Master Charger – “Origin Of The Lugubrious” (Stoned Rocka Recordings)
Battle Helm Rating
Gamefully following in the footsteps of stoner power trios like High On Fire, Weedeater and Earthless comes Master Charger from the heart of England! As earthy and humble as their Nottinghamshire surroundings of Sherwood Forest, Master Charger’s music reflects their honesty and unpretentiousness, stripped down for a heavy touring band who will literally play anywhere for the love of their supercharged songs, along with a beer and a chance to hang out with new friends following a sweaty, headbanging gig. Formed over a decade ago, Master Charger have already released 2 prior full-length albums along with an EP and a split, so novices they certainly ain’t, judging by their masterful composing and live sound that intentionally holds little difference to their shows. Undoubtedly influenced by the legendary Sabbath in their droning doom riffs, Crowbar’s colossal power and the rocking stoner groove of national heroes Orange Goblin, the 7 tracks here immediately captured my heart through their tightness, catchiness and heaviness completed by that live sound which is the perfect way to blow the gig-less lockdown blues away! From John James’ thick fuzzed guitar and his throat strained vocals to Dave Haynes’ bison bass and John ‘Turk’ Kirk’s mammoth drumming, it’s easy to see why this trio’s formidable reputation for delivering powerhouse sets is widely known across the UK live circuit. Smashing in with a gargantuan riff on title track instrumental ‘Origin Of The Lugubrious’, the droning power is utterly irresistible and when the rhythm of ‘Turk’s’ double bass drumming hits awash with cymbals, you’ll just be possessed in your headbanging until the final feedback wail – talk about stonking! Rocking to the rolling groove on ‘Who The Hell Are You’ as the drones continue until James yells ‘…fuck you!!…’, whereupon old school warbles and jamming reminiscent of Budgie contrast superbly with doom power riffs laced with wah grace the mid section before ending this 6 1/2 minute track with some slick and psych blues guitar work – wot a trip. Sledgehammering its way in on ‘Buried By Time And Dust’, you certainly will be given the pulsating amp energy on show here as you are bathed in reverb while the huge grooves just hammer in amid dirty riffing and warbles as the pace picks up before returning back to the original doom headbanging groove par excellence. With the pub blues of the 70s echoing in the wah of ‘Our Time Has Come’, the contrast to the titanic stoner power riffs couldn’t be greater, but it all comes together perfectly thanks to the stupendous composing and arrangements of this undeniably talented band, whose live experience is just all over this song (indeed album!) right until its leaden cascading finale. An utter delight to listen to, “Origin Of The Lugubrious” shows Master Charger is nothing short of a stampeding cattle herd!