North Carolina dirt merchants Weedeater recently unleashed their fourth album of fuzzed out sonic excess ‘Jason…The Dragon’. As the album title suggests the band stays true to their tongue-in-cheek approach, which makes a refreshing change from the legions of ‘posing in leather and sunglasses’ metal bands that grace the covers of overpriced magazines, looking moody, trying to say something about their bands’ insightful and satirical message regarding politics or religion and failing miserably. Besides Weedeater are br00tal; Dixie Collins infamously shot his toe off with a shotgun, sparking their 2010 ‘9 Toe Tour’.
Bitching about metal aside, Weedeater’s sound has basically stuck with the formula of their previous album ‘God Luck and Good Speed’. For anyone who thinks that’s a bad thing, it probably isn’t. While many bands can suffer from trying too hard for a certain sound, Weedeater know what works for them. Their fairly prolific status for a band in the sludge genre has arisen from their crushingly heavy sound. They combine huge riffs with psychosis-infused stomping blues and bass as heavy as a few fat elephants in a skip, topped off with thunderous beats and Dixie’s dangerously damaged sounding Southern bile vocals.
‘Jason…’, whilst sitting in the same vein as its predecessor, offers up some golden moments which rest easy amongst the bands best work. The album starts at a crawl with ‘Hammerhandle’ and gains momentum. The first five tracks relentlessly pummel the listener’s ears with a variety of grooves mixed with the occasional faster section to keep the album fresh.
For me the album reaches its highest point with the title track, before settling down into ‘Palms and Opium’, which is, erm, a Hawaiian beach song that Dixie wrote while chillin’ on the opiates for his toe. For the most part the album is loud n’ heavy as expected; a few tracks, however, including ‘Palms…’ and ‘Whiskey Creek’, sit among the anomalies of ‘Woe Is Me’ from ‘Sixteen Tons’ and ‘Alone’ from ‘God Luck…’. Whilst some people seem to be bothered that Weedeater aren’t doing the heavy thing in these songs, its easy to see the band are making the music that they want to, which is how it should be. Besides, I fucking like those tracks. ‘Whiskey Creek’ closes the album with a bit o’ light hearted banjo playing with the noises of what sounds like a swamp in the background, emphasising the bands roots down south.
While I have no qualms with the eclectic nature of the album, it does feel a little short on the whole, and while 35 minutes doesn’t sound too bad, it might have benefitted by having another track thrown into the fray, due to the first track being a spoken intro and another being a humorously titled drum solo, ‘March of the Bipolar Bear’. That’s not to say the album disappoints by any means; the albums very listenable and shouldn’t have you swapping halfway through, which makes it a good one to start on if you’re new to the band. Weedeater’s home grown strain of sludge should have you coming back for a fair few hits regardless.