It's safe to say that the Doom revival which began a few years back has […]
By Danny Sanderson
April 15, 2015
Dopethrone - Hochelaga album cover

It's safe to say that the Doom revival which began a few years back has helped benefit the overall Metal scene for a variety of reasons. First and certainly foremost, fans have gotten some absolutely great music out of it, from Occult Rock acts through to Stoner bands. And just as importantly, it's given established acts a chance to play to bigger audiences. One band that have begun to enter the periphery of fans from this particular corner of the Metal spectrum is the Montreal based Stoner Metal band DOPETHRONE; formed in 2008, and named after arguably one of the genres most widely regarded and loved albums, this trippy trio have been producing some of the gnarliest, thickest and groovy Stoner Metal that you'll find. They've gone from strength to strength with each record, and have had an almost meteoric rise within the Stoner/Doom underground. And "Hochelaga", their fourth full length, might just be the bands biggest and best album to date.

Opener "Sludgekicker" opens on a dark, tar-like guitar riff after a short but interesting atmospheric intro, and shows that even though they are their own entity, their sound is still rooted somewhat in ELECTRIC WIZARD worship. Vincent's acid snarl and the slow, rhythmic dirge of the bass and drums all make this track amazing, and it's an awesome track to begin the album with. It's everything you'd expect from a DOPETHRONE song; dozens of awesome, groovy riffs and a really thick, heavy tone. "Chameleon Witch", likewise, has this same, thick guitar tone that really works with Stoner Metal. It trudges along with the confident swagger of a band that knows that they're doing it right, and at points the music is mesmerizing, and it's really easy to get sucked into the music and become immersed in it. "Vagabong" has all the makings of a classic track, with catchy, groovy guitar and bass lines, and some really cool vocals to boot. The musicianship really comes to a head at certain points on this record, especially on the solo, and it shows that the band can carve out their own niche within the genre whilst still maintaining the core sound. "Scum Fuck Blues" is built around a slow, chunky, chilled out riff, before morphing into a visceral, vicious piece of music. The opening line of the song, "Smoke, Drink, Die!", is repeated throughout the track at different points like some kind of mantra, and it's clear even after only a couple of listens that this track will most definitely become a crowd favourite, and perhaps even one of the cornerstones of their live set.

The song that comes after it, "Dry Hitter", starts as a discordant guitar drone, and the riff slowly begins to form from it. This song is another absolute belter, with the riffs of BLACK SABBATH coupled with the raw, Punk ferocity of GG ALLIN, which blend together well to produce one of the stand out tracks on this album. And the sound on the bass, which is very prominent in the mix on this one, sounds awesome, and really makes the track brilliant. Sometimes, a really cool bass line with a great tone can really make a track that much better, and luckily Vyk has both in abundance at various points on this record. "Bullets", which opens on the clear recognizable and foreboding sound of the four minute warning, which leads directly into a strong track with all the hallmarks of a great song about it. At this point in the album, the music is reaching its climax, and this song perfectly builds the listener up for the final offering; the album's closing number, "Riff Dealer", a song which certainly lives up to its name. There are plenty of guitar hooks thrown into this one that help to bring this album to a head, and it's a great note to end on.

This is another really strong release from a great band. With any luck this album might just bring with it the wider acclaim and larger audiences that this band thoroughly deserves. Stoner fans take note; this band will probably become the new face of Stoner Doom in years to come.

8 / 10


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"Hochelaga" Track-listing:

1. Sludgekicker
2. Chameleon Witch
3. Vagabong
4. Scum Fuck Blues
5. Dry Hitter
6. Bullets
7. Riff Dealer

Dopethrone Lineup:

Vyk- Bass
Big Borman- Drums
Vincent Houde- Vocals, Guitars

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