Nebula might be Exhibit A of why it’s better to burn out than to fade away. After establishing themselves at the forefront of the stoner rock scene in the late 90’s, they spent the better part of the aughts putting on subpar performances to dwindling crowds, breaking up in the middle of one tour, calling it quits ahead of the next, and going through about as many drummers as Spinal Tap. Their reunion album, the band’s first in nearly a decade, doesn’t elicit cries of Holy Shit so much as “Meh, I guess they’re back?”
But while this record isn’t exactly hot shit, it ain’t a piece of shit, either. The nine-track, 45-minute effort gets off to a decent start with the driving, psychedelic sounds of “Man’s Best Friend,” which comes complete with a very “desert rock” mellow section around the 2:30 mark. “Messiah” might be the closest they’ve ever come to traditional doom metal, with a pretty solid Black Sabbath riff in the chorus, although the dreamy, droney verses are a little weak. “It’s All Over” offers another sleepy verse, and repeats its song title about eight times in the chorus…but despite the repetition, it’ll still get yer head noddin’.
Pre-release single “Witching Hour” is one of the best of the bunch, a steady, crunchy, heavy rocker that reminds me of vintage Truckfighters, albeit with a slightly strange swelling pattern towards the end. After the silly two-minute interlude “Fistful of Pills,” we get the seven-and-a-half-minute garage-rock blues of “Tomorrow Never Comes,” which comes off like Mudhoney on Quaaludes, and drags on a little too long. Likewise, the psychedelic detours in “Gates of Eden” mostly detract from the proceedings, while “Let’s Get Lost” sounds like a noisier, more disjointed Nirvana. Speaking of getting lost, well, I’m not sure how often I’ll be revisiting this record…
(Heavy Psych Sounds)