Soulseller - Soulseller [EP]

by Warwick Stubbs Rating:10 Release Date:2008-10-20

Heavy stoner-rock band Soulseller came rocketing out of the Dunedin gig scene in 2008 with riffs ripped straight from Black Sabbath but blasted out with greater ferocity. 'Dead in the Water' and 'Talking in Tongues' are two of the catchiest, hard-driven songs I have ever heard, while 'Bloody Richard' is everything you want from a slow groove thickly smothered in distortion. Bassist Damian Smith and drummer Hayden Rumble bring such swagger to these songs that the listener can't help but want to keep listening and forgive any similarity to the great rock bands of our times, because these songs stand on their own feet like few others in the heavy-rock scene.

'Dead in the Water' borrows pretty heavily from 'Symptom of the Universe' by Sabbath, but at half the length, it doesn't mess around with any progressive tendencies and sticks straight to the point, ending in a flourish of lead guitar. 'Talking in Tongues' alternates Kyuss riffage with big, three-chord verses where guitarist and singer Jared Smith laments, "You've been talking in tongues/ sleeping with a loaded gun/ You've been walking around wasting your life saying isn't that fun/ When the smoke clears you find out what you have done/ When the smoke clears you find out what you've become..." with perfectly gruff vocals befitting their stoner-rock heritage. The song puts the breaks on near the end and returns to the original riff, completing a perfect cycle.

'Bloody Richard' takes the same alternating riff/verse structure, but this time the lyrics recount Shakespeare's Richard III, bookending four solidly built verses with two of the bard's most famous quotes. Sure, the lyrics don't delve much, and are mostly just describing Richard's personal decline across rhyming couplets, but this is a hard-rock song - you expected more? 'Drinking Again' drives this point home: "I see a look of disaproval on your face/ Take a look at the middle finger I raise."

There are times when songs throw a new riff at the listener, as though the band had it lying around waiting to be inserted into a song somewhere. Whether this is or isn't true simply doesn't matter, because the strength of this band is in how they make every distortion-driven note count and rock so that the listener never feels like they aren't a part of the fun. Whether as a verse or chorus, coda or intro, every riff is there for your enjoyment.

http://soulsellersouthdunedin.bandcamp.com/

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