WXCI Local Music Spotlight: Afghan Haze’s ‘Nihilistic Stoner Hymns’

January 5, 2021 | By
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Afghan Haze

 

CT stoner rockers Afghan Haze release their debut record, Nihilistic Stoner Hymns

I’ll start by stressing that this album is not for the faint of heart. If you are currently finding yourself in need of a period of rest and relaxation after the trying time that was most of last year, maybe you should sit this record out. On the other hand, if you are in the mood for some impressively oppressive doom metal, you should certainly consider giving a listen to Afgan Haze’s debut record Nihilistic Stoner Hymns.

A CT based quartet specializing in what they call “Booze Metal” (a genre tag shared by only seven other groups on Bandcamp), Afghan Haze is composed of guitarist Jon Harrison, bassist Erik Barrett, drummer Randall Colburne and vocalist Jonathan Mlyniec. Among the band’s lineup are members who’ve had their hand in several other notable metal projects in the CT indie scene, though this is their first full-length outing as a unit. It is a doozy to say the least.

To be transparent, I was not initially drawn to Nihilistic Stoner Hymns by its music as much as its indisputably over-the-top cover and title. The hellish psychedelic imagery of a gigantic lizard marijuanaut demoness laying waste to a city is hard to simply scroll by. Doom metal enthusiasts know that a cover this absurd can only lead to an enjoyable record at the very least (see any Electric Wizard or Sleep album cover for proof).

Listening to Nihilistic Stoner Hymns quickly proved these preconceptions right, while also surprising me with the amount of lyrical depth and technical prowess displayed by the band over the course of the runtime. For an album that sells itself simply as a stoner rock LP, it comes through with a solid amount of relevant social commentary. For example, the tracks ‘Southern Bastard Church’ and ‘Melonheads’ each appear to similarly attack religious zealots and chauvinistic tendencies of many Americans.

‘Southern Bastard Church’ is an easy highlight on the record thanks to the towering wall of sound created by the layered instrumentation; evoking an almost herculean sense of doom. This serves as a perfect backdrop to Mlyniec’s lamentations about the “waves of suffocation” that are going to kill him and those he loves. A similar aesthetic is brought to the previous track ‘Faceless Dog’, which evokes the feeling that the listener is actually being hunted by the titular beast.

Afghan Haze makes sure to bring a few more fast paced moments to the record that are head bang friendly. ‘Melonheads’ sees a fair bit of this in the way that it incorporates a few hints of funk-metal into the mix. A momentous rhythm makes its way into the end of the track ‘Drug Mountain’ that sounds like it would be the perfect point in a live set to start a mosh. It’s a shame that moshes are all but extinct amongst this current pandemic.

At the very least, however, we’ve got some good tunes to hold us over until we can hear them live again. Nihilistic Stoner Hymns is no exception to this statement, as it currently stands as the first enjoyable record I’ve heard released thus far. If you are interested in what you’ve heard me say about the record, as well as supporting some kickass local talent, I would recommend heading over to Afghan Haze’s Bandcamp page and seeing what they have to offer!

Click Here to Visit Afghan Haze’s Bandcamp Page

-DJ Straight Edge

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Category: New Music, Reviews