Bongzilla – Weedsconsin


Artist: Bongzilla

Album: Weedsconsin

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds

Release Date: 20/04/2021

Country: United States

We look at Bongzilla and their long awaited full-length album Weedsconsin, which was appropriately released on 4/20 through Heavy Psych Sounds.

I’ll keep this relatively short because I’m sure there are already about a thousand reviews of this album floating around by now, but I thought I would add my two cents to the conversation. So, if by some chance you aren’t familiar with Bongzilla at this point, the band hail from Madison, Wisconsin and have been churning out superb quality sludge/doom/stoner metal for well over two decades. The band originally formed in 1995 and now have five full-lengths, three EPs and (as of yesterday) seven splits under their belt. The band is Magma on drums, Spanky on guitars and Muleboy on bass and vocals, slimming down to a three piece from their traditional four.

I’m sure that by now the majority of you will already be familiar with Bongzilla and possibly their better-known albums Amerijuanican and Gateway. Both of the albums have somewhat of a legendary status within the stoner doom/sludge community. Well, I’m happy to say that I think this release may end up achieving a similar level of regard. The band have proved yet again that they are on a roll of flawless releases and can seemingly do no wrong. I’ve spoken to people this week who told me that they had never heard the band’s music prior to this release and loved it, well they have plenty of homework to do and will most likely find themselves falling down a rabbithole of heavy/fuzzy music. If you’re one of those people check out the aforementioned albums first and if you like what you hear and want more feel free to hit me up for plenty of recommendations of where to go next.

Alright, let’s move onto the music. The album takes things in a slightly different direction than previous releases and adds a little more experimentation and maybe a hint of psych elements here and there. The trademark lengthy songs with excessive groove and fuzz and plenty of memorable riffs and catchy hooks are still at the center of the album. You’ll find those intensely satisfying songs you’ve been craving sprinkled in amongst the more meandering, jam-based tracks. You know the one’s I’m talking about, the ones that are equal parts absolutely filthy and crushingly heavy. If you need to know what I’m talking about check out track 1 Sundae Driver and track 2 Free the Weed and I think you’ll understand what I mean fairly quickly. Then for contrast check out track 5 Earth Bong, Smoked, Mags Bags and you’ll find a 15-minute epic that leans deep into psych territory and provides you with some fantastic, spacy jam style segments. Honestly the balance struck between these two realms is one of the things that makes the album such a standout.

Muleyboy still has it vocally and hasn’t given up any of his raw edge or slimy undertone. He’s always been one of my favourite sludge vocalists and I’m extremely happy to see him maintain that title after the 16-year period between full-length releases. This is the first album that he has also played bass on, with the band now only consisting of three members, so its great to see that he’s able to add a lot of depth to an album that is already stupidly thick in sound and tone. Speaking of tone Spanky absolutely kills it on guitar yet again. It’s nice to see a little more experimentation here and there, but its also nice to see that they didn’t mess with the winning formula too much. Drum wise Magma brings it as always, but I expected nothing less from him.

Overall, this is a truly solid release and one that absolutely lived up to my expectations despite me setting them fairly high. I will say that the latest Eyehategod release knocked my confidence a little in regard to legendary sludge acts still being able to keep it heavy and dirty, but Bongzilla has fully restored my optimism. If you haven’t yet, check it out today, then check it out a couple more times.

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