You’re not 10 seconds into Lamprey‘s The Burden of Beasts before you’re confronted for the first time with its grooving righteousness. The second EP from Portland, Oregon, trio Lamprey behind Ancient Secrets (review here), it’s a self-release and builds tonally on the band’s dual-bass approach, finding four-stringer Blaine Burnham expanding his vocal reach, incorporating Negative Reaction-esque sludge shouts and Melvins-esque layering behind his and Justin Brown‘s consuming low end assault. Opener “Tjutjuna” is immediately looser within its style and more comfortable-sounding than their past work, and it’s only the beginning of the release.
Throughout the ensuing 28 minutes, they vary pace and approach well and sound more dynamic than one would immediately think a band with two bassists and no guitars could. Drummer Spencer Norman keeps solid time and adds flourish here and there as “Incident at Oxbow” and “Celestial Stag” offset Sleep and more doomed influences with nuance that seems to be Lamprey coming into their own. Burnham and Brown throw in fill lines toward the end of “Incident at Oxbow” to dizzying effect, and for “Celestial Stag,” as killer as that rumble is, it’s the vocals that are the draw, so it’s not like The Burden of Beasts is leaning on its novelty or anything like that.
As the centerpiece, longest and arguably most complex track, “Celestial Stag” is an immediate focal point, but really, the whole EP shows that Lamprey have set to work crafting songs that are more than just low end stoner riffs and shouting. Just to turn the formula on its head, “Sceptre of Sorado” has Floydian psychedelic swirl and a shredding guitar solo — take that, expectation — as well as Moog-ified sprawl, and closer “Lord Fire Giant” bursts out with a thicker (obviously), more aggressive take on “Hole in the Sky,” leaving no question on where Lamprey‘s roots lie, in whatever direction they might grow now and in the future.
To find out for yourself just how heavy the Burden is, check it out on the player below, followed by a few words from the band:
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“Portland, Oregon’s Lamprey humbly offers to the heavy-music community The Burden of Beasts, our new EP of dual-bass riff worship and dark lore. Engineered and mixed by Adam Pike at Toadhouse Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege with artwork by Noelle Barce at Epochal Void, The Burden of Beasts is a bigger, badder monster because of the many talented people who helped us make it, and we are grateful. We encourage you to download it for free from our Bandcamp page, and please — let’s all do our part to support heavy music by going to shows, hitting the merch booths, sharing/liking/reviewing bands on the interwebs, and of course rocking the fuck out. Thank you all for the leg up… now turn it up and release the beast!” — Justin Brown
Lamprey will mark the official release of The Burden of Beasts with a show this Saturday at The Tonic Lounge in Portland. Also performing will be Mane of the Cur, Doomsower and charm specialists Witchasaurus Hex. Click the poster to enlarge.
For those not in the immediate vicinity of Portland (and I guess for those who are, too), Lamprey‘s The Burden of Beasts will be available shortly for purchase and download via their Bandcamp page. You can also hit them up on Thee Facebooks here.
Tags: Lamprey, Lamprey band, Lamprey Portland, Lamprey Portland band, Lamprey stoner, Oregon, Portland, stoner rock