Slow Death Lights are a stoner-rock group based in Toronto, Canada who are trying to revive the genre in their country. Their new self-titled album is their first release since 2015’s Broken Spirit Desert Nightmare. Since, the band has been performing in their local area, getting noticed by labels and festivals alike. For their latest project, the band have worked with names such as Brant Bjork to produce just the right sound, and plan to tour their new tracks later on in 2017.
The album begins with Velvet Rags, a track that plays heavily on the harmonic minor scale. I thought the radio effect on the vocals was a good choice, and their drummer certainly has an excellent feel for what the music needs. City of Lights has a great build up, featuring bass and vocals in the first two phrases then introducing the guitar, and loud, crashing cymbals in the chorus. The vocals get gritty and rough in the track’s last chorus which proves to be a great addition. A great guitar riff begins the next song, The Blood To Stone Me. Although the track predominantly focuses on instrumentals, the vocal melody is reminiscent of bluesy rock ‘n’ roll. Dirty Chores lives up to its namesake in sound, but is also filled with contrasts. The first verse is mostly staccato which is then contrasted with the smooth and sustained section immediately following.
It was in Ironwood Trees that I really understood the notion of stoner-rock. The beat is lazy and the vocals are gruff, but it all seems to fit together to sound hard-core. Good Woman starts with some great interplay between guitars, and has sporadic phrases of harmony in its chorus. I felt as though the main melodic hook of the vocals was too simple and could’ve added a minor seventh or blues third to shake it up a bit. Valley Road was a breath of fresh air, because although it used the same chordal structure as the previous song, it faded in at the beginning. This isn’t something you hear often and it was great to listen to as someone who likes to be surprised by music. Not to mention the fact that the guitar was absolutely amazing in this track. The next song was probably one of my favourites of the album. Peach played on minor sevenths and used a simple but catchy riff. For the last track, Watermill was a great choice. Not only were the drums and rhythms amazing but the little guitar interludes between vocal sections made the song stand out.
I think this band’s plight to revive a whole sub-genre is commendable. They’re the perfect band to do so, with clearly talented performers and composers that make their sound not only catchy but accessible to listeners that don’t usually enjoy hard-core rock and metal. I give the album 9.5/10.
Listen to the album on Soundcloud