It’s once again summer time, friends. To me, summer is usually a little odd in that it feels very strange to listen to metal of any kind. Metal always feels like a fall and winter thing. You know what I mean. The sky turns grey. The temperature drops and the weather gets cold fast. The earth dies all around us. Seems fitting, right? When I have that thought about metal and summer, I get a little sad only because it won’t be as fitting to listen to my favorite stuff in the world. But then I always remember that I just need to change my listening habits a little. While listening to black metal might seem out of place in June, listening to some rocking stoner jams is in full swing. My personal summer of music got kicked into full swing when Brant Bjork teamed up with former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri and regular drumming collaborator Ryan Gut for some incredible stoner metal with STÖNER.
Now that you know who’s involved with the record, you can probably take an educated guess as to what this sounds like. It’s a tasty mix of desert rock, heavy psych, and stoner metal that fires all of your inner stoner cylinders. Fuzzy riffs, bluesy licks, and grooving rhythms rule the day on Stoners Rule. However, to only focus on these simple aspects would be to miss a lot of what makes this record a fun treat and a nice trip down 70s rock memory lane. Stoners Rule harkens back to a simpler time in music when the point was making a fun riff even if you weren’t making some intellectual comment on the human condition or whatever. It’s a reminder that music can just be music sometimes.
Out of the many thoughts I had while listening to Stoners Rule, the biggest thing I can think of is the album mixing. With this combination of stoner music flavors, it is essential you can hear everything going on as much as possible. Really, that means you need as much bass as is reasonable. Listen to “Own Yer Blues” and you’ll see what I mean. Oliveri keeps the rhythm with the drums while Bjork can riff over everything they do. But it’s more than just hearing the bass keep the rhythm. This being a power trio, you can’t have dead or quiet spots in your sound that aren’t on purpose. It can make everything sound very disconnected like it’s not a complete sound as though you’re missing some vital piece. By making sure everything is really mixed together, you don’t miss anything and you get a complete sound.
The next biggest thought I had is that there is an infectious energy to this record. On every song, I found myself dancing in my seat along with the beat. I didn’t even choose to do it. It just happened. The nature of the power trio makes for often more simple music. I mean, it’s usually just guitar, bass, and drums. That doesn’t necessarily make it good or bad, but less complex music can be more accessible music. Such is the case here. It’s pretty easy to hear everything going on in any of the tracks on Stoners Rule, and that helps draw you in to what they’re doing. Stoners Rule works so well because its simplicity makes it feel like a complete package.
STÖNER is a perfect summertime band to me. Stoners Rule is just fun. You can turn off your brain while you jam out because the record feels like you’re at the band’s jam session. 3 damn good musicians got together to have a party and you’re invited to come hang out while they make some heavy blues. The record reminds me that music is supposed to be fun. You can take it to higher levels and make comments on society with your art, but it can also just be three dudes who enjoy playing their instruments together because it’s a good time. Stoners Rule is a good time waiting to happen for you. You just need to hit Play.
Stoners Rule releases on June 25th. Pre-order it at the Bandcamp link above!