Hailing from Perpignan in France, Southern Badass is a band which in Born In Mud has released an album as intriguing as it is pleasing. With a core of southern/stoner rock and other added spices such as doom and heavy metal, the release is an imaginative and engaging album, it is not always as successful as it could be but is continually brewing up pleasure and positivity to its enterprising encounters.
The project of multi-instrumentalist Arno Bechet, Southern Badass brings essences of artists such as Kyuss, Down, and Corrosion Of Conformity into a healthy and inspiring brew with flavourings from others like Metallica and Black Sabbath. It is a mix which gives the album a good variety across its length as well as making individual songs unpredictable and captivating for the most.
From the instrumental At The Gates the album takes a grip on the thoughts with Wrath Temptation, a pulsating piece of sizzling stoner rock with a heavyweight presence through the excellent bass work and snapping rhythms. The guitar is a fiery creature throughout which adds extra spice to a captured imagination. As with the album as a whole, arguably there is not a lot of open originality on show but with the enjoyment given for the main it is hard to really care. The vocals of Bechet have a near perfect American drawl which belies the mother tongue of the man and just add to the authentic heated breath of the track.
From the very strong start the album shuffles things up through the dirty blues tinged furnace of Call Of New Orleans and the cruising gait of Nowhere Man. The first of the pair sparks with tight melodic flames and a raw acidic energy and continues the impressive start whilst the second is simply a rock n roll party for the road which gets the job done without firing up any extra passion its way. Both songs, as the album too, are slow burners, tracks which reveal their persuasion over several plays rather than in one union with the ear. It is a release which needs focused attention but rewards the time given.
Further highlights come with The Witch and its grumbling bone shaking basslines, Back To Where I Want, another song where the bass growls to offer a deeper textured snarl, and Voodoo Girl. The first pair of songs are feisty riots of southern grit and towering stoner touching sludge might to agitate and provoke the senses and emotions into a strongly receptive stance whilst the latter is a smoky southern croon to soundtrack a whisky drinking session and seductive wanton encounter. All three songs leave an appetite to keep a keen eye on the project in the future whilst making many returns to the release in the now.
Closing with the outstanding pulsating instrumental Sons Of The Sun, the album is one all stoner fans should take a look at. It is not perfect, the production at times offering a cloudy surface upon a sound from a genre which already is thick with intensity, whilst there are a couple of songs and other moments where the ideas feel either forced or given too much rope. Overall though Born In Mud is a highly enjoyable release which just needs time to state its case.
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