8During my usual trawls through the internet looking for new blood to listen to I came across this band by accident and was thoroughly impressed with this album which is their fifth, yes fifth release in eight years and they’re from New Zealand. Whilst the band is not going to win awards for innovation musically, vocally the guys throw a few sucker punches with clean vocals inhabiting the songs that sound like they should be there rather than being implanted into the songs for commercial gains. The album opens nicely with “As It Burns” and the immediate thing to strike home is the Amon Amarth style hooks deployed and similar roaring vocal style. The title track follows and the copious amounts of groove hint at the Southern States booze fuelled metal of the good ol’ US of A. As you hit “Summoned To Rise” the appearance of clean vocals is unleashed and at first they catch you unawares and maybe with a raised eyebrow but repeated listens to this album show why they are integral to the bands musical thunder. The hook is stupendous and the clean vocal line soars majestically above the galloping double kick.

8 Foot Sativa have some rather nifty riffs and hooks up the sleeves such as the groove laden drive of “Never Abide” which has traits of Iced Earth in a US power metal style way, saturated in melody but heavy as hell. It is also damn good to hear quality lead work, that sits comfortably in every song instead of being stand alone isolationist pieces for the sake of it. The band has a canny ethos as they write their music with the right balance between heaviness and accessibility as on “Visions Of Red” which is point blank groove metal and followed by the excellent “Back To Bare Bone” with its rousing powerhouse chorus and enough clout to inflict aural bruising throughout. Likewise with “West As” with its death metal melody being extremely catchy. I’m fairly sure people will dismiss this band as wannabees from a country not to known for its metal exportations but I would hasten you to check them out as they offer easy to digest tunes that sink effortlessly into memory.

(8/10 Martin Harris)