For over one and a half decades, Weedeater has been one of the go-to names in sludge. Usually when I'm recommending the uninitiated some bands to get them into the genre, it goes something like this: Melvins, eyehategod, Weedeater. There's a reason for that. Over the span of all four of their albums, Weedeater has been nothing if not consistent. Consistent in their drive, aggression and general embodiment of what any great sludge band 'should' sound like. Jason... The Dragon is no different in that sense, but here we find the band branching out and experimenting with new sounds and ideas.
'The Great Unfurling' is one hell of an opener, echoing it's funeral-procession of a beat with some deep strings and spoken word behind it. No doubt this has served the band well as a grade-A live opener on many occasions. The first few tracks are all undeniably Weedeater songs, make sure to check out the 'Mancoon' video if you get the chance. They tend to run together, but all are strong tracks (if not a bit short here and there). However, it's not until the title track drops that we get a real sense of the experimentation the band was pursuing in this album.
Jason... The Dragon ushers the listener in with a laid-back groove, not dissimilar to the previous tracks. But it's heavy rhythms are given time to breathe, with lazy solos gracing over top and relatively sparce vocals from the demented Dixie Collins.
'Palms and Opium' finds the band turning out a surprisingly relaxing track which, aside from the vocals, may not sound out of place at a luau. The steel slide and whacking-bass create a lazy atmospheric piece for Dixie to ramble about palm trees and opiates over top of. Coming right on the heels of this on the rebound is the cool drone-influenced riffs of 'Long Gone', pulling the listener out of their pleasant stupor like a shot of naloxone.
Homecoming is really the last song on the album, and absolutely worth checking out for its Melvins-esque riffage. Splattered around it are a couple tracks which range from jokes to more acoustic riffs. Make sure to not pop the album out until it cycles back to the first track. That is unless you're planning on listening to it again, which is what this album shoots for.
At 34-minutes, this is not a long album. It's songs aren't exactly as titanic as in previous releases in most regards, but it all works. This is an album that you'll want to play time and time again. It's not a marathon of Southern beatdowns. It's a brief walk through the a dark, twisted, sludge forest with the occasional needle-strewn meadow to remind you there's still a sky. It's somewhere you want to revisit, and I'm finding that with every consecutive play-through, I'm wanting to stay in that forest more and more.