By Gruesome Greg
Dave Sherman is a veteran of the Maryland doom scene, best known for his days in Spirit Caravan, where he played bass with Wino and gave us the weedified brilliance of the tune “Retroman”(“Pentagram tattoo on his arm/Got holes on his face where they don’t belong/ Snortin’ white, singing his song /He’s one step farther than you’ve ever gone!”) With rumours of a Spirit Caravan reunion confirmed by none other than Dave Sherman, he’s got plenty on his plate, having put out the first new Earthride album in five years this summer.
Alas, Sherman has never played bass in Earthride, abandoning the instrument to hone a vocal delivery that could best be described as Kirk Windstein and Ozzy getting up on stage for a drunken duet after slinging too many shots at Krug’s Place. Not a pretty picture, to say the least.
“Zodiac” starts off with an acoustic guitar, and Sherman’s voice is really grating without the heavy backing riffs. I would not want to hear this guy sing a lullaby, and while his style suits the tunes, it does not sound good on its own. The lyrics are also quite cringe-worthy if one chooses to pay attention..
“Watch the Children Play” had me at its bass intro, a great, slow, Sleepy vibe on this tune with a main riff that’s a real head-nodder and an interstellar solo. “Grip the Wheel” has a Lemmy Kilminster vocal bark, a Bill Ward drum fill, and a coupla solos that reek of Iommi. What more could you ask for?
Oh, and speaking of duets, Wino lends his voice to “Supernatural Illusion,” which fulfills that need as well.
While the influence of Maryland doom is clearly present, Earthride slogs along the swamplands of such straight-ahead sludge-metal outfits as Crowbar and Weedeater at its best, and a ballsier, tone-deaf BLS at worst. Still a pretty solid collection of tunes.