This Friday (26), California sludge/doom rockers Atala will drop their latest album, Labyrinth of Ashmedal on Salt of the Earth Records. To get people psyched, we asked guitarist Kyle Stratton to give us a list, perhaps of music that informed the making of the concept album. Instead, he provided the following, which might be even better:
I was asked by Metal Insider to write about anything I wanted. Well, first mistake is to give me free reign. Here it goes, this is my list of the top ten sludge and doom bands to listen to while you’re tripping on acid.
High on Fire, “Snakes for the Divine”
As you drop that micro-dab, the guitar starts in with beauty and anxiety. Your stomach turns as the rhythm section slowly builds in. They begin to slay and the L.S.D. starts to kick in. The vocals make their way in, making you question, “am I a God or just a decaying piece of debris born into this world of suffering.” The rhythm section under these brilliant riffs start to make you lose track of time and space itself. The guitar solo intensifies the acid trip vastly, pulling you further into the world of your minds creation.
Drifting into a world of alternate consciousness, the falling rain keeps you connected to this reality. Faint ringing in the distance. As the music starts in you immediately lose grasp. “Am I real, do I exist at all?’ you ask yourself as you drift away into a state of nothingness. You become part of all, lost in the dissonance of the riffing. Somehow beneath this unique sound the vocals touch on melody. You become comfortable with reality crumbling around you as you enter this dream world. The heavy rhythms bring you back to earth while understanding your place here.
Monolord , “Cursing the One”
It’s time to chill out and smoke some pot. As you break up some kind purples and roll a joint, Monolord brings in some heavy drone riffing. This puts your mind right where it needs to be. The crushing riffs help you to float away. Giving way to the space filled vocals you drift into the universe. As you float past a crab nebula you begin to realize, if you exist at all you are only energy drifting in and out of gravitational fields, from one plane to another, then back again. Wow man, you’re high.
Eyehategod, “Peace through War (Thru Peace and War)
The punk bassline brings you back to Earth exactly when you were about to fade into nothing. Back to the reality of our current existence. It is important to add some truth into an acid trip or your face may melt off dripping to the ground. The frustration formed by the guitar and drums give way to the angry vocals. That is just what you needed to bring you back to the garage, where you have been hiding out from your judging significant other. “Oh yeah, here I am, back in reality,” you tell yourself.
Acid Bath – “Pagan Love Song” *
Good thing you came to your senses. Just then, your old lady walks out to see why you haven’t come to bed yet. Rather than admit you are high on acid, you put her favorite song on. “Hey babe,” you say, “I’m not high on acid, I’m listening to Acid Bath.” The look of disdain washes over her face as it changes form. Nervously you ask yourself, “does she know, can she tell I am frying balls?” Oh well, this band kills, you get lost in the brilliance of Dax Riggs ‘vocal stylings. She mumbles something as she leaves the room, but all you hear are the beautiful soundscapes Acid Bath creates.
*not available on Spotify
Conan – “Throne of Fire”
The noise intro brings your trip back into a world within your own head. The low tuned guitars and heavy drumming evoke a primal instinct in you. Now in a forest of your mind, shadows moving around, your heart rate rises. You begin to remember you are an animal, a mammal to be precise. As the vocals fill you with an intense regard towards survival, you smell something in the distance. Could this be another animal, are you in danger? Face to face with a bear you realize your fight or flight has kicked in and you are not running from the confrontation.
Ufomammut – “Temple”
As your body lies broken into millions of pieces shredded and mauled, the experimental intro centers you, you begin to forget where you have been and what you have gone through. The sounds of the open drumming and heavy riffing conjure visions of an elephants feet pounding the ground. He stomps his way towards you ever so slightly as to calm your nerves after suffering such a defeat. As you look up, you realize it is the God Ganapati, sent to put you back together. Lost in a bath of sound, you notice your body liquefy, pool, and merge back together again. Your organs sound as you rise once more.
Pallbearer – “Ghost I Used to Be”
Forgetting who you were, lost in a coma, your mind drifts away to the opening melody. Together again, the singing and lyrics make you recollect your past once forgotten. Pieces of the person you were once before begin to show themselves. “Am I who I was, or who I am now?” you begin to ask yourself,” Will I break free of the troubled past I thought I had left behind.” The song writing here really leaves you searching. Does this search ever end, or does only death free us? I don’t know, but Pallbearer will help you explore as they fade out with a melodic jam.
Electric Wizard – “Return Trip”
Just when you thought you had found some sort of peace and clarity, you begin to come down. The noise of the guitar and the deep bass and drumming, bring you down to earth. The guitar comes in heavy and lets you know you are alive and breathing. Feel the frustrations of this world built on chaos and torture. “Get off my case mother fucker,” the sample says. This reminds you of work, “oh yeah I got a job.” A rad guitar solo grabs your attention then fades into tormented vocals. You begin to realize there is nothing here for you only pain. “Man, fuck coming down, I want to stay in this world,” you think to yourself as the guitar fades out.
Pilgrim – “Astaroth”
Coming completely back to the realm of our existence, you vibe to Pilgrim. As they prey to the demon Astaroth you find some kind of solace. The sullen atmospheres they create help to calm you as you role the nights last joint, pure Indica. Trying to get your body to sleep, the chanting in the intro relaxes you. One last sliver of a lucid dream comes back. As the lead vocals come in you begin to walk through the gates of Hell. You see souls tortured as you walk down the darkened path of a shadow world. Souls melting into one and other as the path ends. “Shit,” you say aloud as you regain awareness, “That was fucking trippy.”