ASG Blood Drive

ASG Blood Drive
7
On their fifth album, and Relapse debut, North Carolina's ASG (once known as All Systems Go) work a most excellent middle ground between heavy stoner rock (think Corrosion of Conformity at their boogiest) and more subdued, Cali-style surfer/stoner (hello, Kyuss). But the pounding drums (the snare takes a beating on great opener "Avalanche") and heavy power chords keep it pretty firmly rooted in metal, even when the soaring vocals threaten to subdue things a bit too much. Check out the chorus for the amazing "Blood Drive" to see how those melodic vocals can work wonders though. The whole package approaches almost a Quicksand-ish conundrum of restrained heaviness complementing the sung vocals; the end result is somehow quite '90s in delivery, but in all the best ways. The clashing of stoner and smart post-hardcore works wonders, while the crashing, booming production keeps things just clean enough for an extremely satisfying listen. (Relapse)