Bongzilla Gateway

Light one up, I guess, because here comes Bongzilla, sludging along like the last of the dinosaurs, tripping on their feet and stumbling around in circles. Got to love them for those very reasons though — a Bongzilla release being very comforting in its familiarity and accessibility. On Gateway, the band continues their descent into crusted sludge, sticky tar and post-Sabbath Southern riffery. As always, the tortured gnome vocals just sound weak and silly, and end up fading into the background, which is fine because Gateway would actually be a very effective instrumental disc. Several of the eight songs here stretch out to the eight- or nine-minute point, creating a truly sprawling, pseudo-epic listen. The band seems to exist on an astral plane all their own, but a good contemporary reference point would be Eyehategod, minus the screaming aggression. Bongzilla are a bit too relaxed to get really angry, choosing instead to ride their own wave, one that is more caustic and pissed than any stoner rock band, but that still maintains a vibe, dude, that keeps the party laidback and mellow, with smiles all around, heads bobbing and feet tapping. (Relapse)