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Album Review: Shi – Depressive Suicidal Stoner Doom

Shi’s first full-length album puts forth a dank platter of stoner-sludge in the vein of such groups as Weedeater, Bongzilla, and Dopethrone. The former’s influence is especially apparent as the bass and guitars synchronize on near equal footing to create an oppressive wall of fuzz while the spitfire shrieks are a dead ringer for “Dixie” Dave Collin’s signature approach. The drums also show off a certain bluntness (heh) that still allows for a groovy swing throughout.

But with that established, the Louisville group does seem to be rather stuck on one tempo at times. Aside from the speed-ups at the climaxes of “Spit and Swallow” and “Mudman,” the songs on here generally stick to a trudging pace and fairly straightforward structuring. Thankfully, the hazier tinges on “Been Fooled” and “Swamp Hag” mix things up, and the banjo-driven “Interlude” is a nice touch, even if the latter could’ve been developed further.

For what it’s worth, the band also remembered to have catchy riffs in their songs, something that some of their peers tend to forget. “Green Death” sets the stage quite nicely with building bass fuzz that is echoed nicely in “Spit and Swallow.” Both tracks also include brief samples with the latter’s Blazing Saddles quote being particularly memorable. “DSSD” is another standout track for as its more legible rasps fit the mission statement attitude, even if I find myself wishing they had spelled out the full title.

Depressive Suicidal Stoner Doom isn’t quite the genre iconoclasm that its title would (jokingly) suggest, but it is an effective dank metal exercise. Shi may not have the most original approach, but the production and playing are immaculate for this style. The emphasis on crafting memorable riffs also indicates that the group cares enough about composition to expand their sound on future efforts. It fits squarely within in a stoner-sludge niche, but it’s certainly fun to have on.

Highlights:
“Green Death”
“Spit and Swallow”
“Swamp Hag”

Editor Grade

B

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