Weedeater – God Luck and Good Speed

God Luck and Good Speed

It would be an understatement to say that metal is in vogue right now. Some diehards have derided the trend as indie rockers succumb to “hipster metal” mania. Personally I find it horribly offensive to write off a group as articulate and beautiful as SunnO))) with a snarky tag like that. Southern Lord, the label run by SunnO)))’s Greg Anderson and Stephen O’Malley has been a beacon of light, releasing their own records as well as material by Oren Ambarchi, Boris, Earth, Z’ev, Leviathan, and Wolves in the Throne Room. The newest addition to the Southern Lord roster is North Carolina’s Weedeater. Singer/bassist “Dixie” was a member of both Buzz*oven and Bongzilla if that gives you some idea of his credentials. On God Luck and Good Speed, their third album, the band delivers a powerful low-end squalor of sludge and thunderous riffage supplemented by a few moments of questionable contemplative material.

On Weedeater’s previous album, 2003’s Sixteen Tons, the group poured it’s molasses thick distortion over the top of some sharp riffs to great effect. Dixie’s howling rasp sounding not unlike that of Planes Mistaken For Stars’ Gared O’Donnell being drowned in a tar pit. Everything about Weedeater contributes to the overall sound, recognized on God Luck and Good Speed by the stellar production job of Steve Albini. He manages to bring out the best in the Weedeater drum sound without giving them the typical Albini drum sound found on records like PJ Harvey’s Rid of Me or MONO’s You Are There (side note: I’m not saying it’s a bad drum sound, just that there are records where you can point to Albini as the producer just from the timbre of the drums). It makes for a grounded bed over which the guitars are free to grind and crush.

The only stumbling blocks on God Luck and Good Speed are the moments where the group tries to supplement it with moments of quietude such as on “Alone” and album closer “Willow.” If “Alone” were left as an instrumental it might be fine. Something about hearing Dixie try to actually sing in a baritone range through his teeth comes off as a bit forced. “Willow” is basically just a stoner riff boiled down to a simple saloon style piano line. I’m willing to forgive them for these small fallacies. After all, they did include a cover of Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets,” and in the South that always counts for something.