There’s no band filthier than Weedeater. The North Carolina trio’s backwoods sludge metal is the musical equivalent of caked-up bong resin and bubbler hits. It’s by weedians for weedians, and there’s never been any other pretense except to make music that sounds cool when you’re stoned. Like they did on their past two albums, “Dixie” Dave Collins and co. have enlisted Steve Albini to capture their bass-heavy tones in analog, going for a “live feel” on their fifth LP, Goliathan.
Except for the goofy MIDI keyboard intro “Processional”, the record holds true to Weedeater’s vision, flowing front to back like one of the hazy live sets the band often plays in hotboxed bars around the country. When the bass line sets in on “Goliathan”, Collins settles into a cold groove and a sluggish, methodical tempo (only varied by the upbeat Buzzov*en-esque punk of “Bully”), complete with hoots and hollers that sound like Tom Waits crossed with a throat cancer patient. Because everything was recorded live with minimal overdubs in the Albini tradition of setting up microphones and letting the band have at it, Goliathan feels like a unified piece, if somewhat monotone in its unrelenting plod. They’re a polarizing band: If you don’t dig the crusty aesthetics and stonedness of it all, there’s nothing else here to sway you otherwise.
That said, Weedeater have amassed a dedicated fanbase who downright love the stonedness of it all, coming out in droves to see them play. For example, when Collins’ prized bass head was stolen at gig in San Francisco this year, dozens of fans who owned the same amp came forward to offer theirs as a replacement. That’s true dedication, and Goliathan is targeted at those fans who can appreciate its rawness. It’s the closest thing to a Weedeater live album, capturing all their heaviness unabridged.
Essential Tracks: “Goliathan”, “Battered & Fried”