Saturday 30 May 2020


"Reefer fueled stoner doom with a dash of sludge" is how Edmonton, Alberta's Highbernation describe their sound and after hearing their latest EP "Comatokes" its hard not to agree with them. The band, M.R (guitar/vocals); R.G (bass) and M.J (drums), jam grooves drenched in distortion and fuzz that recall the "weedian" outpourings of "Dopesmoker" era Sleep but with a touch more variety.

As we stated in our introduction piece fuzz and distortion play a huge part in Highbernation's overall sound and it these two effects, plus a generous helping of crashing cymbals and deftly beaten drum skins, that introduces "Comatokes", the first of  the EP's three songs. The songs dissonant intro slowly subsides into dark noise and is then replaced by a more "traditional" arrangement with R.G's rasping bass locking in with M.J's thunderous drums to lay down a thick glutinous platform of stoner doom groove over which M.R layers overdriven guitar parts drenched in grainy fuzz, the guitarist also providing the songs pleasingly throaty and equally grainy vocals. "The Black Sea of Trees" follows next with M.R waxing lyrical about holy men and reapers over a groove that shows why Highbernation are not your atypical stoner doom band, the trio mixing up their Sleep-like refrains with moments of angular psychedelics and spaced out sludge while never letting the dial slip beneath devastation levels. "Reverend Moon" closes out the EP all guns blazing, MJ a whrling dervish utilising every inch of her kit and R.G's bass booming and growling in unison with M.R's caustic guitar, on a groove that begins a little above mid-tempo but then descends into a low slow doomic workout with lysergic undercurrents.

With pedals dialled to corrosive, amps turned up to thirteen and beneath a virtual avalanche of percussion you might be fooled into thinking "Comatokes" is a little on the brutal side but there lies the beauty of this little three song EP because despite its undeniable heaviness and dark, dank intensity "Comatokes" is surprisingly accessible.
Check it out ….

© 2020 Frazer jones

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