Not that this is by any means the only measure of its worth, but UK noisemongers Dopefight‘s debut long-player Buds was easily the stoned-est record I heard all year. Everything about it just screamed, “We’re high,” from the abrasive Bongzilla-on-speed riffs to the album art above and the takeout Chinese food that appears on the back cover. Even once the “riff first, vocals later” formula became apparent and I started to get a sense of how the trio was constructing their songs, the tracks were no less enjoyable. And by “enjoyable,” I mean face-peeling.
Because that’s really the thing about Buds. Where usually “stoner” is a tag hoist upon the mellower side of rock and/or metal — no one would walk around calling Cannibal Corpse or Hate Eternal “stoner” bands, however much they may or may not get high — Dopefight foster an oldschool aggression that’s not at all offset by their weedian proclivities. The tracks on Buds were sludgy and loud, but the band was tight and the songs were well-composed. Their anger didn’t overwhelm or take precedence over the music, and Buds knew precisely what it was doing while it was kicking your ass.
It’s going to be a tough one to top, but here’s hoping Dopefight can pull it out for next time. On the strength of Buds alone, I’d still say they’re probably the best British sludge outfit I’ve heard since Iron Monkey. They prove there’s still new avenues to explore within the stoner realm, and that even if you’re walking previously-tread ground, if you step hard enough, the footprint is going to be your own.
Tags: DopeFight, Top 20 of 2010, UK, Unsigned bands