H.O.W. - Fiends in High Places CD
So I'm standing next to the bar at Volume 11 Tavern one evening when my friend Ed, zombie movie actor & bass player for the band KNOWLEDGE IS FOR FOOLS, walks up and hands me this CD. So I asked him where did this come from. He told me that he got it in the club's men's room. That's when I had to remind him never except things from strangers in public restrooms. You never know when a congressman might be in the stall next to you. Now be that as it may I accepted the CD in order for reviewing purposes. After one listen my first thoughts were "Past the bong I think I'm Geezer Butler!" Which would probably make for a great song or album title.
H.O.W. are the latest inductees into the realm known as Bands Inspired By BLACK SABBATH's Master of Reality LP. Or more commonly known as Stoner Rock with an emphasis on the word "stoner" What did you think H.O.W. means, Hump Our Whale? No you coke headed spazz it's HOOKED ON WEED! I give H.O.W. credit and respect for holding to the Stoner Rock theme. In other words there's a drug reference of some type in all of their songs. For the past couple of years there's been a few "well known" bands dragging their love of SAB into the Sword & Sandal category. Personally I think that's a little fucked up but then they are geared towards the Indie Rock Loser crowds. On the other hand H.O.W. are rocking out to the children of the Metal. I know I mentioned SABBATH but I'm hearing some TROUBLE in here as well. Now this CD is only four song's worth but each cut is like getting the munches with only a buck in your pocket. You wish you had more. The opening cut, "Tonight" and the third cut "Trip" sound like outtakes from Master of Reality. Well with the exception of the vocals that thankfully don't sound like someone trying to copy Ozzy. Remember that TROUBLE reference? Great vocals, clean sounding stuff, this guy should be commended for the effort.
"Cryptic Thoughts" is pure 70s Metal, not Power Metal, this is Never Say Die territory. Plus there's a section in this song where the vocalist could've let loose with a falsetto scream right before the guitar solo. But no he held off something that would've made it sound interesting. It's the shortest cut on here at three plus minutes, the rocker. By the way great guitar solo their dude, now where did I put my air guitar? That's right air guitar and wanting cheesy falsetto screams. I'm picturing myself in the front passenger seat of my friend's Nova in 1980. Cruising down the town's mainstreet with the windows rolled up to keep the "fog" in while this is blasting on the 8-Track. "International Drug Trade" is like a stripped down HAWKWIND opus. By "stripped down" I mean just guitar, bass, drums and vocals that jump from being up front to falling back into whispers. When you're high everyone seems to be whispering. Can't wait to hear a full length by H.O.W. in the future. I might even get "oriental" just to enhance the atmosphere.