Sat 27th August 2005
It's always a little difficult, being forced to give an honest opinion. For someone as shy of confrontation as me, giving a bad review isn't something I like doing unless a band really deserves it. It's made more difficult when you're asked to review something by someone you know well enough to offend, but not enough to be brutally honest with. Kamajor include a certain 'Jack D,' (sadly it's Dickinson and not Daniels,) in their ranks, someone who's been kicking around the ninehertz board pretty much since its inception providing laughs and opinions to the stoner community.
Thank Iommi that his band don't suck. The opening one-two of 'Roadhog' and 'Trapdoor,' will keep old-school stoners happy, with some good riffing and wah soaked solo work. The filthy bass sound also brought a smile to this reviewers face, despite the man on TV telling me 'The Simpsons' isn't on because of the cricket while 'Mambo No.5' plays in the background, but Hollyoaks will be straight on. Bastard. It's good stuff, but nothing new and I was worried Kamajor would be another lazy example of the genre, despite a couple of Sabbath-worthy guitar lines. Thankfully, the EP improves, especially in the final half.
'King Sky Blues,' was a slower number with some big heavy grooves and some less controlled vocals which came across better than the first 2 tracks. It also contains a genius key change and a funky wah work out towards the end to throw the listener. 'Chanting Mantra,' starts as an elegant number reminiscent of 'Omega' era Earthtone9, although goes downhill briefly with a dull riff around the minute mark before redeeming itself with a some decent ideas that save the song from being skipped. Finally, the title track, 'Death Star Destructomass.' Whiskey, weed, spacey jam sessions in the middle of tracks, it's all here, and despite the fact they're all stoner cliches, it's the best track on the EP. The contemporary influences come through when the riffs stop pummeling you, everything drops into a pretty Isis style section, and the track manages to be varied enough to hold the attention of pretty much anyone, depite clocking in at around the 7 and a half minute mark.
It's not all good though. The production isn't great, although everything's audible which I guess is all that really matters, and I wasn't a huge fan of the vocal delivery on the more straight forward songs, which occasionally come across like an imitation of the great Mr Garcia. Kamajor shone brightest here when they were finding their own feet instead of re-treading old ground. There are plenty of bands with a big riff the whole band can get behind and while these are probably great to drive to, it's a little sad to have to listen to bands which do nothing but repetitive riff work. Thankfully, Kamajor only throw a few moments of such things into the 26 minutes it takes this EP to run, and the rest is enough to reassure me the band are onto a good thing. Roll on the next release.
Right, I think someone owes me a drink....