Sound — 7
Weedeater is a metal band from North Carolina, USA, which released its first album in 2001. Their unique brand of sludge metal tempered with southern/stoner rock has awarded them a dedicated band of followers. However, this band of followers is small, enough so that it is unlikely that Weedeater has received any serious exposure outside of the United States. Their fifth album, "Goliathan," is their first with drummer Travis Owen as well as their first with the Season of Mist record label.
This album is a direct combination of two genres I didn't picture coming together. The bassy mud of the guitars along with the raspy vocals fit sludge metal well, yet the fast grooves, the lyrics, and the one song "Battered and Fried" give the album a legitimate southern feel. Sonically, the album sounds full. The guitars take up a large amount of the sonic space and the drums are just in there enough so that you can keep time and know they're there. The singer's raspy vocals are expectedly thin and don't add much to the sound, yet the sound is full enough to the point that the vocals aren't necessary for the listener to understand what is going on.
The best parts are the grooves, which are much closer to the style of Black Sabbath than any of the more ingrained sludge bands. The songs are more like head banging festivals than they are the individual sonic experiences you would expect from bands like Neurosis. In terms of variety, the songs on the album are very different, making it worth listening to all the way through. However, each song is made up of one, maybe two riffs that repeat for the entire song without interlude. Yet, this adds to the groove feel of each song. The album would also probably be much more fun to hear live than on record; I can already imagine the different mosh regimens for each song. The songs haven't worn out their welcome with me, but every riff has a time limit before it starts to become repetitive and boring.
Lyrics — 5
While Dave Collins has his moments, the vocals seem like they could be better. There are plenty of times on this album when the annoying, raspy voice is a perfect fit for the song, but the lack of variation is noticeable. Collins' vocals make sense as often as they don't. For example, each gasp of "Claw!" on "Claw of The South" would start its own moshpit but the baby whining on "Bully" is so overblown that it goes far past the point of trying to make a point.
A real gem is the vocal performance on "Battered and Fried," which is more of a country song than anything else. Here, the haggard, wily voice of "Dixie" Collins fits perfectly with the southern persona. In addition, his vocals make the song; every other time his vocals act to stir the pot a little to keep things going; here he is really the center of attention.
But when all is set and done, the reality is that the vocals play a mere, minor role on this album. Given the simplistic nature of the guitar melodies, it seems like Collins could have done more with his vocals; he is given a great base and he chooses not to use it (maybe he just wants to headbang to the riffs the whole time... I know I do).
Overall Impression — 6
It is easy to see what Weedeater was going for when they titled their first album "...And Justice for Y'All." That country/thrash impression is precisely what their music sounds like and it is no different with "Goliathan." But as great as some of the riffs are, this album is not that strong. Or let me put it like this: after hearing this album I am anxious to attend a Weedeater concert, but by no means would I want to get this album again if I had the chance. If you want to hear the best of this album, I recommend "Goliathan," "Claw of The South," and "Battered and Fried."