On the Radar: The Polish Scene, Vol. 3 — Belzebong

If there’s one thing that stands out about the Polish scene we’ve been exploring one band at a time (past installments here and here), it’s a universal hunger to be heard. Hell, the main reason this whole thing kicked off was because one of the dudes in Satellite Beaver was like, “Hey man, you need to check out all these other bands too,” when I reviewed Luna Negra. Likewise, Belzebong, an instrumental outfit from Poland, dropped a line in the comments and said to hit upĀ their MySpace. I’m nothing if I’m not the trained monkey of stoner rock and doom metal. Just tell me in what direction to dance and I’m there.

For what it’s worth, Belzebong are the most definitively stoner of the acts from the Polish scene we’ve yet encountered. The two tracks on MySpace are instrumental (with samples) and rely on hyper-grooving riffs to carry the band. It’s a formula that should be familiar to fans of Bongzilla and Electric Wizard, as well as the sundry other acts whose sound basically rounds out to “riffs plus” — riffs plus vocals, riffs plus samples, riffs plus solos, and so on. The guitar is definitely the vocal point, and there are solo/lead lines running throughout “Bong Thrower” that are varyingly lyrical, but Belzebong are a riff band. Any changes they make or flourishes they add, their songs are still based around riffs and riffs and, well, riffs.

It seems like a familiar formula and it is, but like Satellite Beaver, Broken Betty and Luna Negra, if Belzebong aren’t groundbreaking so much in their sound, there are several explanations behind it. First and foremost, there wasn’t a Polish scene to speak of before these bands came along. Consider the Scandinavian lineage of heavy music. Sure, these bands would have access to outsider rock from the internet and word of mouth, buying records, etc., but that’s nowhere near the same as having your own scene. Second, Belzebong (and everyone else covered in this series) are a demo band, just getting their start. If they still have developing to do, that’s to be expected. For what it’s worth now, they’ve got a goat-devil holding a bong with their logo and they’ve got the will to do some serious ear-damage. That’s a pretty killer start if you ask me.

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