steak-slab-cityWith a name like Steak, you’d have to imagine this band would be pretty tasty right? The four piece stoner outfit hailing from London have already released two EP’s with fantastic comic artwork and they keep the theme up on their latest offering -Slab City. Can they deliver some cracking stoner rock and can the superhero alter-ego’s of the band defeat “Evil Lazarus”, the villain featured in the comic artwork which comes with the band’s releases? Find out below!

“Coma” opens the album up with some spooky sounding effects, creating a sense of anticipation and tension which steadily builds up and is then over-powered by the sound of a seriously fuzzed out wah-laden guitar which is joined by the rest of the band. As the samples start to trail off, the vocals kick in. The raw power behind them over the filthy groove laid down by the band works a treat and it’s hard to really say who it sounds like. Bits of Clutch, Truckfighters and Orange Goblin can all be picked up in the first three minutes. The rest of the song continues in this thick groove filled manner and it’s a solid opener. “Liquid Gold” follows up and the intro sounds pretty similar to some early Black Pyramid stuff – the haunting, heavily fuzzed out riffs at a slow pace just roll out easily and the vocals are a bit cleaner on this one, giving vocalist Kippa a good showcase of what he can do. The laid back pace of the track is just perfect to kick back to and nod along in approval and with it pushing 7 minutes, it involves a fair bit of nodding. Teasing between slower and slightly faster sections, it really is worthy of the word gold in the title.

Title track “Slab City” is one of the shorter tracks on the album and it kicks off with another fuzzed-out intro which quickly turns into another full on Clutch-like track. The tricky riffs in the verse sections give way to thick sounding chords in the choruses and a well timed lead section helps round the song off brilliantly, letting it flow into the following track. “Pisser” kicks in right away with a real Kyuss vibe, think Blues for the Red Sun era sound and you’ve pretty much got it. The pounding bass, simple drums and fat riffs bounce between steady and up-tempo and the song flows like this till the mid-section. A thick bass with a gradually building drum roll starts to up the urgency and then it all hits with a wall of filthy noise. The strained vocals over the rest of the band ups the intensity and the song continues pretty much like that then for the remainder, trailing off on a howl of feedback. “Quaaludes and Interludes” is the shortest track of the album. It starts off quiet but grows in volume with a simple riff and some samples over it but before it seems to pick up, it just fades out. Seems a bit pointless really.

“Roadhead” opens up with a heavy fast riff and some vocal shouts before it keeps up the vibe from ‘Pisser’. This one is more sludge sounding though and despite the fast intro, it’s a steady paced song, only really speeding up after the verses for the choruses. The heavy sound with the raw vocals works brilliantly and it’s a great pick me up from the disappointing interlude section. A tasty guitar solo kicks in round two-thirds of the way into the track and it works really well in bringing back the fast section for a brief moment before the stomping groove of the verse comes back. It’s a pretty solid track. “Machine” starts off with a very stoner-meets-blues vibe. The simple drums and bass underneath some fantastic leadwork is great and the vocals hiding just underneath the guitar in the mix adds a spaced-out feeling to the track, and it doesn’t really change much till the end when it starts to get a little more urgent with another great outro solo section with more vocals hidden just beneath to close it. “Hanoid” opens with the bass and is thick on groove once more. It speeds up when the guitar takes over the main duties with another fast pace stomp-inducing groove which has an almost gallop-like feel to it. This is a track where the rhythm section really shines through and the lead section starting at 2 minutes in really rips through the track.

“Rising” is the longest track on the album – clocking in at over 8 minutes long. An effects heavy intro sets the scene with wails of controlled feedback over drums and samples. This continues until the 1:30 mark when the band kicks in with a heavy chugging rhythm which starts to pick up more of a groove as it goes on. The powerfully delivered clean vocals over the thick riffs are a treat and as the song gets on, the vocals let loose a little more, adding some flair where needed. The song breaks down into a drum-led groove section with minimalistic guitar work over it and it comes off brilliantly, paving the way for a new groove section which has a slight middle-eastern vibe to it before kicking back into the main sound. The song trails out with more emphasis on the drums and feedback and it finally comes to an end as everything trails off. “Old Timer D.W” is the closing track and after a rather cartoon like sample asking for another song, feedback gives way to a blues sounding fuzzed out riff. There’s some nice slide-work on this simple track and the vocals once again are hiding just beneath the lead. Its a nice slab of filthy blues and a great ending to the album.

In closing, all I have to say about this album is that it is well done! *ba-dum tish!*. Its dirty, it’s got groove and some big, tasty meaty riffs, what more could you ask for?

(8/10 Fraggle)