April 20, 2005

CD Review: Dog Faced Gods - Stoned Council

Not what I expected. Seems like I've been saying that a lot lately, but it's been true, for better or worse. I had never heard of these guys before, but judging by the name, I expected something heavy, but what I got wasn't terribly heavy. I think I was judging the band by their sharing there name with a heavy Testament track from the mid-90's. Now this part is going to sound strange, but their sound reminded me of a cross between Candlebox and Corrosion of Conformity. That makes no sense, but sometimes I hear strange things.

The album is a very mixed bag, and if you don't make it all the way through, you will miss the best songs on it. You see, the album does not start all that impressively, actually the entire first half is rather generic sounding, and I was getting ready to write them off as just another member of the faceless throng of soundalike bands clogging the racks.

I first listened to the album in my car during the workday commute, I got through the first 5 tracks. I stopped the car and walked into work, thinking about how non-special they were, they weren't horrible by any stretch, it just didn't stand out. Well, work ended and I returned to my car, and fired up the stereo, to continue the mediocrity, but something happened. Track 6 was entitled "Intro," odd to have a a song with that name right in the middle like this, but it acts as a direct introduction the next song, but it also is the introduction to the album getting a whole lot better. It is fitting that this is being posted on 4/20 considering the sound which comprises the "Intro," especially when followed by a track called "Water Pipe Bong." This is one of the most amusing songs I've heard from a metal act in some time. It has an almost mantra like rhythm to it, and the subject is not exactly hidden.

When I say the album gets better, and it starts with a comical cut, but the album does not slip into a comedy act, but the songs do take a turn for the better. Originality creeps in, some heavy riffs make their way through the speakers to my ears. It is as if the groove finally clicks and the band knows how to play well with each other, learning to compliment their strengths. Some highlights of the second half are all about me, well, "But Me" and "Save Me." There is also the acoustic tinged slow down "No One Left."

The impression that I get after my second listen, is that the first five songs were an earlier recording and the album proper was the remainder of the songs recorded later on. I could be dead wrong, but that is the feeling I have to explain the sudden shift between the two portions of the album.

Bottomline. Overall, it is not a bad album. It is not the most original collection I have heard, but it does prove to be an entertaining listen. I predict "Water Pipe Bong" will make it to more than a few MP3 mixes. I'll be curious to hear what their future work may develop into. That said, I can't give this a strong recommendation, but it is decent for the curious.

Mildly Recommended.

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