Coming Down The Mountain (Meteor City)
by Craig Regala
Four tracks by Unida, a band which includes former Sloburn/Kyuss singer John Garcia. Rumor has it that one of the reasons Karma To Burn didn’t think he’d fit in with them was that he “sounded too much like Dio.” Well, not as much as that Cornell guy who sang for Soundgarden, but I know what they mean. He has a proto-metal/hard rock phrasing that leans toward the dramatic structures one associates with the tweaked offspring of the genetic splice containing DNA from both Glenn Danzig and Chris Goss (the man behind The Masters of Reality who produced the Unida tracks) strained through a throat that did time hollering at the sun for a few hours at a time to give it the powerful’n’rough texture. Musically, this is the clearly demarcated line that the Kyuss/Sloburn lineage would lead you to follow. A line scraped in the sand with a big stick made from melted copies of the first couple Blue Cheer albums wrapped around the double live Grand Funk opus and whittled down nice by the SST folks in the mid-’80s. Then again, it’s the early Kyuss were talkin’ about here – Unida doesn’t have the greasy groove side as much as the bludgeoning groove side. Luckily, we support both, and to prove me a fibber, Unida does roll a rock though a heavied grease-groove in the last track of their “side,” “Wet Pussycat.”
Dozer follows this line even further (being Swedes, and let’s hope they’ve shared the stage with Roachpowder, The Transport League, Los Hellacopters, and Entombed), having a slightly simpler thudding bass rumble that is no less convincing. They’ve also written actual tunes, but I need to listen to it a couple more times to tell if they’re gonna stick as well as the recent Fu Manchu stuff. Dozer aren’t quite as well-versed in or as traditionally ’70s rooted as Fu Manchu. Maybe Dozer needs to write a concept album about the life of a ’76 Camaro. They’ve got the goods to do it, and that’s’ reason enough to buy the damn thing, right? Their tune construction leans a bit more on trudge metal, the stuff of the early grunge scene (pre-Pearl Jam, acoustic Alice In Chains, Sound-Gardenia ballads), which I love like my own knees. This is on Meteor City, a cool label and one that will be on the lips of all those who support Man’s Ruin and the fine folks at TMC – labels that deliver the rock, all the rock, and damn near nothing but the rock. Let’s hope it’s just a matter of time and perseverance before one of these bands follows the little wedge of stone Monster Magnet has jammed under the door and slips through the crack. C’mon America, step up to the plate – it’s coming to the point where you need to make a decision. It only takes a second.
(531 Wagon Train SE Albuquerque, NM 87123)