You know I'm always intrigued to find heavy bands that include female musicians. And North Carolina trio Irata blends a bit of grunge, doom metal, and psychedelic rock into a potent groove-heavy mixture that works well. Their sophomore effort Sweet Loris is a great entry in the growing (some would say overgrown) American doom/psychedelic/sludge movement if only for their sense of melody that is sorely lacking in the dour, too-stoned-to-care meanderings of most modern doom metal.
Right off the bat, with opener Lion Slayer, you get an almost proggy vibe with its bass riff as pedal tone that gives way to a wall of turgid distortion. This is fairly indicative of the overall pattern to the album's seven tracks of groove-heavy tunes - with Daisy being my favorite for its intense, monster chorus riff. And there's a kind of grungey sense of indie angst meets OG heavy metal feel to it all, like a Tool-meets-Soundgarden thing going on here that I really dig. This is the kind of band that will never be "huge" (if such even exists any more) but will absolutely rock the shit out every club they play, and I can't complain a bit about that.
The Bottom Line: It's amazing how bands can strip down to minimal members yet still make a sound that feels monumental. And when such a thing happens in small venues it can become practically a religious experience (altered states of consciousness may be involved, of course). I believe Irata is such a band, and if you're looking for great bottom-heavy groove metal, you may want to check these cats out.
- Genghis imagines this album playing in Greg Brady's bedroom in the den...