By: Martyn Coppack

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Released on April 13, 2015 via Totem Cat Records

Naming your band after an album classed as a cornerstone of a genre may be a particularly dangerous thing to do, but one shouldn’t worry too much where Dopethrone are concerned. In fact, we should applaud there bravery in this instance as Hochelaga can stand tall with its erstwhile namesake as a heavy, crunching album that digs out its own little corner of the sludge/doom genre.

There’s nothing particularly different about Dopethrone but they do have a massive pile of riffs and this is what they deliver. Riff upon colossal riff pounding its way into whatever hell it feels like as growled vocals deliver a sermon of evil against a backdrop of pummelling drums. The song titles say it all really, ‘Sludgekicker’, ‘Riff Dealer’ and song title of the year ‘Scum Fuck Blues’. These are certainly not ballads.

It’s utterly pointless to dissect the album further as the point is to immerse yourself in the music and let your imagination (or drugs) take you away. There is a nifty line in samples between songs, which provide some sort of context and the occasional vocal line drifts out of the mayhem to sink into your mind. ‘Chameleon Witch’ is a great example of this and you can almost make out some sort of story.

It’s not all riffs though. There are some fantastic guitar solos, which break up the compounding doom of the riffs plus there is a vitality about Dopethrone that sets them apart from a lot of their peers. The production is second to none and delivers repeated rewards on further listens.

When all is said and done this album is pretty perfect if riffs and doom is your kind of thing. There isn’t much in the way of progression and all the songs do tend to sound the same, but when the riff is as majestic as this then all else pales in insignificance. Dopethrone may not be challenging Electric Wizard just yet, but given time they may well be spoken of on the same turns.

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