Given that the press release successfully says an awful lot whilst simultaneously telling you nothing means that you’re very much on your own when it comes to listening to Deadweight’s (now called Grel) ‘the red sun god’ EP for the first time. That’s fine though, sometimes it’s better to experience a band without the weight of press-release hyperbole ringing in your ears and skewing expectations of what a band is actually capable of achieving. What you can say for certain from the outset is that Deadweight/Grel are a band who take the artwork of Pink Floyd and Queens of the stone age as their visual cue and that the EP offers up six tracks that suggest a herbally enhanced view of the world via titles such as ‘cosmic lunch’ and ‘stone frog’.
The EP opens up with ‘lady’ which sounds as if it has been beamed in from Woodstock with its Elton John meets Robert Plant vocals (that is, back when Elton rocked), stormy percussion and rich Hammond organ all combining over creamy bass and raw, distorted guitar. Heroic solos played by bare chested warriors, full-throated screams and more than a whiff of patchouli bring to mind those masters of vintage rock, Black Crowes alongside elements of Led Zeppelin, Free and The Who and there’s no question that the band are lost in the world of bell bottoms, over-sized moustaches and long, flowing hair. The brilliantly titled ‘cosmic lunch’ does little to dispel this notion with its stupidly huge riffs sounding as if they’re being poured from the speaker cabinets of a thousand overheating Marshalls, even whilst the cacophonous percussion, unamplified, holds its own against the storm of amplified chaos. The vocals, similarly, are unleashed with lascivious glee, sounding raunchy and untameable as solos tear and rent the surface of the song with barely controlled aggression. ‘Stone frog’ is a rather more whimsical number that is rooted in the psychedelic insanity of Thirteenth Floor Elevators filtered through the electric fury of Black Sabbath. If you have ever appreciated the work of Kyuss, QOTSA or Sleep then this will most certainly become your favourite new band within a matter of moments.
With half the EP dispensed with, things are moving quickly and we hit up against ‘silver buckle’, a trippy, bass-led monster that channels Jim Morrison through Josh Homme’s riffs to create a brilliantly dizzying experience that falls between the Door’s creepy mysticism, Sonic Youth’s experimental oeuvre and Kyuss at their most whacked out on mescaline (think ‘welcome to sky valley’ and you’re in the ballpark) – needless to say (but no doubt you’ll say it anyway – ed.) it is awesome, particularly as you move into tribal beats and poetry at the song’s conclusion. ‘Astro cannibalism’ (another ace title) segues straight out of the bewildering end of the previous track, hitting home with real force thanks to a blistering riff coated in wah and delivered with a foot-astride-the-monitor attitude soaked in sweat and testosterone, all of which is guaranteed to get you swinging your hair vigorously. The final track (which arrives all too quickly) is ‘Gannymead’, a Monster-Magnet-Worshipping-Sleep-worshipping Black Sabbath monstrosity brimming over with the unwieldy tremolo of the organ and bruised guitar and overtopped with a glorious array of variations on the stoner battle cry of “oh ye-ah!”. It’s a brilliant ending to an EP that you, frankly, don’t want to end and it leaves you gagging for more.
Overall, then, the Deadweight/Grel EP does what all good EPs should do – it introduces you to the band, stuns you with their sweet-smelling riffs and tight-trousered vocals and then leaves you wanting to hear much more in the future. On the strength of these monumentally battered songs, Deadweight/Grel have the passion, the power and the imagination to craft one hell of an album and, as the press release promises, they truly will become your new favourite band. Deadweight are one band to whose leafy altar you should flock – don’t miss out!
Find the band here… and do so now, the Sun God commands you…
Hell – don’t take our word for it: listen to the EP right now!!!