Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway
I am always thrilled to discover good bands right here in my home state of Kentucky, though they do seem a bit few and far between at times. But then, maybe the issue is where I live, in the Appalachian Mountains… a very RURAL part of those famed mountains.
Just a couple of hours up the road from me is Lexington, which is a pretty well-developed urban area. That’s where the subjects of this review hail from. STORM TOKER is the trio of David Andrew Langley (bass, vocals), Anthony Grigsby (guitar, vocals), and Donte Montgomery (drums, vocals), who recently issued their first official studio effort, ‘Toke One‘.
Now, I can already hear the gears turning in your heads: “Storm Toker? Toke One? Kentucky??!!!“, as you preemptively calculate that this is yet another stoner rock band, in the endless flood of ones surfacing daily. Though, truth is, you would only be partly correct in your deductions, more specifically the part about stoner. But it ends there – being half right – for this threesome are, without question, doubt, or hesitation, a stoner METAL band!
Over the span of the ‘Toke One‘ EP’s six songs, we are subjected to a blaze of “highly” energized riffs, super tight rhythms, stunning drumming, and a variety of vocals. These guys keep stuff interesting, blending thrash, punk, alt. metal, and even funk into their potent aural concoction. Just take the initial starter here, “Mule & Tusk” is a careening, uptempo, feel-good foray into a beefy tune tinged with nu-metal touches and controlled aggression.
The genre-meshing madness continues with such stellar songs as “Killdozer“, and the utterly incendiary shredder, “The Apex“. The latter is a non-stop whirlwind of maddening riffs and dizzying rhythmic inserts, where they carry the song’s muscular vocals aloft. The song’s ceaseless battering does not let up and will likely have you asking “WTF just happened?” once it does end.
It is followed by a real break in the metallic action, the slow churning, crunchy instrumental “D.A.D.“. With its rolling twists and turns and restrained demeanor, the song is a masterful display of STORM TOKER‘s ability to hit the brakes a bit when they choose to. Plus, it totally sets up the song that follows it.
“Stalingrad” is a slab of sludgery riddled with impassioned progressions and solid grooves, along with one of the EP’s stand-out vocal performances. With all three band members providing vocals at times on different songs, I am inclined to think that they all contribute to this number, from the heavier, somewhat shouted ones to the cleaner, harmonized ones. I definitely found “Stalingrad” to be one of the stand-out tracks of this album.
Things are beginning to wind down with the arrival of the last song, another track where the trio display their style-warping superpowers, “Caverns“. With an ominous, doom impacted start laden with black metallish, semi-shrieking vocals, the song stays the path with simmering grunge elements for the most part. Ultimately, it brings about a monumental end to things, that’s for sure.
Also for sure, that you should indeed brave the tempest of metal that is STORM TOKER and check out the ‘Toke One‘ EP (hell, maybe even toke one right along… if that’s your thing). You can do it with the stream provided here, or go to Bandcamp HERE for other streaming and purchase options, and discover the kick-ass trio representing the state of Kentucky within the underground.