With under two months to go before 2010 hits the showers, now is the time to highlight a few albums that might have flown under the radar throughout the year, but may very well be worth giving a listen. First up is the debut from Riotgod, a new band comprised of longtime Monster Magnet members Bob Pantella (drums) and Jim Baglino (bass), as well as Mark Sunshine (vocals) Garrett Sweeny (guitars) — the latter of whom filled-in for Monster Magnet following Ed Mundell’s departure after almost twenty years ago.

Clocking in with Monster Magnet since the late ‘90s, Pantella and Baglino surely sway in that same fuzz and stoner rock direction here. But a comparison to a garage-based Soundgarden (especially on the brooding but infectious “Love It Or Leave It”) — with a penchant for late ‘70s Sabbath —  ain’t far off base, either. “Collapsing Stars” is lighter fare with psych-laden, melody-drenched vocal hooks and flange, but the straight-forward, all-out rocker “Drone Station” demonstrates that while Riotgod is not going to break any boundaries, but it’s not bottom of the basement filler, either.

Might not be a mold-breaker, but Riotgod is a whole hell of a lot better than a ton of schlock that’s schlepped out there nowadays. (Can I have my honorary yarmulke now, Vince?)

Stoner riffs, early-90s croons and tons of fuzz is okay with me…Methinks it’s a side-project in the full sense of the term, but that’s okay if you write riffs like this. My only gripe is with the decision to release this right before a new Monster Magnet album. Why not fulfill quota between records?

(3 1/2 out of 5 horns)


Metal Sucks Greatest Hits