88 Mile Trip [Canada]
Through the Darkest Haze
Here’s some stoner rock out of the country known more for their technical death metal outfits and the bludgeoning war metal scene, Canada. 88 Mile Trip this year releases their debut full length album, Through the Darkest Haze, and even before listening to a single note of the band, the trippy artwork had already fully captivated me.
The band kicks off with some rather cheesy vocal lines, and to be really honest Dave’s vocals does take some time in getting used to. But as soon as the first riffs of Hugo and Casey kick in, one knows one is in for a groovy ride, with their riffs being rather reminiscent of bands like Alter Bridge with some moments even reminding one of the solo works of Bruce Dickinson.
However the band goes into full on stoner mode soon enough, and very quickly one begins drawing comparisons to the works of The Sword, Red Fang or Orange Goblin. Mostly because of Dave’s vocals and the ease in which the band manages to alternate between doomier and heavier, and lighter, catchier moments such as on Serpent Queen (whose introductory moments somehow really remind me of Cloak of Feathers). There’s also the usage of the synths on tracks like Song of the Dead, which gives it a nice retro feel a la Spiritual Beggars. As per the aforementioned bands as well, the bass of Darin is mixed very high on the album, and often the band gives him generous air time to showcase his talents, providing him lead roles on top of the rhythmic one that he plays in adding to the overall groove of Through the Darkest Haze.
While comparisons with contemporary acts are often drawn, the band also explores their roots with many instances throughout the album when they bring out their Black Sabbath influences in their playing and songwriting. For example, on 20 and 8 the band suddenly drops the tempo and ups the heaviness and intensity, with Eddie assaulting his kit relentlessly. The entire dark and broody atmosphere that the band transitions into brings one back to the first 2 ominous records of Sabbath. The band even ends the album with the slow, doom-paced track Sacred Stone which brings in some Electric Wizard or Windhand influences as well, on top of the already ominous Sabbath ones.
Apart from the vocals of Dave that some might take issue with, 88 Mile Trip‘s debut is extremely catchy and easy to listen to, without compromising on the quality and on the influences that have gone into the melting pot that is Through the Darkest Haze.
1. The Repressed
2. 20 and 8
3. Serpent Queen
4. A Call to Rise
5. Burn the Saints
6. The Awakening
7. I’m Not Mad (I’m Just Disappointed)
8. Song of the Dead
9. Sacred Stone
Favourite picks: 20 and 8