Egypt - Become the Sun
Self-released
Stoner Doom
10 songs (58' 46")
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Andy

I was rather surprised I hadn't heard of North Dakotan stoner doom trio Egypt before -- after a chance encounter on BandCamp and some subsequent listens, I couldn't resist reviewing their first full-length. Become the Sun is a gritty, bluesy stoner delight that is nicely produced, and it easily captivated me. I don't pay much attention to cover art normally, but the art on this album is rather fun to check out. Looking at it from a distance it seems like just some hooded guy stretching out his hands to the sun, but looking closer, one can see that it depicts a wizard getting slowly burned up by the sun instead -- in front of him are the bones of those who came before, and behind him are more wizards waiting for their turn to get fried.

The sound is heavily guitar/bass driven; while drummer Chad Heille gets some airtime, his kit is a little farther back in the mix and leaves bassist Aaron Esterby and guitarist Neil Stein to push fat, slow, riff-filled melodies on the unsuspecting listener. Esterby's vocals are deep and gravelly, close to leaving clean territory in their roughness. Matterhorn is slow and dragging, but a surprising amount of their tracks, such as Stalker or Snakecharmer, have the swinging beat and catchiness of a good blues song, except much heavier, of course. Not to say that these are expected to become mainstream hits -- Orb of the Wizardking, which goes from painfully slow to rather catchy, depending on the portion of the song, is over eight minutes long. In true stoner-doom fashion, one track, Greenland, is reserved for a spaced-out, bass-oriented instrumental, which is easy on the ears and not quite as forgettable as some doom instrumentals. They take time out for a rendition of Deep Purple's Black Night, which, given their musical pedigree, doesn't seem like a particularly risky proposition -- and indeed, though their keyboard is not as good as Jon Lord's, they otherwise nail it.

Overall the band stays pretty accessible with their snappy, bluesy Sabbath worship, except on their final track. Elk River Fire, the longest, is another instrumental, which doesn't seem like it would work after the band just indulged in a shorter instrumental break a short time ago. But this eleven-minute behemoth actually manages to slither into the background without boring the listener; one just sort of goes with the flow (even if one is not wreathed in a cloud of reefer smoke) and it comes out alright. This little indie release makes for a pleasant hour of listening that will appeal to more than only stoner doom fans, and since it's a BandCamp release, there is really no excuse not to go check it out.

Killing Songs :
The Village is Silent, Orb of the Wizardking, Snakecharmer
Andy quoted 88 / 100
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