Monday, March 4, 2013

REVIEW: VAPORIZER - S/T



In a world where genres are hacked to pieces and stitched back together with hyphens I can easily say that Vaporizer are heavy metal. If you go hunting for sub-genres you will find them, but this is honest metal raised on meat, potatoes, and the wackiest of tobaccy.

Born in (the blackest forests surrounding) Burlington, VT, this quintet has vowed to “worship the weed god” and “party forever,” as their Facebook page reiterates multiple times. This is no trivial quest and lives have been dedicated to far less. The songs on their six track EP are crafted from an immortal love for the deity of reefer, a romance frowned upon in some (or most) states. I mean, who says you can’t love the dried version of a plant? I heard a lady was trying her damnedest to legally marry a roller coaster in Pennsylvania, and I can even appreciate the romance in that.

But this undying Peter Parker-esque adoration for Mary Jane has not at all softened the tales of treacherous woodlands and lethal creatures catalogued on their album. These songs pummel you into the battlefield soil and heal you with just enough melody to build your strength and trample you again. Songs like “Horn of the Narwhal” and “Beast With two Backs” feel like they could put you in a headlock so tight they could pop your tiny little noggin straight off your spine, but they might just give you a noogie and offer you a toke. The songs have muscle and momentum, they gallop into battle and don’t stop to enjoy the scenery. They enchant listeners with equal shares of melodic grandeur, neck-breaking groove and gut-punching ferocity with a true sense of purpose: Rocking you so hard you spill your Switchback Ale all over yourself.

Vocalist Dan Davidson sounds like an ancient warlock driven to the precipice of insanity. His range is impressive, from the gnarliest grunts to raspy shrieks that offer hints of Chance Garnette’s best work with Skeletonwitch. If you didn’t fear a narwhal before, Mr. Davidson will make you shit your britches when the beast appears in their song. I also need to say this band’s merch is gorgeously drawn by their talented drummer, Eli Wood. As a drummer and illustrator, though not nearly as skilled, I couldn’t let that plug squirm away from me. As for the guitars: They cut through cannon smoke and deliver massive hooks that you’ll hum hours after the battle ends. These guys have the chops and ingenuity to write no-nonsense metal anthems that feel totally effortless, when they’re anything but. These songs may not change your life, but they will give you a totally awesome buzz.

In the end, Vaporizer feel absolutely sincere while still playing with a smile on their faces, they’re aggressive without projecting menace. I was lucky enough to catch Vaporizer playing with Vektor recently at Saint Vitus, my absolute favorite haunt in the NYC area. They were playing on Valentine’s Day and while I don’t celebrate this holiday my girlfriend did accompany me for her very first metal show. Even she, who grimaces at the growls and screams of most extreme music acts, came away looking to endorse Vaporizer’s music. I guess if I was forced at sabre-point to pick a genre for Vaporizer it would be Gateway Metal. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Go listen to Vaporizer immediately at: http://vaporizer.bandcamp.com/
And learn more about these crazy gents at: http://www.vaporizermetal.com/

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