Album Review:Hot Lava Monster-The Weed Sessions

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Hot Lava Monster is back, and they brought their huge… erm, guitars, with them.

That’s right, it’s the first loud and in your face release from Columbia’s classic rock gurus since their Live record, and man is it good.  The 4 song EP is the long awaited release of their group’s Weed sessions.  No, not smoking weed, Weed, California (maybe a little of both?).

For those with short memories when it comes to awesome local rock music, the band took a pilgrimage out that way oh, well it was long enough ago that I covered the trip for Scene SC, and I’m pretty sure it was before most of Scene SC’s current staff was born.  The point is, way back when the band recorded this EP with producer Sylvia Massey (Tool, other people not as cool as Tool) and they have finally decided to release it to the masses.

And thank Heavens they did.

The four tracks are four of the band’s best work yet.  They are raw, loud, passionate, and dang if they don’t sound great.  Fans will recognize the tracks from their epic live shows, but this is the first time we’ve heard them in their full studio glory.

Where past Hot Lava Monster recordings have showcased a layered, more produced feel, this one captures the band in it’s live element.  There are very few overdubs, allowing the instrumentalists to shine.  Andy Dumiak and Wes Pellerin give a solid rhythm base for the classic rock shenanigans, filling out the sound with all the tightness you’ve come to expect.  Hot Lava Mike is ever present, content to show the world that he can both shred and deliver fantastic rhythm lines.

This EP though, I have to say, is Patrick Baxley’s moment.  The sexy man with the big voice has always fronted the band with the utmost confidence, but this recording captures him at his best vocally.  Channeling Plant, Mercury, and a bevy of hair metal singers, he delivers every vocal line with the conviction of a man who knows these are some of his band’s best songs to date.

And that, in fact, is what these are.  Hot Lava Monster has always been a great band with an incredible live show, but this time, it is the songs that come through more than anything else.  They are complete, exciting, and captured in their best form – raw and ballsy.

Great work guys, now don’t make us wait so long for next time.