Monday, March 04, 2013

Romero-Take The Potion

Grindcore Karaoke

You had me at the name guys. Whether it's a nod to the "Godfather of Zombies", or inspired by the1989 film of the same name (which is about the assassination of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Romero), the name Romero just strikes the right chord with me. I'd like to believe it's the former as this northern, Wisconsin 3-piece, who were formed in late 2009, blissfully bridges the gap between the old (Black Sabbath) and the new (Queens Of The Stone Age) in much the same way as George's "Night of the Living Dead" and "Survival of the Dead". The band has recently played with the bands like The Sword, Jucifer, Weedeater, Clutch, Dead Meadow and Black Label Society, but these guys have been tearing up the stage from the word go. The band's driving force is Jeffrey Mundt who, at one point in his career. spent time as the drummer for fellow Wisconsin act (and all around cool punk band) Naked Aggression. That was before fortune and glory called out to him one day. In addition to being a talented drummer he was also a long-time guitar player & songwriter, as evident by his skills here, so before long he was laying the foundation for what would become Romero. Here Jeffery Mundt handles lead vocals, percussion and guitars and he's in this unholy 3-piece by drummer & vocalist Ben Brooks and, since 2012, bass player Steve Stanczyk. The band's first release, the 7 inch "Solitaire", was released on Triceratrax Records in 2010 and, from all accounts, continues to be a hot download. So, what is it about "Take The Potion" that should make sludge & stoner fans drool? With Romero the influences (Black Sabbath, Torche, Sleep, The Sword, Queens of the Stone Age, etc.) are shuffled up before Jeffrey Mundt and company deal out a royal flush. Mighty riff after mighty riff is unleashed upon the unsuspecting listener and before long you find yourself buried by a mountain of fuzzy sludge/stoner rock. Aided by a spot-on production (everything perfectly falls into place here), that's both modern and retro, these seven songs roll out smoothly. By smoothly I mean that you don't seem to notice that while Romero is busy perfectly blending everything from classic rock to doom metal the bodies just keep piling up all around you! Romero's crushing approach is testimony that it's not only the likes of The Sword and Queens Of The Stone Age that has helped shape this band, but that somewhere in the deep, dark crevices of their minds they've witnessed the raw power of  a band like The Melvins. These seven songs range in length from just under 4 minutes to just over seven minutes so there's no "3 minute pop songs" here. Instead the riffs are monstrous and, like their bio says, "Romero spreads like weeds" choking the life out of everything else around them. Or, if you like, Romero is like a virus which has found a way into your body and is eating you up from the inside out! When this album get's going it fills up every square inch of your speakers and makes you remember why you love loud rock so much to begin with. There's nothing systematic or predictable about this 3-piece band. Inside these seven songs you'll find a band that has taken their time to hone their craft into the best that it can be while at the same time allowing their creative juices to run wild. "Take The Potion" doesn't follow any set rules other then maybe one of my favorite "rules": The LOUDER the BETTER! Romero, despite only forming in 2009, sounds like a veteran act already and this album, which is a free digital download, is bound to make quite the impression in the sludge/stoner scene. If things were to go right for this band, and this album could fall into the right hands, Romero could find themselves headed for even bigger and better things. I could easily see Romero ending up being the current rage. You can hear this wicked release for yourself at the link below and it's worth noting that "Take The Potion" will be out on CD and vinyl as well!

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