I love a good instrumental, and Gravel Drag‘s (Chris Bowyer – bass, Ben McKinney – drums, Steve McKinney – guitar) Sly Fox EP has four of them. All are tight stoner rock tracks that each clock in under four minutes. Gravel Drag doesn’t have time for spacing out for long stretches. They’re too busy making hard-hitting swamp metal.
“War Beast” sounds like Helmet and Sleep met in a dark alley and got into a fight. Ben McKinney’s drums remind me of classic Helmet fills and Steve McKinney and Chris Bowyer supply the heavy Sleep-like riffs.
“The Legend of Sly Fox” is peppier than “War Beast,” but it’s no less heavy. I love how crisp Ben McKinney’s snare is in this. “KnockoutKing” is a knockout. Loud, squelching guitar, one-two punch combo bass, and mosh pit drums all equal a great tune.
The closer is “Radio Curse,” and I wonder if the title refers to the lack of radio play for instrumental riff rock like this. Bowyer channels his inner Peter Hook with his bass at first and then drops stuff heavier than Hook ever did in Joy Division.
It’s a shame this is only a four-song EP because it’s heavy enough to be a full album. An LP from these guys would probably have the mass of a dwarf star.
Keep your mind open.
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