Kurokuma - "Dope Rider"
In the 1970s, artist Paul Kirchner created a brilliantly illustrated, psychedelic comic strip called Dope Rider, which featured a skeleton cowboy known as the Lone Stoner who traveled through and had experiences in bizarre and outlandish landscapes. The comic strip's decade long appearances in the iconic marijuana magazine High Times brought Kirchner's work to a broader audience, and inextricably tied the imagery and content of Dope Rider with drug culture.
In 2018, Kirchner gave permission to sludge metal band Kurokuma to create a brief concept album based on the legendary comic. The band was inspired by the original and unique approach of Kirchner's art and writing, and wanted to create a sound experience that could capture that essence. The result is Dope Rider, the album.
Dope rider is thirteen minutes of white-knuckle, head pounding, stoner glory, full of crunchy, distorted guitar riffs, thunderous percussion, and wild vocalizations. While many metal acts focus and channel aggression and anger in their style, Kurokuma devote themselves to a ritualistic worship of volume. Everything in this recording is loud, over the top, and out of control - while maintaining a driving, trance-like sludge sound.
The result is a release that, while very short, is a surprisingly cathartic and varied journey, much like the intriguing art which inspired it. The album, which was previously released on cassette and compact disc, is now available on vinyl with some exclusive comic art.
To hear the music:
To see Paul Kirchner’s art:
To order the vinyl edition of Dope Rider: