Jason… The Dragon
01. The Great Unfurling
04. Turkey Warlock
05. Jason… The Dragon
06. Palms And Opium
07. Long Gone
08. March Of The Bi-Polar Bear
10. Whiskey Creek
It’s been four long years since Weedeater‘s previous album, God Luck And Good Speed; an album which I played the shit out of, to put it bluntly (no pun intended). I’ve always enjoyed the work of bassist Dixie in bands like Bongzilla and Hail! Hornet but God Luck… just blew everything out of the water; there were huge riffs in the guise of “Dirt Merchant” and the title track and even some completely welcome pure chill out in form of “Alone” and the instrumental “Willow“. So needless to say, my expectations were high for Jason… The Dragon—I was even a little unwilling to even try it just in case it didn’t live up to it’s predecessors. And obviously, I was right.
It was never going to happen, was it? But enough about God Luck And Good Speed, let’s talk about Jason… The Dragon. There’s nothing essentially wrong with the songs present at all, in fact most of them are some of the best sludge I’ve heard in 2011; “Long Gone” is the soundtrack to the most dreary and soul destroying day you’ve ever had to live, “Mancoon” rocks out quite unashamedly with some simplistic but still smothering riffs, and “Homecoming” contains some of the most up-beat Weedeater sections I’ve ever heard, even shining through the scathing lyrics. Also, the opening one-two in the genuinely tension building introduction “The Great Unfurling” and the wade through the sludge swamp that is “Hammerhandle“, is real treat, hearkening back to a simpler time by sounding more in the vein of 2002’s Sixteen Tons. So what’s my problem with it?
Well, I feel a little short changed. Four years is a long time, despite what may have happened in between, but of the ten songs on offer here, I can only count six that aren’t interludes or acoustic breaks. This is including two tracks, “Turkey Warlock” and the aforementioned “Long Gone“, that were part of a compilation CD way back in 2004. These interludes used to be a necessary breather between the hazy grooves lying within, but without enough of the heavy, what purpose does the breather serve? I think that’s why it worked on previous releases so well as they worked in conjunction with each other and to use a strange example; think of Opeth—the riffs seem larger when juxtaposed against a clean guitar section or even some piano. It’s only really the southern fried banjo sounds of closer “Whiskey Creek” that demands your attention, but even that suffers from UHTS (Useless Hidden Track Syndrome), as soon as the soothing rain and relaxing banjo begin to fade you’re best off moving on as all there is after is a fairly disposable piano section.
Jason… isn’t a bad album, it’s just a little underwhelming. New fans who may be having their first toke of the Weedeater blend will find a decent album that represents equally the two different extremes of their sound but older fans may just find it to be an enjoyable but disappointing release. And I suppose that accounts for the brevity of the review as I pretty much covered the highlights in the second paragraph. I’ll probably be listening to this at the end of the year but mostly because it could be 2015 before we get another.
Weedeater’s Jason… The Dragon gets…