjoyed female vocalists in stoner and doom. The dichotomy of heavy riffs, plodding tempos, and female voices across the top go together like peanut butter and jelly. And whilst I don’t seek out bands based solely on this criterion, more often than not, I wind up becoming a fan when exposed to a female-fronted stoner band.

WyndRider 'WyndRider'

From OG genre leaders like Lori S of Acid King, and later Dorthia Cottrell of Windhand, to contemporaries like the ladies of Blackwater Holylight and Siân Greenaway of Alunah, female-fronted stoner doom bands are always welcome on the turntable. Here, we have the self-released debut of Tennessee’s WyndRider, and their vocalist Chloe Gould who immediately shows that she belongs next to her peers. Gould possesses more of a big rock voice, like the aforementioned Greenaway, rather than Lori’s more ethereal, floaty approach.

Opener Pit Witch instantly shows off some powerful, fuzzed-out riffage from guitarist Robbie Willis before Gould’s rock goddess pipes invade the listener’s ear holes. The track serves as a fine mission statement to open this Self-Titled album showcasing the dichotomy of Gould’s voice and Willis’ guitar, to say nothing of the plodding Sabbath-style rhythm section of bassist Joshuwah Herald and drummer Richard Bucher. Speaking of Sabbath, Pit Witch eventually veers off into a Vol. 4-esque bash-fest to bring things to a close.

Gould’s vocals really soar on the plodding fuzz-fest of Snake Children as Willis serves up some nice bluesy shred complimenting her vocals well. Creator meanwhile is another mid-tempo plodding basher, opening with a menacing bass line, however, it’s not long before the now-familiar fuzzed-out guitar tone rises to the aural surface. The vocals, while still sounding powerful, take a slightly less soaring approach to nice effect.

excellent Sabbath-style stoner, doom and fuzz, with an undercurrent of southern malevolence…

Elsewhere, Strangled By Smoke (great title, surprised I’m just hearing this now in 2023) once again showcases the stellar guitar tone and riffage and vocals, while Mother In Horns serves up some slower, bluesy, riffage, giving off some nice ‘dirty south’ energy, allowing Bucher to really lean into his bash-fest approach. The vocals soar throughout, but take it up a level on the chorus, as again the voice and guitar tone form a sweet sonic partnership. Electrophillia continues the ‘dirty south’ vibes, but with more monster fuzz, as Gould belts it out again, although tempo-wise, we find ourselves still in a caveman thud, and while absorbing the album,I had to check the track listing a few times as the songs flow from one to the other.

Sleeping Wizard sounds like its title, Herald’s bass lines forming the body of this tripped-out and spacey musical interlude that builds before unfolding into closer Space Paper – Acid Saloon, which features everything WyndRider have presented the listener thus far; Gould’s soaring, rock-goddess vocals, Willis’ uber-fuzzy riffage coupled with Hearld and Bucher’s best Vol. 4 style bash-and-thud rhythm section. WyndRider even picks up the tempo, really leaning into the Sabbath influence, and  I hear a little Corrosion of Conformity as well.

WyndRider is a solid debut, but I do think the record and songs could’ve benefitted from some more tempo changes and dynamics, as like I mentioned, most of the record plods along with the same mid-paced, Sabbath thud. However, both Gould and Willis really stand out, the satanic-panic lyrics are delivered with conviction, authority, and yes, those rock-Valkyrie pipes. Willis clearly has figured out his tone, and WyndRider, as a unit, deliver some excellent Sabbath-style stoner, doom and fuzz, with an undercurrent of southern malevolence that’s pretty convincing.

If you’re looking for some genre-pushing, progressive sounds, WyndRider may not be that record, but it is a solid slab of southern stoner doom that possesses two secret weapons in Gould‘s vocals and Willis‘ guitar fuzz.

Label: Independent
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Martin Williams