Once again, Steak, the meaty quartet from London grace our website and already, you know a juicy offering of riffs will be brought forth. With one of the founders of DesertFest in the line-up and a connection to the fabled ‘Desert Rock Scene’ over in the western reaches of America, Steak are one of the leading bands in helping bring forth the stoner and desert rock scene as a force to be reckoned with in Europe. 2014’s full length debut ‘Slab City’ was a fantastic offering, packed full of hypnotic grooves and psychedelic vibes and ‘No God To Save’ is set to follow on where it left off. So without further exposition, Bon Appetit!
Straight away, the Kyuss comparison and reference is thrown out there. It’s hard to avoid this trope when it comes to stoner rock and the desert rock styled sound and it can probably get boring for the bands who have to hear the same thing over and over, but it can’t be helped. Opening track “Overthrow” has that air about it, not quite ‘Blues For The Red Sun’ and not quite ‘Welcome To Sky Valley” either, it sits somewhere in the middle of both. It’s dark sound and atmosphere brings along with it a tidal wave of low end thundering and fuzz laden riffs which bring a raw and rough round the edge styled vocal delivery, clearly displaying just what this band is about – the groove!
“Coke dick” keeps the groove going with its real heavy feel which in places brings out shades of the Orange Goblin approach to music – heavy, hard and full of attitude, whilst “Clones” which follows it has that hazy feel and air about it which just oozes surrealness. No doubt thanks to the heavy use of reverb, fuzzed out bass and the exotic sounding guitar melodies which at times make it feel like it was pulled right out of the Kyuss back catalogue (Think ‘Gardenia’ from W.T.S.V).
The rest of the record pretty much follows in the footsteps of the opening trio of tracks. Solid rhythmic structure, gratuitous use of fuzz, reverb, delay, overdrive and crisp sounding guitar and bass lines, a very prominent low end sound, be it the clear ringing one or the thunderingly heavy one and a vocal approach which at times has a subtleness to it whilst at other times it is raw and commanding. “King Lizard” has the Monster Magnet feel to it in places thanks to the commanding vocal presence and hook laden guitars whilst “Living Like A Rat” screams Fu Manchu with that dirty tone and punchy feel.
Of course, there are some pitfalls. The predictability and over familiarity of the tracks does detract at times. Knowing what is coming just from listening to the first few minutes can be a downer but that is the nature of the stoner/desert rock style. Solid repetition, heavy saturation of atmospheric feel and a widely accepted approach to creating a sound do lead to a lot of moments sounding the same, but for those who appreciate the genre and style, this is little to complain about. My only criticism is the ending track, “The Ebb”. On one hand, it is a fine instrumental which has a real dirty blues feel to it, revolving around an acoustic guitar which drives it on and some tasty clean licks and it does act like a way to wrap the album up, but part of me wonders if it could have fitted better elsewhere, as a transition track or maybe incorporated into a track instead of merely coming across like a refrain which kind of flows from the previous track “The Wickerman”, but doesn’t have the continuity you would expect.
All that aside, this is another delicious offering of stoner and desert goodness. The juicy sound from ‘Slab City’ continues on into this release, and the whole thing about there not being a god to save has me thinking… If there is music like this, packed full of hypnotic and mesmerising riffs, loaded with fine fuzzy tones and rawness, why bother saving the deity when you can enjoy this fine musical meal?