Music review: Heavy Envelope by Stonebride is a thunderous assault
If imitation really is the most sincere form of flattery, then ginger giant Josh Homme and his feral Queens of the Stone Age compadres should be feeling chipper right about now.
The psychedelic-tinged Coloured Blue, the highlight of Croatian doom rockers Stonebride's third album, Heavy Envelope, could easily have sat next to any of the tracks on QOTSA's finest long player, Rated R. It's the soundtrack to being lost in the desert with nothing but a bag of peyote and a rudely cheap bottle of tequila.
That's not to say the entire album is simply derivative of the desert rock titans. Formed in Zagreb in 2005, Stonebride owe their chugging grooves and vocal harmonies as much to metal's Mastodon and Black Sabbath, and grunge faves Alice in Chains, as anyone. On tracks Lowest Supreme and Lay Low you'd be forgiven for thinking that Chains lead singer Layne Staley had been dug up from the dead and was growling along to the bludgeoning riffs and duelling guitars propelling both songs.
Arriving four years after their last album Summon the Waves, Heavy Envelope's full-on assault kicks off with thunderous intent, its six tracks lean and trimmed of any fat clocking in at a breakneck 32 minutes.
Its easy to digest and closes rather gloriously with the monolithic Venomous, a hard-sludge groove that gives way to more psych-tinged meanderings.
It's the kind of sonic delight you'd imagine Godzilla listening to as he worked up a sweat on the stairmaster.