The Dead-End Host
Unlike the seemingly hundreds of stoner rock groups to emerge in the wake of Mastodon and Kyuss, Soundcrawler actually does the sound some justice while offering up more than a few nods to hard rock’s great past. Where this French band exceeds is in understanding two major truths to in heavy music. Step one: bring the riffs. The Dead-End Host offers up a slew of great fuzzed-out riffs, so there’s no shortage here. Step two: write actual, interesting songs. This is where most stoner bands trip up. Either they try to sound like High on Fire’s bombastic sound and fail at understanding dynamics, or they end up forgetting that a bunch of riffs can’t make up an album. Soundcrawler succeeds here leaps and bounds above the others. The group’s prog and grunge influences really help The Dead-End Hose pull out ahead of its contemporaries. You can hear a significant Alice in Chains influence, especially in the vocals and in the album’s slower moments.
There’s not much else to say about Soundcrawler. This is excellently-written and played stoner rock/metal that brings the riffs and contains interesting and dynamic songs. Each of these nine songs is memorable and beg to be heard live. Don’t sleep on Soundcrawler, even if you’ve given up on stoner rock. (Nicholas Senior)