Review Summary: An overlooked stoner gem, this is the grooviest album of 2011.
There's just something about stoner rock/metal that makes it the coolest genre on earth. The bands are rarely breaking any kind of new ground or separating themselves from each other, and the emotional connection drawn from this kind of music is lacking. But something about the power of good riffs makes me feel like the baddest mother***er on the planet whenever I listen to it, and that the people who make it are somehow even badder.
Dallas' Wo Fat are no exception to this feeling. Drawing heavily on the likes of Kyuss and Fu Manchu, their entire sound can be described as so: riffs, riffs and more riffs. Although the shortest track on their newest release, Noche Del Chupacabra
, is just under seven minutes long, Wo Fat never stops bringing riffs and grooves that will keep your head nodding for the album's entire 45-minute duration.
Wo Fat are:
Kent Stump - Vocals, Guitar
Tim Wilson - Bass
Michael Walter - Drums
Yes, just three men are responsible for the huge sound on this record, but the music is as heavy as a mammoth that has somehow found itself wading through the bayou that this record's atmosphere conjures. Kent Stump's bottomless well of down-tuned riffs and solos (usually double-tracked for maximum effect) take the listener on a journey through the swamp that is depicted on the album cover. The bass-heavy production pounds away at you until you feel the urge to get on your knees and pray to the gods of riffage (this feeling should occur about halfway through the first track, Bayou Juju).
Noche Del Chupacabra
is certainly not a diverse affair. Every song plods at a similar mid-tempo pace, features what feels like a dozen grooves per minute, and ultimately turns into a drawn-out psychedelic jam. But none of the album's five tracks drag at all. Something about these three musicians interlocking creates a hypnotic feeling, especially on the title track, a 15-minute instrumental jam that makes it easy to remember why people listen to jam bands in the first place. This isn't noodling on scales for three times as long as it should take to get the point across. This is three men taking a few riffs and absolutely crushing them out of the park, squeezing everything they possibly can out of a few simple notes before shifting tempo and doing it again. A freakout that Hendrix himself would find be awed by.
While most music these days is striving to either be the first of its kind or just hop on the latest trend, Wo Fat are content to pay homage to the classics and write the best riffs they possibly can. Noche Del Chupacabra
is the kind of record you can listen to and just feel awesome. There's nothing overtly technical here, nor are there any big hooks to memorize in one listen. This is just a slab of southern-fried riffs that will make your head spin and forget all of your cares.