Review by Rick “The Fish-Man” Ossian
Mr. Plow are a stoner/doom metal quartet from Houston, Texas. At least, that’s who/what they are on first glance. However, if you dare to look/ listen a bit closer, you will find that they are much, much more. Mr. Plow is Greg Green on bass, Jeremy Stone and Justin Waggoner on guitar and vocals and Cory Cousins on drums. As I said, they are more than just another of the myriad of doom and gloom outfits that litter the countryside. They incorporate elements of psych, blues, heavy metal, hard rock and even spoken word-style rants of sorts. This is more like some of the garage-metal acts from the 60’s and 70’s if you ask me.
For example, let’s take a listen to the first track, Sigil. I’m thinking, oh there’s going to be a Cookie Monster vocalist and nothing but giant repetitive riffs, right? WRONG!! Sigil contains relatively clean vocals and plenty of good riffs, but not just end-of-the-world slams from the brontosaurus department. These are regular rock/metal riffs. Some are bluesy, some are psych, some are BOTH. It’s just unreal what these chaps have come up with here. My most sincere wish is that they gain public notoriety of some sort so that they can be heard on the world scene. Yes, they are that good!
The second track, Samizdat, is another pocket full of blazing rock heaviness. If you look up the title, you will find that it is a very righteous practice indeed – making controversial materials available for regular blokes to enjoy. Pretty cool, eh? I thought so. The song is very well done also. It IS more consistent with the stoner/doom tag, but it is also a perfect example of why I always say that stuffing bands into pigeonholes is not always the best idea. Genres be damned, I say!
Shaolin Cowboy begins with a nice intro riff. This is more super heavy metal than it is stoner. I was again expecting sludgy, doomy stuff, but instead I got heavy garage rock again. I also got clean vocals again. There was also a super sweet psych lead guitar solo. How many doom bands do you know that have wickedly cool lead guitar solos? Drummers should take note of the excellent drum work at the end.
Matchstick features more heavy-as-fuck riffing. The vocals are a bit buried, as is customary with a lot of the doom and gloom sect. There is some ominous shit going on here, like one of those warning feedback intros that creeps you all out and prepares you for a wicked tune. It again reminded me of something more along the 60’s/70’s psychedelic vein. “He’s more than he shows/more than you’ll ever/know…He brings the reckoning“. He brings more than that. He brings a big bag of psych/blues/stoner Heaven!
Memento once again reaches into an Iommi-sized bag of riffs for our intro. It is fuzzy but very good. Mostly clean vocals again, and some very heavy drumming. I’m not sure that I’ve mentioned it, but the drummer is very busy for the most part on all of these tracks.
Johnny Gentle has that sweet creepy bass intro stuff that I’m always on about, plus more Riff City architecture, as usual. This one is a chugging, uptempo riff cluster made for a superhero movie (“save us now”), but it would seem that Johnny is not the hero the people needed. There is, however, some very good music here. I’m loving this so far, but I shouldn’t go all fanboy just yet. Wait till you hear the second half of this monster!
Million Bucks is up next, and it is, naturally, about a woman who looks like- you guessed it, a million smackers. It is another garage-style HM gangbuster with some sludge thrown in for good measure. Sludge slams up against an uptempo, moving beat with a little psych/wah on the side. “The perfect drug for me”, they say. Women CAN be very addictive.
The title track is the next track for our perusal, and it is an epic (sorry) behemoth in more than mere time alone. It has a wicked intro riff with a guitar feeding back. No big deal, you say? Stay tuned, dear readers, as our heroes soon turn this one into a giant drum fest with some serious head-banging guitar to boot.
Spark Arrester features a fuzzy riff intro and a big, heavy beat. The riffage is very heavy and will take you right down Heavy Duty Boulevard if you are not careful. Riff City is loaded down with some serious traffic tonight, folks!
Hammer Smashed Face wins 10 point for cool title of the day, hands downs. I love the super heavy riffs and the prophetic vocals. They are, again, slightly buried at times, ala sludge or doom/stoner metal, but I can still hear them clearly and that’s all that matters.
Paxton is an excellent tribute to the late actor Bill Paxton (True Lies, Twister, Alien, etc.). It contains a feedback intro with some appropriate slamming and killer riffs. These guys can really JAM when they want to! They are SFB (super fucking bad), as Dr. Jacobsen would say. Not only that, but the lyrics are unmistakably Bill: “When the aliens attacked you gave them hell/In the great beyond we wished you well/GAME OVER MAN/ You bitched about your situation but you never ran”!!
The final track of the day is an excellent closer titled Southbound. The main cat in this track is headed south because of a zombie apocalypse. Nuff said.
If you are into rock, and you like your rock heavy, then there is a really good chance that you will like Mr. Plow. If you do not like rock, then you probably will NOT like them.