Mixed and engineered by Matt Dawkins. Assistant engineer, Mike Tudorowski. Produced by Motherslug and Matt Dawkins. Mastered by Paul Fox at Indie Masters, Mastering Melbourne AU. Album photography by Jason Vassallo. Album portraits by Rebecca Cooper.
Released on Noslip Records on Thursday 13 April 2023.
For fans of Acid King, Sleep, Mean Green.
Blood Moon Blues (2023) is the second full-length album from Melbourne, Australia’s masters of stoner doom, Motherslug.
If your thing is slow-paced, heavy-as, blues-fueled, psychedelically-infused stoner doom, then you are in for a treat with this latest release from Motherslug.
The album opens with the gentle, resonating, acoustic fingerpicking of “Misery” (track 1) which put me in mind of the genius that is Splinterskin. It is a beautiful tune with a delicate melody; a world away from the crushingly heavy “Hordes” (track 2)—the guitars, a muddy, distorted dirge; the fuzzy bass trundles along the bottom while drums pound out a steady rhythm and Crichton’s vocals bark. The guitar solo is a masterclass in psychedelia.
“Breathe” (track 3) has a pleasingly plodding beat, bouncy bass line and catchy melody. While “The ballad of Jock Brown” (track 4) is a slow, bluesy affair with drawled lyrics and a slithering backing band.
“Evil” (track 5) lifts the pace again and drops back to a muffled-fuzz heaviness. You can almost visualise the guitar amplifier speakers vibrate, it is that flappingly distorted. A minute into the track, things go off-piste a little and wander into free-form, trippy territory before eventually returning to close out the track with the opening riff.
Much of the rest of the album follows in a similar vein with one song blending into the next. Occasionally, I hear thematic nods to Hawkwind and Black Sabbath, with ballad “You (a love song)” (track 11) appearing to be something of a love song for “Planet Caravan”.
And, as it began, the album closes with the same resonating, acoustic guitar as the album opener in “Misery (slight return)” (track 12), the title presumably a nod to Jimi Hendrix.
There is no doubt that this is one heavy album: a lesson to anyone who thinks that to be heavy you need to play at a million miles per hour with cutting, crunchy guitars. There is heaviness in the depth, in the darkness, in the muddy overdrive of this Australian outfit.
While the songs got a bit ‘samey’ in middle, it opens and closes strongly and could have benefited from a few tracks being cut to make it more punchy and immediate. It was during tracks seven to ten that the album lost me a little each listen.
But as I started, if your thing is slow-paced, heavy-as, blues-fueled, psychedelically-infused stoner doom, then you are in for a treat with this latest release from Motherslug.
Review score: 70%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Motherslug’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Motherslug. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Motherslug for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.