This article previously appeared on Crossfader
Genre: Doom Metal
Favorite Tracks: “Help Me”, “Mother Earth”
For people who don’t listen to a lot of doom metal, it can be hard to understand what a warm fuzzy blanket feeling doom can give you. San Francisco doom trio Brume’s new record DONKEY perfectly exemplifies the pleasant side of slow and heavy doom. Lovers of brooding, methodical bass and guitar don’t need to look any further for an album that scratches the “fat riff “itch. But the guitar work isn’t what makes DONKEY stand out: it’s the haunting, dream-like female vocals soaring over the sweeping instrumentals. A combination of Debbie Harry, Bilinda Butcher, and Marissa Paternoster from the Screaming Females, Brume’s vocalist Susie joins a long line of badass female belters, hopefully ensuring an increase in notoriety for Brume in the near future.
From the opening Alice in Chains-style aqueous guitar on “Shadows”, to the fading feedback that drowns the final moments of “Mother Earth”, DONKEY is an unrelenting and deeply pleasant wall of sound and rhythm that’s intensely relistenable. There is a drifting, dreamscape groove Brume routinely falls into that’s as easy to get lost in as it is to be swept away by. Overall, it’d be best to categorize this as a doom album, but the overall effect of the music has a very shoegaze-y and psychedelic feel that make this relaxing background music you’ll suddenly find yourself compulsively head banging to. There’s only a few guitar solos and no frills in terms of production on DONKEY, but it just makes the whole album feel grounded and accessible; this is a band that’d be thrilling to watch jam for an hour opening for Earth or Sleep, just for the sheer straightforwardness in their approach. That’s not to say that they’re not technically capable musicians; guitarist Jamie delivers some snarling and satisfying guitar solos on tracks like “Help Me” that would whet anybody’s appetite, and Susie hurls some seriously hefty bass lines into the mix to really fill out the band’s sound.
If none of the elements mentioned thus far sell you on this album, at least consider the fantastic album art of a scaled donkey woman with a wizard ass and chicken tail. Come on, that’s a fantastic conversation starter to have in your iTunes. Add to that the fact that the band is currently charging $6.66 for DONKEY on their Bandcamp, and you eventually have to ask yourself how much more metal this album could get.