reviewing The Soda Comp. Vol 1 yesterday, I was reminded of Reg at Heavy Planet's best of 2010 list, of which Gozu was on. Not only that, but these guys popped up on a number of year-end lists, and that made me want to hear more. I forgot all about that, until the review of the comp, so I figure what better time then now to get it out there? I am kind of sick (bachelor party at an all-you-can-eat steak joint, you all understand) and am having a little problem stringing these words together (spelling is a big deal right now), so this one may be a little clipped. I'll try to get everything I want out.
My taste of Locust Season from the comp is pretty accurate; the album is chock-full of groove-oriented stoner metal. Although that is the base description it does not make this album dull by any means. They do use some special effect for emphasis; the vocals often have the effect that they are spoken through a voice box (most notably in "Regal Beagle"), layered vocals makes an appearance in "Rise Up", as does an acoustic guitar intro, and the beginning of "Meat Charger" sounds straight-up like AC/DC. Each song pretty much has something slightly different about it to have it stand apart from the rest, the trick is just finding that little extra.
One thing I do have to mention is that the first half of the album is pretty lackluster when compared to the second. I don't know exactly what the transition is but the songs from track five and on really take off. The guitar lines are more powerful, the songs are more varied, the vocals are better delivered, it just seems better some how. The only exception to this is the final song "Alone" which is a little too spacey and psych when compared to all of the earlier tracks. I'm sure if I give Locust Season a couple more listens I'll change my tune as it is a good song, it just stands out too much from the composition of the previous (and the creepy sounding girl singing "Tomorrow" as the true ending...damn 'hidden tracks').
Gozu's debut has been getting nothing but good words from the press and I can easily see why; their songs are full of the groove, a little bit of funk, and a whole lot of skill. I really need to listen to this album all the way through again - especially when I'm not sick, I'm sure I'll se a couple of songs differently - as it does have some amazing songs on Locust Season. I couldn't really see this as one of my favorites from 2010, but if I expanded my list from twenty to fifty like some other people did, maybe. Any way you look at it, this album deserves your ear, especially if you like the darker end of stoner, the heavier, more oppressive side... this is where Gozu makes their home.