Keef – Stoned To Doom   Leave a comment

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With a album title like “Stoned To Doom”, is a review really necessary? The debut LP from Toronto’s Keef has all the elements that you would expect from a Stoner or a Doom album but there is a bit more to this band that the first impression gives. While they have the down-tuned Sabbath inspired riffs, the melodic vocals and the psychedelic tinged guitar solo’s, they also have a solid knowledge of how to make a catchy Hard Rock tune. The history is a little bit of a mystery, their Myspace site is not exactly bursting with information and Google searches didn’t tell me much either. One thing i do know is this disc is on the PsycheDOOMelic Records label, so that is almost a guarantee of quality right there. One element of Keef’s tunes that is clearly conspicuous is they seem to be playing it safe in some aspects of these songs. While that might sound a little negative, Keef is actually one of the few bands that the predictable approach works in the band’s favor due to the blend of styles that ranges from the 90’s desert rock sounds of Kyuss, the stoner-doom plod of Sleep to more straight-up biker metal in the vein of Orange Goblin. What you are left with is a album that covers all the bases so no chance of getting bored here.

Keef play pretty much straight from the heart especially in songs like “Evil Dread” which has anticipated riffs and vocals but the grooves of a band that obviously know what they are doing and seem to be having a killer time doing it. Stand out tracks like “Noise Bleed” and “The Green Shade” are delivered with real passion and a sense of Stoner-Doom integrity especially “The Green Shade” that is driven by some excellent drumming and accomplished guitar work. The other highpoint has to go to “Never Smile” which sounds like a long lost moment in desert rock history. Elsewhere on the “Stoned To Doom” disc, the band treads the stoner waters a little. “Animal Control” and “State Trooper” are a little too familiar in structure to get too excited about. Nothing bad about them but they both lack that essential ingredient to push the songs to the true level of greatness. Having stigmatize the disc with those comments, i must say even the worse tracks on this album still kick enough ass to be more than simply “filler”.

What makes the tunes work mostly is a laid back doomish groove similar to the mid-tempo tracks of bands like Goatsnake, its heavy, doomy but with infectious melodies. The vocals of Gregory Cochrane have a real charisma about them and the guitar work of Richard Harris is about as diverse as you can get within the framework of these songs. The bass/drum duo of John Kendrick and Ilios Steryannis are solid with the drums especially being very vigorous at times. What is also important to mention is while this band will get the Stoner/Doom tag whether they like that or not, they also have enough generic metal elements to entertained the Heavy Metal purist. The only real downside to the album is the production, its no pussy but its no beast either. Its a album that must be cranked up a notch louder than usual to fully enjoy as i found the production to be a little thin and flat. Maybe i have been listening to heavy sounds too long and its screwed my hearing but something is a little weak in the mix of this album. Putting that aside however, this is still a worthy addition to your collection of Stoner and Doom disc’s. When you have a band that is so obviously accomplished, the songs win you over pretty damn quick and “Stoned To Doom” has eight killer tunes out of ten which suits me fine. Check it out. 8/10
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Posted July 19, 2010 by doommantia in Keef

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