Stoneburner – Life Drawing (Review)

StoneburnerStoneburner are a Sludge/Doom band from the US and Life Drawing is their second album.

The band combine aggressive Sludge with minimal Doom in a pleasing and refreshing way, taking elements of the masters such as Eyehategod and Neurosis and combing them with an eclectic mix of bands like Electric Wizard, Warhorse and even a splash of Isis on occasion.

They have a punchy, buoyant sound for a group of this type, with the guitars seemingly larger than life and ready to pop out of the speakers at a moment’s notice. For all this vibrancy however theirs is a filthy sound, mired in dirt and caked in sin.

The vocals are low-in-the-mix rumbles that sound as if something lurking just underneath the surface is threatening to break through and wreak havoc, yet is restrained by the thick, syrupy music.

The songs are free form expressions of the darker side of life where not everything works out in the end. The album cover is quite evocative and one can imagine this album chronicling the life and times of the figure in the painting. Which is possibly why the album sounds so bleak, yet with moments of uplift; even in a drab life there are moments of colour. Of course the actual lyrics are probably about something completely different, but this is my impression and it seems to fit the mood of the album.

At over 66 minutes in length this is a long and rewarding journey through a damaged life that culminates in the final, epic track The Pheonix. A moment of hope as the final curtain falls? Maybe.

Music to captivate and absorb.

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