(groverXIII brings us this introduction to a band who, as you can see, has fine taste in cover art as well as fine taste in band names.)
When it comes to stoner metal, above all else, the riff is king. Bands like High On Fire, Weedeater, and Down know this well and adhere tightly to the discipline of the almighty riff, and relative newcomers XII Boar have taken this knowledge to heart.
You may remember XII Boar from a brief mention on my 2011 year-end list, specifically in the EP section, for their 2011 release XII. Well, they’ve already firmly established themselves a spot on my 2012 list with their new EP Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof, another fantastic four-track EP of kick-you-square-in-the-dick stoner metal.
In describing XII Boar’s music, I described them as “a mix of High On Fire and Motörhead”, and that label certainly applies. The EP starts off with the breakneck pace of ‘Smokin’ Bones’, a track that carries more of the Motörhead influence mixed with a bit of straight-ahead stoner rock and some bluesy guitar licks. They up the intensity even more with the blistering riffing of the aptly-named “Hellspeed Viper”, a track that plays to the High On Fire influence in their sound. Guitarist/vocalist Tommy Hardrocks does his best impression of Matt Pike’s whiskey-cigarettes-and-broken-glass vocals as the rhythm section of Bad-Dog Williams and Dave “Couldn’t Think Of A Cool Stage Name” Wilbraham propel the track along, then slow down to a crawl for an extremely doomy, sludgy section that is more akin to Sleep or Goatsnake.
The pace picks back up for the swaggering'”Slamhound”, featuring a boogieing main riff that will get your toes a-tappin’ even as you’re headbanging. They end things with the doom groove of “Triclops”, a skull-crusher that again recalls Sleep and Goatsnake.
The best thing about this EP? It’s totally free over at the XII Boar Bandcamp page, where you can also acquire XII. Both EPs are fantastic, and I cannot recommend them highly enough.
[XII Boar has an official web site here.]