There’s something about stoner rock in the summer that’s just too damn cool. Fat fuzzy riffs, the sun’s burning hot, and the volume in your car is all the way up: that’s the good stuff. But what album should you blast? The new ASG record of course! Survive Sunrise will hit the bone-dry concrete of the road on June 15th.
So what does this flagship of riffage actually sound like? Well, to describe that I’d like to pull up my favorite song from the record, “Execution Thirst”. Drum rolls over euphoric-sounding guitars introduce a song that really doesn’t need an introduction. Of course we’re here for the meaty riffs, and ASG don’t make the listener wait for them, instantly bringing the laid back sunglasses-and-a-pack-of-smokes coolness factor inherent to stoner rock and -metal. With pentatonic single note runs and power chords (typical of the stoner genre), this song works its simple yet effective magic. Meanwhile the drum blasts away on the cymbals like there is no tomorrow. Although the drumming in this particular style of music isn’t famous for its technicality, it always comes off as very organic and earthy. Especially on Survive Sunrise you can hear some simplistic, but ultimately competent drums. This is songwriting done right! As we work our way towards the chorus of the track, the guitar and bass syncopate, sounding thicker as a result, and rolling over the listener with incredible might, like a steam train. This leads us into the climax of the track, which is the chorus. ‘Dance with anger, kiss with fear’ is a line I had stuck in my head for days after listening to “Execution Thirst”.
From a technical standpoint, nothing that happens on Survive Sunrise is really that impressive, but everything is just so grounded, authentic, and fun to listen to. This band clearly doesn’t need flashy solos or gimmicks, they need a fuzz pedal and something for the drummer to hit, period.
I don’t do this very often (in fact I do this extremely rarely), I have to praise the vocal work on this album. Usually I add that vocals are a highly subjective topic, but in this case I don’t feel the need to do so. The vocals range from alternative rock-styled singing over punk-esque gang shouts to nasal vocals like in the track “Up From My Dreams”. “Hawks On The Run”, with its slight shoegaze and psychedelic touch, was definitely one of my favorite tracks, not only for its instrumentation but also for the epic and soaring vocals. This track shows the band’s most intricate feel for fine-tuning with subtle effects, background ambiance, and sparsely-used gloomy riffs.
Survive Sunrise might fly under the radar of a lot of people, but it really shouldn’t. It’s an album you can have unbelievable fun with. ASG possess a massive coolness factor, and yet their music is an easy listen you don’t have to sit down with for hours. Not every album has to be technical or has to have eight thousand solos; sometimes it’s better to have one that is solid and confident in the things it does best. Thank you for that, ASG!
Notable Tracks: “Execution Thirst”; “Hawks On The Run”
FFO: Red Fang, Black Tusk, Mastodon