Not gonna lie, my first reaction to Prizehog (aside from noting the intentionally bad spelling) was to think of 90s one-hit wonders Spacehog. Apparently, those guys are still touring. Say whaaaa!?
However, this Portland trio isn’t living in the meantime, but rather in the present. This is, in fact, their fifth album, though I can’t say I’d heard any of the first four. They certainly wouldn’t be the first sludge/doom band from Portland to suddenly pop up on my radar screen after being around forever (think Rabbits, Diesto, or, even going back a couple years, Witch Mountain). But I must say I’m a little apprehensive that these guys — and gal — have a synthesizer player, but no bassist.
Anyhog, this album kicks off with “Parradiggum” (huh?), and it’s the synths I hear right off the bat, along with some seriously synthesized vocals… and the occasional drum hit. We eventually get some equally-distorted guitars slowly ringing out over the mix, giving off an air of some sorta cosmic space drone with a robot singer — before unexpectedly lurching into blastbeat-laden blackness, albeit briefly.
“Whoady” (who dat?) starts off with what sounds like an evacuation alarm, with some spacey synths mixed in for good measure. The slow ‘n heavy riffage takes less time to come in on this one, with the fire alarm still buzzing in the background. And then it drops down, more droney atmos-doom, Nadja meets OM, fronted by a Buddhist monk with a vocoder.
“Awsme Bube” (c’mon man!) sounds like natives chanting in a cave with sludgy stalagmites oozing synthesized slime underneath. I’m not sure if there are words to this one, or just sounds. Hey, full marks for originality, but this hog’s only getting a participation ribbon from me.