Iron Jawed Guru
Mata Hari
(Grimiore Records)

The front cover of this stoner/groove record looks like a pinball machine that you’d find in a ritzy casino, and it really gives one a sense of the atmosphere that you’re getting when you first turn it on. These West Virginians are the kind of band that just want to get down and rock, and they consider their music to be close to legends Kyuss and masterminds Clutch (who still never disappoint). The record was actually inspired by the pinball machine itself, which is what I think happens when you do too many marijaunas. But let’s be reasonable, as these two guys manage to crank out some rather rocking (and quite textured) groove tunes that you can blast while driving (hopefully without drinking) and I think that even fans of highly textured stuff like Scale The Summit and Pelican will find a little something to like here. Some might say the band could use a vocalist, and surely the record seems to have a quality that could improve with that sort of touch. But for a guitarist and a drummer, the work offered here is quite warm and quite punchy at times, surely giving people their money’s worth during live sets. It’s not all that long, but it shows that Iron Jawed Guru can jam out with the best of them and that’s what I think people are going to remember the most. Record sounds surprisingly crisp as well, so there’s a nice little bonus. It’s the kind of record you listen to when you need a good southern atmosphere channeled into today’s rock and metal modernizations. Like the pinball machine it’s named after, put a couple of quarters in and try your luck. You might just wind up with the “high” score. (The Grim Lord)

Purchase Mata Hari here.


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