Seems like you can’t throw a limited-edition vinyl of Degüello, Welcome To Sky Valley or Captain Beyond without hitting 18 bands trying to cop that feel, morph it, and – hopefully – twist it into something their own. Complain about the surplus of post-black metal bands these days all you want, and Lord knows I do, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the sheer glut of stoner rock bands. Mind you, not doom. Not at all. Very different animals, muchaco, and rarely even of the same species, when done right.
Returning with its all-important third album, Wisconsin’s 20 WATT TOMBSTONE throws its hat in the ring once again…but probably shouldn’t have bothered. Opener ‘Prophet Man’ tried to call forth the groove of America’s Volume Dealer-era COC, but watered down to the most bland, grape-juice-instead-of-communion-wine pablum. The lyrics are no better, the ever low hanging fruit of the money-grubbing “Christian” evangelist, which was cool when ICECROSS did it in 1973, timely when the thrash bands eviscerated Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton and a host of others in the ‘80s, but now falls flat in the face of the true spiritual corruption all of us should see every time we look in the mirror. Take the log out of your own eyes, fellas.
‘Bomb That Saved The Day’ is basically a variation on the two songs that came before, and if you’ve ever heard, well, any BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, you’ve heard this, only with actual musicianship and guitar work instead of the riff I’ve just learned on first listen. Not because it’s memorable, it’s simply that juvenile and undeveloped. Dragging its ass and tail behind it, ‘Black Top Sorrow’ would like to be more sludgy, more doom, but what it is is chicken shit from the bottom of Dave Sherman (R.I.P.) of EARTHRIDE’s boot, and it’s funny to me that the only tracks on the album that exude any energy whatsoever are covers. ‘Nuff said for that.
Three albums in, and The Chosen Few sounds like the work of a band all the other kids in Jr. High love going to see. Because they can. In their basement. 20 WATTs ain’t much anyhow. Time to knock the TOMBSTONE over.
Review By: Lord Randall
20 WATT TOMBSTONE
The Chosen Few