Buckaduzz – The Big Slow …   Leave a comment

Often I just come across a band that I think has a lot of potential, their music is good, it’s something to nod your head to. I lean back, smile, in anticipation of what is to come, and then, the vocals kick in and all my excitement goes right out the window. If I don’t abandon the band there, I just whine about the vocals a lot and then start to see how they fit in the bigger picture. Buckaduzz, a new and talented band from Norway, was one of those. They get the blend just right, not too dense and not too thin, only the vocals take a lot of getting used to. Apart from that, it is hard to find fault, as the band has everything down to a psychedelic-stoner-blues science, and that’s not to say they’re cliché – their sound has recognizable influences, but they’re far from “just another blues-influenced stoner band.”

Now, the style of Buckaduzz is something we can describe probably as stoner blues metal with psychedelic undertones. I know that doesn’t make sense, so let’s try again: the guitars have all the fuzz, grooves a’plenty, thick slabs of riffs laid down on top of adequate drumming (that has its moments, but succumbs to just getting the job done) and bass that alternates between following the drums and the guitar. All this is balanced with bluesy moments and the band often branches into psychedelic landscapes every so often.

The production is pretty lo-fi, but it doesn’t really bring the album down. Now, the band is generally (but not always) weak in the vocals department. Mainly because when there aren’t mumbles melting into the soundscapes built by the rest of the music, the vocals are just empty, out-of-focus shouts that wouldn’t be too out-of-place in a chaotic hardcore or lo-fi sludge album. It must be said, however, that “The Big Slow” isn’t a very good choice of name, because it’s only twenty-five minutes or so long, and isn’t all that slow.

The EP kicks off with “Aquanaut”, a grooving stoner rock piece that churns and rolls on, until it hits a steep psychedelic/blues hill. Yeah, it’s like that – the song itself, apart from the vocals watering it down, suddenly goes from a loud rock song to a psychedelic, atmospheric, almost progressive, blues track. It’s an incredible passage that lasts for almost the entire remaining song, where constant bass keeps track of the subtle, hypnotic licks of guitars. The drumming is especially exceptional, as the drums don’t just keep the pulse, they raise it the further the passage goes on, slowly increasing the amount of attacks present. It’s great stuff, displaying inner band harmony. The vocals, however, sort of fade in and out of that harmony, but that’s not a big minus.

The album follows that up with the hard-rocking, no-holds barred “Gunslinger” that builds on the throbbing, lumbering main riff. It’s catchy and groovy and keeps you coming back for more. There are some great passages here, including some minute variations on the main two riffs. The song displays the aforementioned harmony, where the band grooves and stomps together, even with the slightly off-kilter vocalizations abound. There’s even a solo in the background at one point, so far off that if you’re not paying attention, you might miss it. It’s a churning masterpiece of a song that’ll keep your head nodding and toes tapping.

The EP comes to a close with the thirteen-minute “King Crab” and I suddenly have the urge to tear my hair out. Let me explain why: the song kicks off as a psychedelic blues rock piece, nice, subtle licks of guitar, and the vocalist, whom I have repeatedly bashed in this review, starts to sing. His voice, his tone, it’s all perfectly suited, even chocolate-to-ears nice. And the song isn’t half bad itself, in fact, it’s a testament to how compatible genres can be mashed into a coherent whole. It’s got stoner riffs that deliver the punch, bluesy verses and this long, stretched, incredible psychedelic/blues rock passage. If there was really a gig under the ocean, we’d be there and this’d be playing. The song is, in one word, immersive.

Now, to summarize…. One thing that can be said is that this EP demands attention, not only because of it’s minute detail, but because the harmony of the band can sometimes mask subtleties. Like I kept prattling on about it, the vocals take some getting used to, and that’s kind of made worse by the fact that the dude chooses to go all sludge instead of singing. But after a while, it doesn’t bother you as much, and there is really little that the band does wrong apart from that. If you’re reading this, you’re probably into this stuff anyway, so you won’t be disappointed. Everyone else, if you’re interested in blues rock, rock, stoner, psychedelic or things like that, this will be a nice addition to your collection. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel, that’s for sure, but it’s very well among the best, and deserves your attention. 9/10

(NOTE: Just to say, the more you listen to this, the better you get settled in. It’s one of those. My initial score of 7/10 went up on repeated listens and I had a better feel for the music.)
Review Written By Sarp Esin

Buckaduzz@My Space

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Posted May 22, 2011 by doommantia in Buckaduzz

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