Portland, Oregon has a stereotype of being all bearded sensitive lumberjacks, strumming ukuleles, and super-clean, cosmopolitan Indie Pop. While there are excellent examples of both of these styles in Portland, from Blitzen Trapper to The Shins, this overlooks the fact that Portland has a pretty excellent metal/hard rock scene, it's just not as widely advertised.
Mad Man Sugar is a solo stoner/doom outfit, from Portland. Mad Man's goal, with Electric Bloom, was to create "sleazy-whisky-psychedelic-blues rock with some stoner/doom without going down full bore leather jackets and witchcraft rabbit hole," in which he succeeded admirably. This short vignette was recorded in MMS' basement, and mixed in a cracked leather recliner chair in his living room, after midnight, half drunk, and then mastered by Edgar McRae (Urzeit, Mizmor).
The riffs on Electric Bloom are heavy as alchemical lead, but warm as an afghan left in the sun. Everything sounds worn and wooly, with the distortion of analog tape, which reinforces the '70s Sabbath vibes. Mad Man Sugar plays up the catchiness of Stoner Rock, making this more of a party record, and more of a widespread appeal, than some funereal doom document. The vocals are mixed kind of low, although they are intelligible, when you go looking for them. The drums are a little thin, which is a downer for a metal record, but not a dealbreaker. Instead, the guitars take center stage, and fill up most of the sonic spectrum. Since Mad Man Sugar is a badass axewielder, this is no bad thing.
Electric Bloom is a dose of hard rock Witchcraft, along the lines of Sleep's Dopesmoker, Om's Pilgrimage, and Kyuss' When The Circus Leaves Town. Guaranteed to provide astral sojourns, while melting yr smiling face off. Electric Bloom, is mean and nasty, while still being fun, inspired mostly by "alcohol, cigarettes, and me dumping my girlfriend." In a time when it seems like every genre is becoming polished and presentable, it is refreshing to find something dirty, ragged, honest, and real. But beneath the fuzzy textures, Mad Man Sugar shows real talent. He's a good songwriter, a helluva guitarist, and an accomplished engineer. Definitely one to watch, for those that like their riffs crunchy.
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