When you kickstart your EP with Peter Finch’s iconic (and more prescient than ever) speech from the film Network you know that a band means business and they’re not gonna take this shit anymore! Obviously, that’s exactly how Keystoned State – the new EP from 4 piece stoner/sludge band Highburnator – begins and those words, that are destined to echo throughout the annals of time, are swiftly followed by music that’s equally as mad as hell!
Dwelling in the dark places where stoner/sludge metal doth thrive, Highburnator are a relentless groove machine, sending fuzzy riffs into the stratosphere accompanied by vocals that shift from a gravel-throated roar to a (perhaps ill-advised) occasional pig-squeal.
The aforementioned opener is “The Brass Rail” and it’s a 9 minute long excursion into bloody-minded sludge heaven as incessant riffing compresses you until you’re submerged in the suffocating stink that we call society, gasping for breath that’ll never come.
That’s depressing, this review needs to lighten up a little!
How fortunate then that the next film quote comes courtesy of the John Candy classic Summer Rental and other than replicating the ‘we’re not gonna take your shit mentality’ of Network we’re actually unsure of its reference. But hey, it’s a funny soundbite and a funny movie so who gives a fuck. As expected, the grinding riffs keep on coming and there’s a bounce to the title track that adds another element to Highburnator’s fuzzy grooves.
These guys sure do know their way around a fiendishly repetitive riff and Keystoned State is home to a shit-load of them. They’re also pretty good at cutting loose and when the drudgery of “Desert Funeral” explodes into an uptempo number, heads that were already banging threaten to shake themselves loose from their necks.
Sounds good right? Course it is! Highburnator’s Keystoned State is well worth checking out! 7/10