Florida has always been known for its iconic death metal scene, and at the mention of Tampa any well learned metalhead could name at least three or four titans of death within a second, but over the last few years the scene here where I reside in the storm stricken south has been giving us some great doom metal acts. Last year, Miami’s Shroud Eater dropped a well received doom metal album Strike The Sun just weeks before Hurricane Irma turned much of Florida into a disaster zone, and only weeks later Beerwolf of Tampa delivered Planetfall. Deserving all of the attention that they could get, Beerwolf have worked out a deal with Ripple to rerelease Planetfall to the masses.
Planetfall is exactly what you’re looking for if you’re into classic stoner metal done right. The low-fi recording on Planetfall adds a certain aesthetic that you’ll probably enjoy if you are an old school purist. Simply put, it is a monstrous psychedelic and stoner metal album.
The style of Beerwolf reminds me of first few albums by The Sword, but the music is less formulaic. Matthew Howland’s guitar solos are all over the place in a good way that often makes one feel euphoric, and a great example of this would be on “Haze Arcane,” where the solos just take off at unexpected moments from the main groove. In fact you should expect these solos everywhere on the album, springing seemingly from nothing as you’re caught in the funky rhythms of bass player Jason Kleim.
The eponymous opening track is a heavy bombardment of riffs and feedback in an instrumental that just carries you away. The composition is pretty straight forward, but in the span of these five minutes you grasp a pretty good idea of what Planetfall is all about.
Then onto “Eagle Track”, which has a tight Witchfinder General feel to it. “Hunters of Night” is easily one of my favorite tracks on the album. The main riff carries over and over throughout much of the song and just tramples you under foot into this freakin awesome bridge that takes you off into space. At the climax the band just leaves you hanging and drops you right into “Haze Arcane”, which boogies right on like a jam meant to take you right into electrical rock powered ecstasy. About 2:45 in my jaw is floored as Howland just shoots lasers through space time with his fretboard. Kleim’s vocals have a smooth southern appeal. His style is quite direct and it leaps out at you as he plays along on the bass.
Planetfall is a fantastic way for this band to announce themselves to the metal scene on Ripple’s platform. They’ve been tearing up local venues for quite some time and most recently opened up for Steel Panther in front of a sold out crowd, and surely it won’t be their last gig with full attendance.