It seems that not enough people are talking about Green Druid, but they damn well oughta be, because the quartet has released what should rightfully be considered as one of the stickiest of the icky doom metal releases of 2018 in the form of Ashen Blood, out now on Earache Records.
I know what you’re thinking, when was the last time Earache put out anything of worth that wasn’t a new Wormrot album or a cash grab reissue from their legendary back catalog? Well dear readers, trust me when I say that the embattled label has gone a long way toward redeeming themselves with the discovery of this group of Denver-based doom shamans, who’ve managed to cobble together one hell of a debut full-length from two stellar EP’s worth of material.
Opening track “Pale Blood Sky” is worth the price of admission alone with its seismic riffage and haunting, melodic vocals. “Agoraphobia” and “Dead Tree” continue in much the same vein, conjuring a sinister, foreboding vibe that doesn’t let up for the album’s entire duration. This wickedly heavy trio of songs, which represent the band’s most recent recorded material, are a heady, miasmic brew of crushing doom and eerie, smoked-out psychedelia; indeed, the craftsmanship on display throughout the album’s first thirty-five minutes is downright staggering.
The second half of Ashen Blood, which is comprised of tracks from the band’s 2015 self-released EP, at times leans a little too heavily on blatant Electric Wizard and Sleep worship, but in listening to songs such as “Cursed Blood” and “Ritual Sacrifice” it’s evident that the potential for Green Druid to evolve into the excellence displayed on the album’s first half was there from the very beginning, such is the passion and attention to detail.
Heavyweights Sleep and Yob will no doubt be grabbing all the slow ‘n’ low headlines this year, but if they’re not careful the young upstarts known as Green Druid are going to sneak up and usurp the stoner throne while no one’s looking. Be forewarned, these guys sound hungry on Ashen Blood, and I’m not talking about the fuckin’ munchies either.