Album: Four Tales of the Strange
Release Date: 05/03/2021
Country: United States
I’m not going to lie, this is a release I’ve been excited about since it was first announced. Two fantastic bands Bog Wizard and Dust Lord teaming up to make a killer split album titled Four Tales of the Strange, to be released on March 5th on The Swamp Records, The Cosmic Peddler and Kozmik Artifactz.
For anyone who isn’t familiar with either band, Bog Wizard is a three-piece West Michigan based doom/ sludge/ stoner metal band, inspired by Dungeons & Dragons and fantasy literature. The band is Ben Lombard (guitar and vocals), Harlen Linke (percussion, synth and vocals), and Colby Lowman (bass). Their album From the Mire also happens to be one of the first we ever reviewed and they were the first band ever to thank us our share or write up. This was back in the early days, long before we had a website so I can’t share the review sadly. Their tracks on the split were engineered by Harlen Linke at The Staggering Paladin.
Dust Lord hails from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and is a heavy stoner rock band in the vein of Bongzilla, Weedeater, Eyehategod, Buzzoven. The band is Spike Whirley (guitar and vocals), Peter Low Frequency (bass), Rob Deadraiser (percussion). We happened to also review their previous self-released album Machine Cult, which you can read here. Their tracks on the split were engineered by Keith Sanchez at Rancho De Sancho Sound Studios.
The killer album art is courtesy of Marinko Milosevski (responsible for the cover art of Red Dead Redemption 2, as well as countless other games and movies).
Both bands have a lot in common as far as the overall genre of their music, but as far as their sound and style go, they each have a very unique and distinctive brand. Dust Lord is a sludge driven machine and features a dirtier overall tone and harsher vocals. There is still plenty of groove present in the mix, but it’s presented through a wall of fuzz and distortion. Generally, the lyrical themes that they focus on are more grounded in reality than their counterparts, making their music a little more relatable and hitting closer to home on an emotional level. On this particular release though things get a little more surreal, hence the name of the split.
Spike’s vocals are as mentioned on the harsher side and feature a raw, sludgy shrieked sort of tone to them. The guitar work is slow and heavy as hell, but you do get those classic stoner metal riffs shining through to break things up on a regular basis and that’s where the groove comes into play. Drum wise we get a quality performance that shifts styles as needed between slow and heavy and catchy and more upbeat. Bass wise we get a solid offering of thick and meaty basslines that pad out the overall sound of their half of the split. Both of the band’s tracks Not Men, Not Women, Not Beasts and Career Opportunities are top notch heavy music and will not disappoint.
Bog Wizard feature a sludgy tone to their music just like Dust Lord, but their overall sound differs greatly. The band choose to employ clean vocals (well they’re halfway between sung and shouted and feature a bit of a faded and echoed tone, in a Conan type style) to achieve a level of contrast between their vocal and instrumental elements. This contrast works extremely well in my opinion, as personally I love the blend of clean and heavy. Don’t get me wrong there are parts where the vocals enter a harsher realm, but the fact that they’re used so infrequently really makes the moments when they appear stand out. As mentioned, the band focus heavily on fantasy themes, using D&D as their foundation. This album was a perfect fit for them as their music already covers topics of the strange and fantastic.
The band also choose to blend elements of psychedelic rock into their music, a nice touch that helps it to stand out that much more. You’ll find that the heavy parts of the music absolutely crushing and feature plenty of fuzz, downtuning and distortion. Between these segments though, the stoner/psych segments are captivating and serves as a great way to keep things fresh and interesting. The guitar tone and style is relatively varied across both tracks and will leave you with a lasting impression. The bass work on these tracks is spectacular and really features high in the mix, adding a lot of depth and thickness to the songs’ overall sound. Drum wise we get a heavy, pounding offering, but that changes swiftly in the lighter stoner and psych-based parts. Both of the band’s tracks on the split Paladin of Death and Gelatinous Cube kick major ass and you won’t want to miss them.
Overall, this is a truly solid offering of doom and sludge and features two of the genre’s up and coming acts. These are both bands that you’re going to want to take notice of as they’re going to do great things, hell they already have with both of their debut albums, as well as this fantastic release. So, check out the already released tracks at the link below and get your pre-order in today.
Listen to and order the album below: