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Gozu
Locust Season

SS-106/2010

Gozu:
Marc Gaffney: Vox & Guitar
Jay Cannava: Bass
Barry Spillberg: Drums
Doug Sherman: Guitar

Produced, recorded, and mixed by Benny Grotto at Mad Oak Studio, Allston, MA. Assisted by J. Saliba.
Additional recording by J. Saliba.
Runners: Dusten Pettengill, Paul Vaskus, Brian Koerber
Mastered by Chris Goosman at Baseline Audio, Ann Arbor, MI.
Artwork by Alexander Von Wieding

Special Guests:
Craig Riggs: Guest vox on "Meth Cowboy", "Mr Riddle".
Bryan “Uzi” Hinkley: the 3 string guitar Pin on "Jamaican Lual".
Craig Silverman: Guitar solo and noise on "Jan-Michael Vincent".
Geno Johnston Mark Doherty and Dusten Peteengill : Backing vocals on "Rise Up".
Benny Grotto: Overdub toms on "Meth Cowboy".

Reviews for Locust Season...

Ear Candy Magazine

Gozu get it right on their nine-track stoner rock powder keg debut entitled LOCUST SEASON. Crafting the perfect amalgamation of the griminess of Kyuss and the swagger of Queens of the Stone Age, this Boston based quartet maintain a cavernous bottom end while dispensing contagious stoner metal melodies that combining tasty guitar lines and clever vocal devices (“Kam Fong as Chin Ho”). But there’s more to this troupe’s attack than desert rock time travel, as this squad throws in a slew of psychedelic musical diversions and groovy metal licks as well as a load of timeless blues rock rhythms (“Jamaican Luau”) to create a stylistic sizzle that yields repeated bouts of head-bobbing bliss (“Meth Cowboy”). LOCUST SEASON is a must-have album for anyone who reveres Fu Manchu, Dixie Witch, or early Clutch.

- Mike SOS


April 11th, 2011
www.earcandymag.com/reviews-0411.htm

Sputnik Music

Summary: An expertly conceived, bombastic stoner rock album that is bound to blow your mind.

Detroit-based Small Stone Recordings has never ceased to be a reliable source for many under-the-radar heavy rock releases of the 2000s. Being a mother label for such superb underground acts as Dozer, Halfway To Gone and Five Horse Johnson, the company emerges as a major force to be reckoned with when it comes to expertly produced stoner rock releases. The title of this year's most coveted album of the lebel seems to belong to the bombastic debut of Gozu, "Locust Season." Deriving its name from the bizarre Japanese movie, Gozu consists of members associated with such Bostonian bands as Wargasm and Triphammer. Their style can be best described as a top-notch hybrid of groovy stoner rock, melodic grunge and furious heavy metal.

While "Locust Season" might be rather derivative, it never feels generic or mainstream. The band triumphantly blends different genres and approaches towards heavy rock music combining the massive, often metallic riffs with catchy vocal melodies. However, it's the constant need to mutate and evolve that defines this album more than anything else. As an example, "Regal Beagle" starts as a groovy blues rock in order to transform later on into a full fledged piece of Queens Of The Stone Age-inspired psychedelia with falsetto singing. Whereas, the album's highlight "Jan-Michael Vincent" channels sublime soul-induced hard rock into a near-industrial headbanging metal based on killer palm-muted riffing.

On the whole, guitarist Doug Sherman's performance comes as exceptionally diverse encompassing a wide variety of styles that range from bluesy melodic soloing ("Meth Cowboy") to danceable lead passages of Clutch standard ("Jamaican Luau"). He certainly delivers the most memorable guitar performance of the year. The rhythm section comprised of drummer Barry Spillberg and bassist Jay Canava is equally strong crafting a reliable skeleton for every of the band's complex, structurally-varied compositions. The numerous aspects of hard rock that are showcased also find their realization in the powerhouse performance of vocalist Marc Gaffney. He has this rare ability to sound both familiar and totally distinguishable with a knack for infectious melodies that are equally ingrained in raunchy, bluesy swagger and ballsy metal singing.

What definitely works in the album's favor is the decidedly modern, crystal-clear production coupled with a laid-back, fun tone and general accessability. "Locust Season" is a stoner rock album for those who are not really keen on the genre. Given that this is truly the most mesmerizing release of this kind in quite a long time, it's a mandatory listen for every ardent rock music fan.

-
Greg Fisher


December 28th, 2010
sputnikmusic.com/review/40927/Gozu-Locust-Season/

Metal Sucks

No matter how you feel about the Kyuss reunion under the Kyuss Lives moniker, I hope it has at least rekindled your interest in that heavy desert rock the boys used to make for us. Fortunately, Small Stone Recordings has been carrying the flame while the rest of you have been trendhopping like a bunch of bitches. (How’s that blackened deathgrind re-thrash emocore working for ya?) And as with last year’s revelation House Of Broken Promises, the label has given us another rare hunk of hard rockin’ gold in Gozu.

Presumably named after the bizarre Japanese flick, this Massachusetts quartet describe their sound as “GAAHL meets Hellhammer meets Clutch” — and who am I to fucking argue with that?! To say that Locust Season, their magnificent debut, rocks is an understatement. For much of 2010, I’ve been pining for some serious hard rock and been given slim pickings from the mainstream as well as the underground. Friends, our long national nightmare is over, and we are in Gozu’s debt. Check out “Regal Beagle” below and tell me that if rock radio actually rocked anymore this wouldn’t be a fucking chart topper!

- Gary Suarez


November 5th, 2010
www.metalsucks.net/2010/11/05/nevermind-the-kyuss-reunion-here%E2%80%99s-gozu/

Cosmic Lava

And yet again Small Stone Records have succeeded in discovering the next powerful riff machine. The new entrant answers to the name of GOZU and first appeared on the scene in 2008 with the the release of their seven track EP. Two years have passed since then and 'Locust Season' is GOZU's debut album that enqueues itself seamlessly in the bank of high quality releases from Small Stone Records. These guys are hardly reinventing the wheel with their music, but they've obviously found a niche in the modern heavy rock genre, and they're doing a mighty fine job with it if I do say so myself. Although it's easy to hear the echoes of such bands as Soundgarden and Queens of The Stone Age in GOZU's sound, these guys bring an energy and enthusiasm to the table that elevates their work well above the level of a mere ripoff.

Fueled by pounding drum beats, huge riffs, relentless grooves, and the charismatic voice of guitarist Marc Gaffney, 'Locust Season' is the kind of heavy, riff-driven album that's perfect for blasting with the windows open while you drive along the road. From the thunderous pace of the first track 'Meth Cowboy', to the funk-infected groove of 'Rise Up', to the menacing vibe of 'Alone', Marc Gaffney's massive, high octane fuelled riffs and searing leads are a testament to the sheer power of the axe at its most unpretentious. There are a lot of guys out there who could learn a few things from him. The only small problem for me is the influence from Queens of The Stone Age, because I cannot bear their music. They simply suck. But fortunately GOZU are adept at integrating these influences within their songs, so that it isn't less fun for me to listen to 'Locust Season'. The Benny Grotto production fits perfectly, but everyone who is familiar with Small Stone Records knows, that all their releases have an extremely good sound. This is an entertaining and dynamic album from a 4 piece that puts forth a lot of sound with plenty of hooks, great guitar work, and imagination. I am impressed by GOZU.

- KK


November 24th, 2010
www.cosmiclava.com/reviews-interviews/record-reviews/records-g/gozu-locust-season-cd.html

The Dreaded Press

OK, hold everything – I’ve just discovered what happened to the band that Queens Of the Stone Age somehow (and rather disappointingly) avoided turning into. They’re called Gozu, they’re on the perpetually reliable Small Stone Records, and their new album Locust Season is riffomatic fast-drivin’ music with a splash of dumb pop sensibilities and its tongue just a little in its cheek.

We blast our way into things with the aptly named “Meth Cowboy”: I can see the titular character in my mind’s eye, burning across the California desert in a stolen pick-up, gurning like a first-time pillhead, murder on his mind and a weapon in the glovebox. The tone is set, and then stuck to like bong-tar – and while an album containing nine iterations of the same essential sound can sometimes be a disappointment, when the sound in question ticks this many boxes at once, it’s all gravy; Locust Season is not clever, but it’s very very big.

Yes indeed; chunky is the name of Gozu‘s game, as well as a blending of all the best bits of the big names in stoner/desert rawk: Fu Manchu’s riffs, heavily palm-muted in a thrashy kind of way and nudged up-tempo by fifteen beats-per-minute or so; Kyuss’ low-slung and sludgy bass and guitar tone (albeit recorded far more clearly than Kyuss could ever afford to back in the day – Small Stone releases are always recorded with respect for the raw tone of quality guitars and amplification, and this is no exception); QOTSA-style lead guitar lines, and vocals that do a grab-bag run on the styles of half a dozen decent singers, from sneery drawls to wails and bawls, and the occasional Homme-ish falsetto “doo-doo-doo” bits. Better polish up that air guitar, my friend; you’re gonna need it for this one.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say again: originality is a fine thing, but it’s rarer than rocking-horse crap, and you don’t really need it if you rip off the right material with enough flair. You’ve heard every element of Locust Season before, probably more times than you can count… and that’s what makes Gozu a great listen. So put your foot down and drive, motherfucker – it’s seventy miles to the next gas station, and I’m all out of cigarettes.

- The Editor


September 29th, 2010
www.rock-metal-music-reviews.com/album-review-gozu-locust-season/

Uber Rock (UK)

Certain promo packages from certain labels/companies elicit very different responses when they crash into the Über Röck mailbox. Some get my Chuck Taylored feet edging towards the pedal bin, others get my fingers assuming the horned position as soon as I see the return address on the envelope. One of the latter would include the produce of US label Small Stone Records.

 Their parcels assure me of two things - that the enclosed material will be from bands best described as rough rock diamonds, and that those bands will (generally) be as heavy as fuck and previously unknown to the masses....and that's where we come in. It is the duty of sites like ours to push albums like 'III' by Sasquatch because, well, they simply deserve to be heard. And the same goes for 'Locust Season', the debut album from recent Small Stone signings Gozu as, like the aforementioned Sasquatch long player, it is one of the finest albums that I have heard this year.

 Only in the second year of their existence, Gozu, featuring members of Wargasm and Triphammer, released a seven track EP before being snapped up by Small Stone. 'Locust Season' is the first taste of material from this most heavy of marriages and, while it follows the template that a fair few of the label's bands are guided by, it noses its way to the front as a result of nothing but sheer quality.

 One of the qualities is the apparent ability to fuse bone-splintering heaviness to sunbursts of melody, whether they be of the vocal variety or infectious six string work as witnessed on storming opener 'Meth Cowboy'. Vocalist Marc Gaffney possesses a golden set of pipes that will ensure that comparisons to Chris Cornell will be great (feel free to rearrange the words of that sentence so that the point they make is that Cornell was once great - younger readers won't believe us) but, though this type of voice is a standard of this fuzzy, heavy, stoned and sludgy genre, Gaff's throat is as much of a golden ticket as it is a product of its musical whereabouts.

 Mightily produced by a gentleman who goes by the name of Benny Grotto, this earth-shaker of a debut album crushes your skull with its mammoth riffmongery, kicks the heart out of your chest with its drum sound and threatens to loosen your bowel with bass that rumbles like an earthquake in a country that rolling news channels have never mentioned before but now tell you is important.

 I've seen early Queens Of The Stone Age comparisons thrown at the band and, while you'd be foolish to not allow at least some of them to stick, there is a whole lot more to this band. A hefty Monster Magnet influence, for example: check out the monolithic 'Rise Up' if you want to stroll down that avenue.

 Any band who name a song after Jan-Michael Vincent of Airwolf fame deserve swarms of credit, right? That the song is immensely memorable and a retro collusion of barbed hooks, big riffs and moments of surprising subtlety is as big a bonus as you're gonna get. Kitsch of song title, killer of sound, this song, like the other eight housed on this soon to be legendary shiny disc, is an aural stun-gun.

 The rock 'n' roll world has to produce something really special in the remaining months of this year to crowbar this album off my stereo, and I can't see it happening. Not that, realistically, I want it to as 'Locust Season' delivers like a mailman on steroids. Highly recommended.

- Gaz E


August 13th, 2010
www.uberrock.co.uk/cd-reviews/28-august-cd/1213-gozu-locust-season-small-stone-records.html

The Ripple Effect

So it turns out Gozu are named after a Japanese movie and not the character on the Flintstones. That was The Great Gazoo, but either way they got my attention. But what really got my attention was that drummer Barry Spillberg was in the mighty Wargasm from Boston. Man, I loved that band! Their first album was called Why Play Around and came out in 1988. A dude I knew who worked for their label (Profile Records) gave me an advance tape of it and I played the shit out of it. That tape is long gone but Locust Season is making up for it big time.

“Meth Cowboy” is a great album opener with a great title. Heavy but modern with a crushing 2 guitar assault from Marc Gaffney and Doug Sherman that doesn’t drown out the bass of Jay Cannava. Barry is still ripping it up on drums. Take a look at these guys. They’re not exactly youngsters but they are pounding the world like a battering ram. Marc also handles the vocals and has a powerful voice somewhere between Chris Cornell and Marc Bolan. If this was 1988 and Gozu came onstage blasting “Mr. Riddle” opening for Zoetrope or Nuclear Assault there would be an instant pit. It’s not really metal but it’s still hard as hell and headbanging inducing. And there’s profanity in the lyrics! Always a nice bonus.

“Rise Up” also includes some good use of four letter words with a heavy Clutch via Hendrix stomp. There’s a totally scorching axe solo that sounds like Eddie Van Halen tackling Jimi’s “Who Knows.” If modern rock radio still existed they would be all over “Reagle Beagle.” This one would sound great on the radio flying down the highway and have everyone singing along on the falsetto “whoah aaaa woah” parts before the no nonsense boogie kicks back in.

Over all, Locust Season is a very solid and satisfying listen. None of the 9 songs are weak and it’s about 41 minutes – perfect length for a good album. Lots of variety so it doesn’t get boring and will appeal to just about anyone who likes heavy rock. Gozu is part of a really good breed of current Boston bands like Cortez, Roadsaw, Cult 45, Black Thai and the incredible Scrooges that makes up for past transgressions like Til Tuesday, Think Tree and SSD.  

Gozu or go home!

 - Woody


August 5th, 2010
ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2010/08/gozu-locust-season.html

The Sleeping Shaman

Small Stone Recordings have one of the most enviable rosters in metal and a catalogue bursting with classic albums by classic bands so any new band entering the Small Stone world has big boots to fill and a strong legacy to preserve. Fortunately for Gozu not only do they earn their place in such illustrious company with this debut album, they kick the asses of many of their forebears!!!

Imagine if Nick Oliveri had been given free rein in early Queens of the Stone Age to display his true insanity while Chris Cornell takes some testosterone shots to sing!!! Whether tearing along as on opening track "Meth Cowboy" or holding back into a big riffed groove on "Mr Riddle" Gozu hit a stride that is equally heavy as it is melodic. The QOTSA comparisons are particularly evident on tracks such as "Reagle Beagle" with it's four to the floor mechanical drive and high harmony vocals. Gozu are no mere 70 revivalists and incorporate twists and turns in their sound that many of their contemporaries would shy away from for not being "pure" enough. The 90's grunge of Soundgarden and Alice in Chains makes its presence felt as much as punk rock and the classic 70's tones of bands such as Montrose and, dare I say it Molly Hatchet on "Jamaican Luau" where the vocals could almost be Danny Joe Brown in his heyday!!!

The Devil, as they say, is in the detail here. Marc Gaffney's lead vocal is strident and passionate but as much thought seems to have been spent on the proliferation of backing vocals and harmonies that abound throughout each track as on the lead melodies. Similarly with the guitars they are keen to experiment with tones and sounds to lift this above the norm and while for the majority of the time the band display a muscular wall of fuzz, it's the effects that add the highlights. Some bands excel in recreating their live vibe in the studio but Gozu have used the tools at their disposal to give each part of each song the ideal sound and identity that makes this a thrilling ride through its nine tracks. As much as this album will provide the soundtrack to a few beers and a lap dance, it's also an album that will demand you listen to it and only then will it reveal its true colours.

Small Stone's reputation remains intact on this release. With only a few small exceptions they're a label that has a knack of sniffing out talent and quality and Gozu look set to take their place within their revered roster...and if there's any justice they'll be sitting near the top of the pile!!!

- Ollie


July 29th, 2010
www.thesleepingshaman.com/reviews/album/gozu_locustseason.php

All Music Guide

Every once in a while, a rock band comes along that defies categorization while somehow sounding familiar in oh so many ways. Boston, Massachusetts’ Gozu is one such band. With their 2010 debut album, Locust Season, the relatively new group made up of wiley veterans from the local scene filters hard rock, stoner rock, grunge, and a few other less obvious influences into a bludgeoning blueprint boasting the tight instrumental discipline of heavy metal. Or at least those air-tight, ultra-compressed Soundgarden records produced by Terry Date. (Think we’re reaching for the rolodex here? You ain’t seen nothing yet! This CD requires a lot of digging before revealing its secrets) Meanwhile, awe-inspiring singer Marc Gaffney has simply spectacular pipes; on par with Chris Cornell in terms of range, but actually more reminiscent of Little Caesar’s Ron Young (told you!) where soulful feel is concerned, and, unlike most bands taxiing along this particular runway, Gaffney’s not afraid to fly above the guitars/bass/drums mix, instead of getting buried in its turbulence. And so we come to the goods: stampeding numbers like “Meth Cowboy” and “Regal Beagle” are urgency defined; others like “Jan-Michael Vincent,” “Jamaican Luau” and “Rise Up” groove harder than Clutch and Pantera arm-wrestling over who has to pay for the last round; and shit-eating grins abound when the band introduces “Meat Charger” with the same cymbals pattern as AC/DC’s “Back in Black,” or references Queens of the Stone Age and Hawaii Five-O, respectively, with the quirky falsettos and title of “Kam Fong as Chin Ho.” Further highlights include “Mr. Riddle,” featuring some of the fiercest staccato riffing of the decade, and the closing doom-blues “Alone,” which raises ghosts of stoner rock past via Gaffney’s powerful wail and smoking wah-wah pedal, then coasts to an evocative finish on psychedelic waves of ‘90s alt-rock (think Screaming Trees, Monster Magnet, etc.). In short, Gozu manage to both entertain and keep their listeners guessing on this endlessly intriguing first album – here’s hoping the second will follow in short order.

- Ed Rivadavia


July 17th, 2010
www.allmusic.com/

The Soda Shop

I’ll be quite honest. I had never heard of Gozu until a few months ago. I never stumbled across them through Myspace. When I had read on Small Stone’s website that they had an album due out this year I took some notice. I still didn’t seek them out on Myspace after that and if I did, I don’t remember doing so. Call it a stupid move on my part. My first taste of the album was back in May when Small Stone posted the track “Meth Cowboy” for a listen on the Small Stone Facebook page. Scott Hamilton had made a comment that the album was going to be a game changer. I was skeptical, until I gave it a listen. Scott was right, it is a game changer.

My first listen, actually my first three listens I consider half assed listening. All the family distractions kept me from concentrating on the album so I couldn’t give it a good fair review. Turns out, I could probably do so with the little bit that I heard. I was impressed with what I was able to hear. Now that I’ve had a chance to really listen to it I’m even more blown away.

Let’s see what elements make for a great album. There are a lot of different ones but good song writing, catchy riffs and punchy lyrics would be a few. Ironicaly those same elements I would use to describe Locust Season. It all starts with the lead song “Meth Cowboy.” it catches you with the guitars riffs, the backing vocals and the kick ass tone of the song. In the 24 hours since I first listened to the song, I still have the melody stuck in my head. It doesn’t stop there though.

The album continues for the next few tracks on the same pace. When it gets to “Jamaican Luau” the tempo changes a bit with how the album started. It doesn’t stop rocking though. “Meat Charger” starts off sounding a bit like “Back in Black” by AC/DC but quickly shifts gear and instantly starts to kick your ass. This song is probably my second favorite one on the album. The closing song “Alone” is a bit slower paced but still heavy. It’s the longest song on the whole album and that doesn’t include the little hidden song at the end which I’ll keep a secret in case you don’t know already what it is.

This album is definately up in my top 10 for album of the year so far. This album is a must own for anyone who likes good hard rock, memorable lyrics and riffs. This album is a must listen for anyone who wants to turn their radio listening only friends onto something that is cool. It’s worthy of multiple listens and even after the initial cool factor has long worn off. This is an album that I’ll see myself going back to time and time again and I’m sure after your first listen you’ll agree.


June 18th, 2010
thesodashop.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/review-gozu-locust-season/

Sleazegrinder

Despite being a roiling hotbed of various riff & roll reprobates (Roadsaw, Cracktorch, etc.), Boston still persists in its rep for being the center of the intellectual rock universe. That’s as may be, but with a combo like Gozu treading the boards, it’s time to exit the classroom and head to the grimiest rock club you can find. Made up of various scene veterans, the quartet blasts out a superior brand of hard rock on its debut full-length Locust Season. Not content to simply rewrite Monster Magnet (yeah, I know, work with me here), the band pays as much attention to groove as to grunge, letting the licks slide across rubbery grooves like massage oil over a curvaceous ass. Frontdude Marc Gaffney occasionally slides into macho bluster, but he’s surprisingly supple on the majority of the tracks, adding a dash of sardonic wit and a soupçon of soul. Better yet, the whole band exhibits a sense of humor rare in neo-classic rock circles. Just try not to grin at titles like Jan-Michael Vincent, Regal Beagle and Kam Fong As Chin Ho – it’s impossible, especially since they’ll be rocking your huevos off anyway. As is usual for acts of this ilk, the record ends with an epic, but, with a soaring melody and Gaffney’s best vox, the nearly eight-minute Alone is more than just an exercise in excess. Locust Season satisfies on a purely visceral level, especially if you love 70s-style hard rock ‘n’ riffola. But there’s potential here for transcendence, and that’s what distinguishes a good debut album from a great one.

- Michael Toland


June 16th, 2010
leazegrinder.blogspot.com/2010/06/gozu-locust-season.html

The Obelisk

Gozu, man. Seems like they came out of nowhere, and no, that’s not a slag on Boston. I just mean it seems like the four-piece formed in 2008 and got signed to Small Stone almost right off the bat. Now they’re finally giving the public a taste of their riffily metallic wares with Locust Season, offering a bit of East Coast aggressive crunch with the swaggering rock. It’s their first full-length, obviously, and as an introduction, it is driven with some surprisingly individual flourishes that add character to the songs and an overall nuanced feel only heightened by song titles like “Kam Fong as Chin Ho,” “Regal Beagle” and “Jan-Michael Vincent.”

They aren’t shy about toying with pop sounds and quirky guitar lines, and that has earned them comparisons to Queens of the Stone Age, but Gozu are far more heavily toned guitar-wise than the Josh Homme outfit, whatever similarities of playing style might crop up. The vocals of guitarist Marc Gaffney are a point of commonality, however, and huge part of what sets Gozu apart from the pack. He is both soulful and well-enunciated, not losing sight of the fact that early Locust Season cut “Mr. Riddle” is a rock song even as he adds a second accent layer of higher-pitched vocals behind his straight-up track. He’d done the same thing on the catchy but wordless chorus of opener “Meth Cowboy,” and it appears at several other intervals, but as each track on Locust Season seems to have something to distinguish it from the others, that’s what does it there.

“Jan-Michael Vincent” is perhaps the poppiest of the songs on Locust Season, at least in the radio-friendly sense of the word. It has some competition for catchiest track, especially from “Regal Beagle,” but at just under four minutes, the atmosphere is less weighty than in the chugging verses of that song, which is propelled almost frenetically forward by the rhythm section of bassist Jay Canava and drummer Barry Spillberg. “Kam Fong as Chin Ho” works some keys in with Gaffney’s and Doug Sherman’s guitars, perhaps appropriately evoking a television theme song while treading close on the edge of a misstep to derail the song and not quite crossing over. The organs on “Jan-Michael Vincent,” liberal ooohs and aaaahs throughout and spells of quirky bounce have already shown that Gozu can get away with plenty when they feel like veering from the norm.

The swagger picks up and continues through the jam that eventually fades out on “Jamaican Luau,” with Spillberg’s performance just as much of a highlight there as the guitars of Sherman and Gaffney. The two six-stringers get their revenge on “Rise Up,” however, which is a (once again) catchy stoner rock song that makes heavy use of the space it has left for lead playing. “Rise Up” is something of a comedown from “Jamaican Luau,” and a relative drag point on Locust Season, since it doesn’t really add anything new that Gozu haven’t already presented on the album, but taken out of the context of everything around it, there’s nothing actually wrong with the track, it’s just a less than perfect fit where it is on the record.

I can hear a lineage of Small Stone bands (Roadsaw, Dixie Witch, etc.) continuing and being refreshed on “Meat Charger,” on which Gaffney’s vocals are again a highlight. It’s easy to sound overproduced when slipping into and out of harmony with yourself, but he doesn’t, and in fact the elaborate arrangements only work to enhance the songcraft. One of the label’s many offerings to have been put together at Mad Oak Studios in Allston, MA, by engineer Benny Grotto, Locust Season definitely benefits from the professional-grade recording job it’s been given. As the slower-paced “Alone” (also the longest track at 7:56) closes out the album, the focus is less on catchy straightforward rocking or even adding new elements than it is on embracing that elaborateness entirely and giving the sound of the band over to it. The result is Gozu doing something different, but it also works with the eight tracks preceding.

After the song has rumbled to a close, a little girl comes in to sing “Tomorrow” from Annie. I cannot condone artists putting their children on a record, but it’s easily-enough skipped in this age of technological wonder. They get a pass on it because it’s their first album and all the rocking and whatnot.

It should be interesting to see over the course of their duration if the heavier crunch of their guitars or the more rock-based elements of Gozu ultimately win out in their sound, or if perhaps by blending them seamlessly the four-piece can concoct a brew entirely their own. Keeping in mind just how new a band they actually are, there’s still a lot of growth to come, but there’s no denying that with Locust Season, Gozu are off to the proverbial great start.

- H.P. Taskmaster


June 3rd, 2010
theobelisk.net/obelisk/

Broken Beard

I don’t know if Gozu got their name from the bizarro Japanese film or not but I’m just gonna go ahead and assume they did because it makes ‘em that much better, brother. Grand theater of perversion and fear? You better believe it. Some of the song titles on Locust Season, their Small Stone debut, read like a ransom note cut from a 1980s TV Guide (“Regal Beagle,” “Kam Fong As Chin Ho,” and “Jan-Michael Vincent”) while some could be contents found in any serial killer’s tickle trunk (“Meth Cowboy,” “Jamaican Luau,” and “Meat Charger”). They might as well be singing about Yakuza attack dogs or bottles of breast milk or a soup ladle up the ass is what I’m getting at here, man, and with the lo-desert chicanery blasting away behind it all, I feel like all four walls are closing in on me fast and hard. The whole damn deal is raw, reeks of rancid rubber, and is as rough n’ tumble as a Boston bar brawl. Imagine a heavier Queens of the Stone Age with the sun-kissed flavour of Fu Manchu, the motorcycle madness of Valis, and the time traveling blues of Orange Goblin, and you’ve got yourself the gonzo glory of Gozu. A dope album in every sense of the word.

- Jeff


May 26th, 2010
www.brokenbeard.com/

Album Tracks

  1. Meth Cowboy
  2. Mr. Riddle
  3. Regal Beagle
  4. Kam Fong As Chin Ho
  5. Jan-Michael Vincent
  6. Jamaican Luau
  7. Rise Up
  8. Meat Charger
  9. Alone

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