Artist: Dope Skum
Release Date: 26/03/2021
Country: Unites States
We take a look at Dope Skum and their debut EP Tanasi, set for independent release on March 26th.
The band hail from Chattanooga, Tennessee and formed in late 2020. As newcomers to the scene, they only have one single out at this point, Feast of Snakes until their EP drops next week. The band is a two piece, made up of two longtime friends, Cody (vocals, guitar and bass) and James (drums).
The duo primarily play a sludge/doom/stoner blend but feature elements of punk in parts too. They state that their key inspiration is that of sludge legends Weedeater and this influence can definitely be heard in their music, but they have plenty of unique elements of their own in the mix. The duo makes a surprising amount of noise for only two people and really present us with some truly fuzzy, heavy riffage. The album is a meeting point between heaviness and filth and lightness and atmosphere, with the band pulling off both equally as well.
Tracks such as the EP’s first single and opener Feast of Snakes will take you on a stoner doom/sludge journey. If you’re looking for something heavy to rock out to then that’s your song right, there. It also happens to be my favourite on the album. Track 2 continues this energy but takes things in a bit more of a slower, reverb laden, instrumental direction. You’ll still find some vocals here, but they’re employed more selectively. However, if you listen to songs such as track 3 Chickamauga, you’ll find nothing but immersive atmosphere. Personally, I love the duality present on the EP, I always appreciate a band that can successfully pull of multiple directions on one release. For further contrast, track 4 The Levee takes much more of a punk direction than previous songs on the album. While the instrumentals here are still slow, heavy and fuzzy, the vocals and overall tone of the track clearly draw on the band’s punk influences. The closer on the album sits between the realms of tracks 2 and 4, having some heaviness and feedback but drawing on those punk influences once again.
This is a solid debut from a new band that shows real promise for the future. You can tell that they are still figuring out their sound as a whole as the blend of styles shifts and changes throughout, probing for a sweet spot. Personally, I found tracks 1 and 3 the most enjoyable as they chose a specific direction and followed through on it extremely well. The influences from bands such as Weedeater are apparent but the punk influences act as a nice twist and could prove to be truly interesting on future releases. Instrumentally and vocally speaking, every element is performed well, so don’t take what I’m saying too critically. I think that the duo has nowhere to go but up and I look forward to seeing them refine their sound as they move forward. I think that adding a little more dirt and harshness to the vocals overall could go a long way, with track 1 really showing promise for this. Although there are probably those who completely disagree with me and really enjoy the blend of cleaner punk vocals and heavy fuzzy music.
Give the EP as spin today and see what you think. Regardless of which side of the harsh vocal opinion you sit on I believe you will enjoy the music.
Listen to and order the EP below: