I get excited about things sometimes. Like that new Clutch video. It practically has be wetting my pants with excitement. Another thing that excites me outside the bedroom or the bottom of a beer glass is some high grade…Canadian metal. So when I found out that two of the finest dealers in Canadian heavy instrumental psych/stoner doom, or CHIPS doom (preferably Doritos) were teaming up for a split entitled Brothers of the Nod, I got pretty excited.
The two bands in question are none other than Saskatoon’s Shooting Guns and Kitchener’s Hawkeyes. I’ve written about both bands here before but that’s not gonna stop me from blabbing about them again.
Each band contributes three tracks of blissfully awesome and bleary-eyed stoner psych. Shooting Guns’ tracks were recorded at their Pre-Rock studio, the first done there, and Hawkeyes’ third track, “Orange Monkey (Hotter Reprise)” was originally used in a promo video for their favourite record store, Orange Monkey in Waterloo.
I know track-by-track reviews are frowned upon but these tracks all deserve their time in the sun. Shooting Guns start things off with “Megavolcano”. Easily the fastest song on the split, it’s got squalling guitars trailing behind the classic SG “railroad beat” as I like to call it. It’s got a bluesy boogie with the psych worked into the leads. Near the end the piano rises up taking the energy level up a notch and gives it some more soul.
“Halls of Grief” slows things right down. It’s heavy on the atmospheric keys and features some mountain-moving riffs. The leads burrow deep into the pleasure centres and set up (a head)shop. All of which ends up propelling you into space to float freely (or cruise Clutch style, top down, chassis low) through the cosmos.
“Heavy Descent” is another slow one. Slower even. Painfully dragged riffing spirals the listener down into a blissful oblivion of soul-rending doom. Each successive repetition seems to sink lower and lower until the leads come screaming out of the maw full of bluesy expressiveness. The descent from the heat of “Megavolcano” to the cold heart here is steep and heavy indeed proving Shooting Guns as a versatile act and is hard to follow.
If anyone can hold their own in the world of CHIPS, it’s Hawkeyes. “Hotter Than 10 Hundred Suns” is smooth as silk. The hypnotic pulse and massive low end gives that wide open vista vibe, like there’s no end and no beginning. Careful with the herbal accompaniment though as the psych undercurrent, groovy bass and fine ass organs could easily cause one to become completely lost to the real world.
This transitions easily into the equally spacey track, “The Charred Skull of McLean Stevenson”. This one is even more out there. It’s got that repetitive quality and a heavy psychedelia that produces a myriad of colours to dominate the mind’s eye. The synths/keys take the listener away from it all and power travel through the unknown abyss.
“Orange Monkey (Hotter Reprise)” closes out this journey with some heavy organs getting their thing on, spreading tone throughout the land. Hawkeyes take the repetition to the extreme, sitting on a groovy bass riff and never getting off (in more ways than one), letting the final notes ring out the same way they came in.
Sure, I may get wrapped up in this sort of thing but I love these guys and there’s no reason not to as long as you too enjoy sitting back and catching the breeze of psychedelic stoner rock without pesky vocals to ruin the mood. Relax and enjoy the vibe, man.
And could you pass the chips?
Keep up with all Matt’s exploits on Twitter @KingdomofNoise!