As a kid growing up in Calgary, I know I visited Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, in nearby Fort McLeod, at least once or twice. Pretty sure that’s where I had my first bison burger, too. So I am loving the cover of We Hunt Buffalo’s latest album before I even push play.
Album number three from the Vancouver heavy rock trio features nine tracks in just over 43 minutes. The aptly titled “Heavy Low” kicks off the proceedings with a killer, crushing, fuzz rock riff that gets my head nodding right away. Vocals don’t kick in for about 90 seconds, following more of a swirling verse riff pattern—but they bring back that heavy stomping riff just before the chorus.
The opening riff of “Angler Must Die” reminds me of a killer tune from a Windsor band called Lodown, although they go into more of a focused, steady stomp from there, with shades of Kyuss and angry grunge vocals leading into a mellower, gloomier chorus. “Prophecy Wins” is more of a vintage, bluesy stomper, somewhere between Mountain and Five Horse Johnson, before veering off towards post-rock territory with some extended psychedelic solos. “Get In the Van” starts off with a similarly bluesy riff, but quickly picks up the tempo – this instrumental might be the shortest song on here at an even three minutes.
The second half of the album eases off on the fuzz pedal a bit. “Industry Woes” falls on the lighter side, somewhat akin to latter-day QOTSA or even Billy Talent, but still delivers a couple heavy riffs and angry vocals. “The Giant’s Causeway” is swirling, jangly and maybe even folksy, but not without some heavy, proggy, Anciients-style riffs. But “Keep It Refreshing” does just that with some crispy, crunchy stoner grooves, in contrast to the light, airy vocals. And album closer “God Games” pulls off the mellow verse/heavy chorus effect to maximum impact, ending things with a two-ton, tectonic riff burned into your brain.
For those bogged-down by similar-sounding stoner bands, this might just be the breath of fresh air you’re looking for…