Fuzz abounds on the Billy Anderson-produced full-length debut by Greek trad stoner rockers 1000mods. The Chiliomodi four-piece made a splash late in 2009 with the well-riffed Liquid Sleep 7”, and they follow much the same course on the 10-track Super Van Vacation, nodding at desert rock while keeping a looseness in the material that speaks to a love of jamming. Released by SuiSound/Catch the Soap Productions, Super Van Vacation is long at 65 minutes, but mostly immersive, and 1000mods do well within the rigid parameters of genre they’ve set for themselves, launching the album with the nod-fodder groove of “Road to Burn” (a call-out to Roadburn, perhaps?), one of several extended cuts reaching well over the eight-minute mark. The Orange-amped guitars of Giannis and George are expectedly thick and lay down solid riffs throughout for drummer Labros and bassist/vocalist Dani to follow. Their choice of producer couldn’t have been better, as Anderson is among those who set the standard for recording this kind of music in the first place in his work with the Melvins, Sleep, Acid King and Weedeater (among others), and sure enough, the balance of sounds on Super Van Vacation is near perfect. Tones are dialed in thick and full, and Dani’s vocals cut through well but never dominate the guitars, which are clearly intended as the focus.
The groove of “Road to Burn” – or at least the delivery of the chorus – reminds a bit of Alabama Thunderpussy’s “6 Shooter” from 2000’s Constellation, and that’s one of several moments on Super Van Vacation where 1000mods make their influences explicitly known. Fourth track “Set You Free” seems to find its roots in a combination of Dozer and Astrosoniq, and the ringing guitar notes in the more subdued parts of “Vidage” seem to be calling out to the same sandy gods as did those of Elvis Deluxe’s “Take it Slow” from their stellar 2011 album, Favourite State of Mind. That’s doubtless coincidental and the result of a common Kyuss/Josh Homme influence in both bands, but worthy of note anyway, as it speaks to how much of Super Van Vacation is going to be immediately familiar to experienced heavy rock listeners. Ultimately, it works to 1000mods’ benefit, as it makes them seem like fans of the music they’re playing, and I’ll take nothing away from Dani’s bass runs, which are pushed to the fore of the mix in the second half of “Vidage” before the guitar solo kicks in. They’re a genre band, definitely, playing largely off the characteristics that have emerged over the past several years of stoner rock revivalism in Europe – the emphasis on jamming one finds in the second half of Super Van Vacation only speaks further to that – but damned if they don’t do it well on these tracks and earn their place at the head of the Greek stoner scene along with the stalwart likes of Nightstalker, who themselves lifted a great deal from Monster Magnet along the way.