Sandia Man – S/T …   2 comments

The family of primates called man who reached human status in Asia, Africa, or Europe, came relatively late to North America. Scattered fossils of individuals—notably the famed “Minnesota Maid” who apparently fell or was thrown into a Glacial Period lake —have been dated as having lived 10,000 to 20,000 years ago. They called them Sandia Man but so far there has been no remains of the man himself found except for this trio of musicians in New Mexico playing doom-laden rock. The name Sandia Man is some way is very fitting, the music they play is primitive but in a good way. On their Myspace page they described themselves as Proto-Metallic Caveman Rock and there is something very primal about the tunes on this self-titled album. But what style are they, that is a tough question. They are not really doom, not really straight stoner-metal, not really sludge either but blend all three styles to their advantage, in one word this is heavy. Two of the three members played together in an earlier line-up of Devil Riding Shotgun so they were already locked in together as musicians and it shows on this recording as there is some tight grooves throughout the 6 tracks. One listen to this and you can tell these guys worship the altar of all things Wino as at times it is a little like The Obsessed, other times The Hidden Hand but there is also a third element in there that has so far escaped me, an original element that defy’s description.

Guitarist/vocalist Alan Edmonds seems to be the main star of the show, dishing out primal riffs and vocals that go along with the “caveman rock” tag. Those vocals will be the sticking point for a lot of people but everybody would have to love the guitar sound on this. This is some low-down dirty heavy guitar that deliver riffs that remind me of early Celtic Frost/Hellhammer kind of dirge but with a 90’s stoner-metal edge. Starting with “Skins of the Fathers” which is based on a Clive Barker story, it begins with a lengthy spoken word intro before a bass line comes rumbling in followed by a twisting Sabbathian styled riff. The vocals are truly unique, they low and deep but not growling, they are half-spoken most of the time and have a quirky sound to them. At first it throws you a curveball but within a couple of songs they become an essential element within the music and one of the keys to making this a highly unique collection of songs. “Skins of the Fathers” is pretty typical of the album, it walks the fine line between doom and sludge without really sounding like either. “The Crows” is a plodding tune played in true Wino-Place Of Skulls-The Obsessed-Crowbar style, it is not big on flashy riffs but its more about letting riffs ring and vibrate out with their bottom-ended fuzzy goodness. Solo’s likewise are also not flashy, most of them are raw and sound like they were played off-the-cuff but that gives the songs an organic live-feel which I love in music.

The only song that breaks their typical formula is the epic “Plaguewind/Endtime Endgame” which is still a sludgy, slithering riff-fest for the most part but it is noticeably more complex than the other tunes and also more varied in its arrangement. This song also uses the bass playing of Steven “Sven” Esterly as a lead instrument as it drives this song along just as much as the guitar does and I have to say that is a big feature of this album. The bass is always right up in the mix and is always a focal point, it is not just there to fill out the sound but to push the riffs out as much as the guitar is and he gets a killer sound on this album too. As a ex-bassist myself, I am always checking out bass sounds and this is one of the best that I have heard for a while. Elsewhere on the album, it is more caveman rocking and more so than the tracks that I have already mentioned. Songs like “Volcan” are primitive, basic riff-laden songs that range from a slow to mid-tempo kind of grind, it is predictable but also enjoyable head-nodding material. Listen to the ‘Children Of The Grave’ influenced riff that comes in halfway through “Volcan” and you will be powerless to not move the neck muscles. The songs are not overly infectious but when they do get locked into a tasty killer hook, it is very catchy indeed. If there is one song to stand out it would have to be “Sandia Man” which has the kind of riff that bands dream about coming up with, this riff is one of those rare monsters that only gets unleashed maybe twice a year. Forget the rest of the song, it is all about the riff and this riff kills. So the conclusion is this is a surprise release that I for one wasn’t expecting to be this good. I believe this is a self-released album but don’t quote me on that. Get yourself a copy, I know I will have to very soon. Very good album ! ……………………8.5/10
Sandia Man @ Reverbnation
Sandia Man @ Myspace
Sandia Man @ Facebook


Posted January 31, 2011 by doommantia in Sandia Man

2 responses to “Sandia Man – S/T …

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  1. Thanks so much for the review! Doom on…


  2. The album cover reminds me much of the Blue Cheer “What doesn't kill you…” album art.

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