Is there anything more important than a bands name? Well, yeah, for the most part. Things like the songs, writing, production and stuff like that matter a lot. But first, you gotta get the name just right.
The thing is, more than most genres, the name tells you all you need to know. A band named “Black Mammoth Goat Bong Wizard” would give you a pretty good idea that it’s gonna be Stoner, a bit of Doom, and a few cannabis references.
Then, we have an outfit like Dope Skum to contend with. They hit all the “sludge” checkmarks, including comparisons to bands like Bongzilla and Weedeater. Then, there’s the interesting name drop of Helmet on their Bandcamp page. Oh, really…
You can check out their Bandcamp here. I’ll let the band tell you more:
“Gutter South is a testament to Dope Skum’s growth and versatility. With a unique blend of old-time influences, as seen in the interlude track, and heavy sludge, the EP marks a significant milestone in the band’s journey. While holding on to and acknowledging their roots in their debut EP Tanasi, Gutter South captures a fresh new spin on their sound and brand of sludge. Gutter South is the next chapter of Dope Skum.”
Belly Lint lived up to those references and then some. That opening riff sets the tone, chords that harken back to an older time and place. It’s “dank,” not in the current sense of the word, but old and musty and hard to get rid of. It’s the kind of riff that bores itself into my brain and keeps digging long after the song is over.
The Helmet influence is hard to miss on this one. Just that hard, matter-of-fact edge to it that works. If Helmet brought a New York street sensibility to their songs, Dope Skum doubles down on it with an Appalachian vibe. Angry, hurting and defiant as hell. They will not be ignored.
On it’s own, Belly Lint is good enough to get attention. I think you should definitely stream it and check it out. But that one song only tells part of the story. I’ve heard the whole EP, and it’s fucking excellent. I have a lot more to write about Cody and Scott, the two members of Dope Skum. But I’m going to save that for the EP, which releases in April. In the meantime, be sure to check them out on Bandamp and streaming services, and prepare to get hooked on one of the most interesting bands in the heavy underground. Just don’t let the name fool you too much: this is some seriously good stuff!
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