Asthma Castle—a subterranean supergroup (of sorts)—love malapropisms and seemingly always has. The unit’s 2009 self-released EP was entitled Jesus, Mary, and Broseph and the closing track is called “Inhaled Nazarene.” The latest release includes “The Incline of Western Civilization,” “Methlehem,” and getting back to their Biblical roots, “The Book of Duderonomy.” It’s called Mount Crushmore because of course it is.
If Mount Crushmore was an actual monument that existed outside of Asthma Castle’s pot-fueled dreams, it’s not hard to imagine the four faces that would be carved into it.
- Tony Iommi. For no other reason than he’s Tony Iommi.
- Pepper Keenan. When he joined Corrosion of Conformity, he tempered the band’s nascent hardcore with a shit-kicking vibe that is perfectly replicated on Mount Crushmore, most notably on “Here Comes the Black Ship” which reimagines Thin Lizzy smothered in sausage gravy with a side of grits.
- Matt Pike. His guitar playing would be more than enough of an influence on Ethem and Smith—the thick riffs of album opener “Incline of Western Civilization” and boogie-infusion of “Methlehem” are right out of the Sleep playbook. Throw in a mutual love for all things green and leafy and it’s a done deal.
- Bill Kelliher and Brent Hinds from Mastodon. Yeah, this means there’s five faces up there, but they probably aren’t keen on rules. Or counting – after all the album cover features five disembodied heads.
The fact that everyone up there is a guitarist is not an oversight. There are catchy riffs, dueling wah-wah solos during “Brazilian Catbox Incident,” and all manner of appealing squeals. Mount Crushmore (the album) is an ode to all things ass kicking, but you can tell where their hearts lie—or just axe them.
The reason there is a decade between releases is due to day jobs: drummer Adam Jarvis plies his trade in Pig Destroyer, Misery Index, and Scour; guitarist Justin Ethem is Integrity’s touring guitarist while the other six-stringer Cameron Smith plays in Passage Between and Crawler. Singer Zach Westphal left Richmond roots-rockers Roddy Walston and the Business when he had a kid while bassist Jeff Davis runs Damnation Audio effects pedals.
It’s possible that the band will content itself playing sporadically around its Baltimore base, but that would be a bit of a shame. Despite being more or less a hobby, Asthma Castle proffers some of the chunkiest southern fried stoner fare around. If they made it more of a commitment, who knows where the band would go—or what other malapropisms they’d come up with.