Stoner/Doom/ Sludge Review: Mule Thrower-Cuts

The Road to Mule Thrower

This year has seriously challenged my comfort zone, man. Not that long ago I really was attuned to the stoner bliss of My Sleeping Karma and Colour Haze, the progressive stoner of Elder and the ultimate slow riffs of Monolord.

But man, one hit of Doomsday Profit and I’m off the deep end with Gravehuffer and Seum. Which all led me to Dope Skum (who I hear is playing with Doomsday Profit later this Fall, in Tennessee. Holy shit, what a combo!)

So it’s perfectly natural that I totally dig the latest release by Mule Thrower, Cuts. It’s a compilation of releases spanning from 2021 until, well, yesterday. Seriously. The dude behind Mule Thrower, Jeff Gallagher, let me know that he’d just finished Cyclops Eye yesterday, August 21st. The day before the release, which was the 22nd.

Like Jeff references in Charlie & the Mexican Jesus, nowadays everybody’s crazy.

The Weedeater generation

I’ve been aware of Mule Thrower since he released that song and the incredibly difficult song, Reggie. I mean, damn, son, that EP was whacked! The first song was a silly little ditty with a bit of meaning behind, whereas Reggie is this bastard amalgamation of Weedeater, Primitive Man and Dope Skum. I can’t lay claim to understanding it, but I sure as shit feel it. 8 minutes of your darkest, dreamlike realism with a heavy dose of outrage. I’m not entirely sure what Reggie did, but someone sure is pissed off about it.

The more I hear these bands, the more I appreciate and respect Weedeater and their influence on a whole generation. At this point I think I can identify a definite movement, a theme, in the Stoner/Doom/Sludge realm that seems pretty significant.

I’m hearing A LOT of music with old-school Americana and Blue Grass, even Delta Blues, as a starting point. The chords, melodies and progressions are combined with the slugiest sludge you’ve ever sludged. Vocals are added on top and then inserted into a 2023-degree broiler until the whole thing is covered with a layer of charred matter akin to solid coke coal. Refined, but nasty as hell.

black close up coal dark
Photo by Pixabay on

Like Jackson Pollock

Mule Thrower has all that and a bag of chips, by which a mean an excellent sense of humor amidst the rancor. Rick Flair Hair is hilarious on one hand, yet oddly pathetic at the same time, especially within the context of overt commentary on drug and pill culture. I smile at first, then start over-thinking it…

Then there’s another Delta diddy called chair wrestling blues that transitions to Fuckton, a full-on Doom fest ala Electric Wizard, oozing with misanthropy and malice.

My hate for you weighs

One metric fuckton!

I’d hate to waste a bullet on you!

And so it goes… And on and on…

Every fucking day!

Their hate for us weighs Fuckton!

Indeed. And as blunt as that is, the message remains ambiguous. Who, exactly? Why? We’re left to figure that one out ourselves, which adds to the discomfort. Damn, I love that!

Jeff Gallagher, AKA Mule Thrower, takes influences as varied and fragmented as Roy Clark and Electric Wizard, throws them against a wall and makes one hell of a mess. Cuts is basically an aural Jackson Pollock painting. Like Pollock, it’s a work of art worthy of study and reflection. But to get maximum effect, I think ya gotta be willing to look at your own shit in the process.

Then again, I might be over-thinking it.

(But I really don’t think so…)

Oh yeah, about Cyclops Eye, the song that he just HAD to finish before Cuts was released. Damn right he had to finish it! Doom of this caliber is not just the cherry on top, it’s the whole damn crust!

You can buy Mule Thrower’s Cuts for $2.99 digitally. Or, you can subsribe to the label, The Swamp Records, for $3 a month, which gets a whole Fuckton of amazing, original and hard-to find material.

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