Stöner's new album is a consummate lesson in High Desert grooviness

More sun-baked high jinks from Brant Bjork, Nick Oliveri and stoned company

Stoner - Totally cover art
(Image: © Heavy Psych Sounds)

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The clue is in the name, and the main players have significant form, of course. Having set out their weed-smoke-wreathed stall with studio debut Stoners Rule and Live In The Mojave Desert, Brant Bjork (guitars/vocals) and Nick Oliveri (bass/vocals) return for more super-fuzzy sun-baked riffery, with the former’s solo band drummer Ryan Gut efficiently nailing those tight-but-loose rhythms. 

A couple of guest appearances – guitarists Greg Hetson (Bad Religion, Circle Jerks) and Mario Lalli (Yawning Man) – switch things up a bit, but essentially it’s about the cosmic chemistry cooked up between the main trio, and there’s plenty of that to be had. 

Concise blasters such as opener Party March and A Million Beers focus on good times, and the wonky riffing of Driving Miss Lazy injects a healthy dose of sludgy weirdness. 

But it’s the lengthy jams Space Dude & The Burn and Great American Sage that really take off, Oliveri and Bjork’s rough and smooth vocals jousting for dominance and the grimy riffs attaining a hypnotic level of bonged-out bliss. A consummate lesson in High Desert grooviness.

Essi Berelian

Whether it’s magazines, books or online, Essi has been writing about rock ’n’ metal for around thirty years. He has been reviews editor for Classic Rock and Metal Hammer, rock reviews editor for lads mag Front and worked for Kerrang!. He has also written the Rough Guide to Heavy Metal and contributed to the Rough Guide to Rock and Rough Guide Book of Playlists, and the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles (13th edition). Most fun interview? Tenacious D – Jack Black and Kyle Gass – for The Pick of Destiny movie book. An avid record/CD/tape collector, he’s amassed more music than he could ever possibly listen to, which annoys his wife no end.