Both grunge and stoner rock are integrally tied to the landscape of their creation. Bands like Kyuss, Queens Of The Stoned Age or Fu Manchu conjure images of desert caravans, where mesquite smoke drifts on the breeze like a genie's unhallowed curse, while coyote howls shiver in the air like a heat sick desert mirage.
Grunge, on the other hand, brings to mind logging trucks racing down the highway, epic douglas firs lashed four-by-four and covered in metallic gray tarpaulins.
Neither of which have much to do with the southern Swedish town of Malmo, but such is the world we're living in, where fantastic desert devotees like the outstanding desert groove outfit Huanastone hail from.
Call me old fashioned, or sentimental or maybe the mescaline-soaked fever of the summer is setting in, but this low-slung, groddy, grime-y, grungy four-track self-titled EP Huanastone is ticking all the right boxes for me. When you're into a genre, there's always the risk that you'll always like more of the same, and disregard the rest. Stoner rock, however, is a different story. While cross-eyed, growly, gravelly guitar rock will always be in vogue, for metal connoisseurs, it's REALLY hard to stand out in the crowded stoner arena. Most stoner bands sound like Kyuss or Black Sabbath tribute bands, which might also be said of Huanastone, except there's a little more to the story than that when you listen closely.
The well-tooled precision of album opener "Eye On Walrus" says more than 100 well-intentioned album reviews ever could. Guitars turn on a dime, sputtering into spectral half-life like a team of well-rehearsed Gurdjieff dancers, freezing in midair. Huanastone may take inspiration from altered states and desert mysticism, but they're clearly all business when it comes to rehearsal. They never miss a beat or flub a cue.
THIS, my friends, is how you make an exceptional hard rock record! We must remember classic albums like the first Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin albums were created in a couple of days. REAL bands are tight, know their shit and come prepared.
This lets the engineers - in this case Wincent Persson of Chicken Creek Productions - do their thing, and do it well! Persson expertly captures the fuzz and hum and sweat of truly great desert/stoner rock, reminding us why the hell we liked the genre so much to begin with, while still contributing to the genre.
Haunastone have actually expanded upon the legacy of Kyuss and QOTSA, from the unlikely forest home of Malmo, Sweden. Just proves that great sweaty rock n' roll can come from any latitude or longitude, when it comes from talented, committed, and creative musicians like Huanastone.
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