sludge metal

KUROKUMA - "Dope Rider"


Kurokuma - "Dope Rider"

(Doom Stew) 

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.  

Gray Lee

To hear the music:

To see Paul Kirchner’s art:

To order the vinyl edition of Dope Rider:


WEED DEMON -”Astrological Passages”


Weed Demon-”Astrological Passages”

(Electric Valley Records)

Sultans of stoner rock Weed Demon spark up the jams (and maybe something else) for a special vinyl release of their 2017 Astrological Passages.

This release represents the very best of the stoner metal genre, and the track Primordial Genocide exemplifies this. It burns slow at almost 9 minutes long with sludgy Black Sabbath-espue riffs and raspy baritone growls and chants accentuated by the occasional banshee shriek.

Oh, and don’t forget the absolutely bitching instrumental section that starts at around 3:03. I guarantee you will be playing air guitar along with the solo.

As far as aesthetics go, the track titles, lyrical imagery and album artwork distills all the best stoner “what-ifs” that have ever been thought of while passing around the bong.

In many a basement and toke-up spot, the title of the aforementioned Primordial Genocide will definitely launch many a spaced-out soliloquy on the existence of prehistoric advanced civilizations.

Sampling of said soliloquy: “Duuude, what if there was some sort of Primordial Genocide of this advanced race of beings way, waaay before our time? That’s why we have no trace of them today bro!!!”

Yeah dude...sure.

While you tell me more about that, why don’t you go ahead and click the link to pre-order this beautiful vinyl release?

The ancient aliens will greatly appreciate it.

Theron Willis

P.S. Be sure to check out Jettisoned. Let’s just say the harmonica has been taken to another level of cool in my book.