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Motherslug : Three Kings In Darkness (EP)

Polished but sadly short release from the promising Australian Stoner/Doom band.

We're calling this second release from Melbourne's Motherslug an EP for the sake of convenience, but it's technically a double A-side single, with an extra radio edit of the title track thrown in. That's not demonstrating a prodigious work rate, considering the debut, eponymous (genuine 4-track) EP, came out in 2012 - but, okay, Doom comes slowly at the best of times, and if that means quality over quantity, there's a good argument for it.

In this case, it means an opportunity to listen to the way Motherslug revel in cutting loose with some ferociously catchy hooks and choruses, delivered with considerable verve and panache. Perhaps a little less Black Sabbath and a little more Sleep than the previous outing, but all the essential elements are still in place: enthusiastic, driving percussion with plenty of cymbals and fat, fuzzy bass sound, layers of guitar mixing texture with addictively chunky riffs, and an overall charisma to the presentation. That owes a lot to the hard-rocking bluesy rasp of frontman Cam, who surely knows how to belt them out in a way reminiscent of Blue Cheer's late, great Dickie Peterson, when not dropping down to some deeper, menacingly growled subtexts.

As there are only two tracks on offer, it's a little difficult to judge whether there's any particular direction being shown. 'Three Kings In Darkness' itself flirts with being a bona fide metal stomp, just like it's still 1976, while 'Trippin' On Evil' is far more classic Stoner fare: dark, dirty and grooving in equal measure, with some drawn-out spacy moments to end. That's a similar level of variety to the debut EP, in fact, with the complementary nature of the tracks maintaining an equally-adept boot in both camps, and has again been presented with a high-quality, polished production that blends the necessary loudness and energy with a pleasing degree of clarity.

Like many EP-length releases, the brevity of 'Three Kings In Darkness' makes it hard to recommend it as any kind of essential purchase, yet easy to praise as an impressive showcase for what is undoubtedly a talented band with a good ear for what will grab the listener's attention. That does, however, put it in the slightly uncomfortable position of holding plenty of appeal, yet risking being lost amidst the continuous welter of other such, similarly appealing, internet showcases. On the strength of it, though, I very much hope Motherslug are going to take the next step much sooner rather than later this time, and see what they can do with a full-length album release.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Three Kings In Darkness
2. Trippin' On Evil
3. Three Kings In Darkness (Radio Edit)

Duration : Approx 17 minutes

Visit the Motherslug bandpage.

Reviewed on 2014-05-18 by Mike Liassides
Rotten Copper
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