I don’t recall exactly how I heard of Thunderdope, but it was most likely floating around out there somewhere in social media land, shared by another stoner/doom fan such as myself. I do remember tucking them away for the time being, somewhere into the “file away for later” area of my brain. That can be a scary place to be, because things that end up there are either certainly remembered, or forgotten for the rest of eternity. There is no in-between.
As luck would have it, I miraculously remembered to check Thunderdope out after the chaos of the September Doom Charts was over, and I’m pretty sure it was because I’d been intrigued by the band’s cover of Nirvana’s You Know You’re Right. I remembered that it exists, but I hadn’t actually listened to it. I admit, I approached it incredibly skeptically, fairly certain there’s no way it could be good.
Well, it was. It was really good. Thunderdope actually did the thing that a lot of bands are afraid to do when they do a cover (understandably so), and that’s make the song their own, putting their own unique spin on it. They do this so well that their version of the song is equal parts Nirvana and Thunderdope.
Of course, now I was hooked. What else could this little four-track EP from a new stoner band from Berlin have to offer? As it turns out, quite a lot. The second track, How to be dead, is so catchy I can’t even stand it. I don’t even have any fancy college words to describe that. All I know is this is a song that I cannot get out of my head and I’m totally ok with that. Is stoner pop a thing? Because this is kind of like what you’d imagine that to be, with a little 80s goth and even some punk thrown in.
Next, we have the song Weed Witches, which proves to be a bit more serious. The fuzz level, though present throughout the album, is more noticeable on this track. The vocals are very intriguing, somehow being equally melodic and chaotic. I can picture this vocalist belting out a ballad just as much as I can see him shouting out lyrics in a punk club in the 80s. This combined with the slower and riff-heavy stoner music makes for a great combination.
The album ends with a fourteen minute track called Acid Avalanche. I should begin by reminding everyone that I am a self-described impatient doom fan. I have a tendency to tune out those super long songs, especially when they’re primarily instrumental, ambient, super slow, etc. I still wanted to give Acid Avalanche at least a skim through, considering how much I’d enjoyed the rest of the album. I
t starts out like a lot of longer stoner songs do, some feedback, distortion, and noise all kind of pieced together to create something melodic. I’m ready to hit fast forward when, at the 2:08 mark, Thunderdope drops the fuzz in a speaker-shaking pinnacle of sound. We get a bit of vocals at almost nine minutes into the song, primarily in the form of some melodic shrieks that honestly remind me a bit of Perry Farrell of Jane’s Addiction here (I told you this vocalist can do it all!)
The band ultimately ends the song with some super low-tuned, sludgy bass and some incantation-like vocalizations. What a way to end an album, and what an album it was! Four tracks that are so incredibly different, it’s difficult to believe at times that they’re all from the same band.
Next for Thunderdope?
It will be really interesting to see where Thunderdope goes from here. Can we expect more of the same variety in the future, or is this a band that’s still figuring out their signature sound? Or both? Either way, I’m here for it.
Thunderdope hooked me with their Nirvana cover, kept me listening with two solid tracks of their own unique brand of stoner music, and even got Doomcakes herself to listen to a fourteen minute song. Not too shabby. Based on what I’ve heard on this EP alone, I really think these guys could go in any direction they wanted to.