Backwoods Payback - Backwoods Payback
Self Financed
Southern-Fried Stoner Metal
11 songs (48:49)
Release year: 2007
Backwoods Payback
Reviewed by Kayla

When Backwoods Payback came across my desk, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I put the cd into my stereo. The name conjured up images of southern-fried hard rock, possibly with a heaping helping of hardcore, while the album cover brought to mind something straight out of the seventies, a bunch of dudes who counted Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath as their biggest influences. Apparently both were right (well, except for the part about hardcore – there’s not a single shred of that to be found), as when I pressed play, a sludgy, doomy mountain of a riff fell on me. The rest of the album unrolled in a slow, heavy tide of southern-fried stoner metal, like the bastard child of High On Fire and Clutch (given how deep the southern-frying goes, it’s interesting to discover that the band itself hails from Pennsylvania).

Most of the riffing in Backwoods Payback’s self-titled is slower and laid-back, with a rolling rhythm that brings that southern touch into it. The rolling quality makes the heaviness all that much more prominent, like a thick fog rolling over the listener. Everything is drowning in fuzz; these guys have definitely taken a page directly from High On Fire’s playbook when it comes to production. Between the rolling rhythms that pop up throughout the album and the steady layer of fuzz and distortion, even faster-paced songs like You Shittin’ Me? have a bluntness to them that cleaner production would turn into something closer to the straightforward hard rock end of the spectrum.

The riffs themselves are fairly simple, but the simplicity works for most the album. Highlight tracks like Wide Eyed manage to achieve the kind of meditative flow that marked Kyuss’s sound, especially on Welcome To Sky Valley. The quiet intro and choppier riffing create that same sense of being driven toward something you can’t quite identify, though Backwoods Payback’s southern injection makes it clear that whatever it is, you’ll enjoy it. The two final tracks stand out as well, with Runaway Sinclair bringing a hard-rock catchy riff that, while missing the sheer power of a semi truck (as I assume the title is referencing the truck manufacturing company) still grabs the attention of the listener and forces heads and other sundry body parts to start moving to its rhythm. 16 Penny Driven is perfect as a closer for the album, bringing a plaintive note to its heaviness that owes its existence to the double-layered vocals that appear for the first and last time, and are all the more effective for that.

Backwoods Payback deliver something that’s deceptively straightforward, bringing an interesting twist to the sludgy, fuzzed-out stoner metal sound. Nowhere near as massive and powerful as High On Fire, though moreso than Kyuss, more staid than Clutch and far more creatively infused than Black Label Society, they serve up something solid and satisfying.

Killing Songs :
Wide Eyed, Brandywine, Runaway Sinclair, 16 Penny Driven
Kayla quoted 74 / 100
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