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Through the Eyes of Heathens

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Album Review

Woe to those who dismissed Sweden's Dozer as distant, perhaps unimportant satellites to the mostly U.S.-centric, late-'90s stoner rock solar system, for here they are: five years beyond that scene's generally accepted heyday, and ten into their career — and still they orbit, only now exerting the gravitational pull of a major heavenly body upon the smaller bands that lie scattered across the vast stoner rock asteroid belt. Can you dig? In the event you can't, and prefer less colorful descriptive methods, suffice to say that Dozer's fourth album, Through the Eyes of Heathens, cements the band's gradual transition from perceived followers to acknowledged leaders of this perennially beloved subgenre of underground hard rock. In fact, the ten tracks making up Through the Eyes of Heathens almost serve as a "state of the genre" address, boasting a broad cross section of historic stoner rock hallmarks. Take infectiously stripped-down tunes like "Drawing Dead," "Born a Legend," and "The Roof, the River, the Revolver," for instance — all of them so timeless they simultaneously fit in with the mid-2000s crop of post-stoner heavy blues-rock bands (Halfway to Gone Alabama Thunderpussy, etc.), and those Harley-on-the-highway, heavy groove-rock anthems laid down by Dozer's original contemporaries, Clutch and Fu Manchu. The apocalyptic "Until Man Exists No More" (featuring guest vocals from Mastodon's Troy Sanders) and the light-and-shade extremes of "Days of Future Past" dredge up massive Black Sabbath power chords from stoner rock's sister subgenre, doom, and the epic "Big Sky Theory" delves in neighboring psychedelic and space rock tendencies, while "From Fire Fell" and "Omega Glory" span the sonic evolution from Kyuss' pounding quasi-thrash to Queens of the Stone Age's driving riff-o-rama and quirky falsettos. There's even a total curve ball in "Man of Fire," where jabbing guitars and grungey vocal tones temporarily have the band sounding like Pearl Jam — weird! In the end, if there's anything truly dating — or at least geographically specific — on this album, it's Dozer's obvious disinterest in any of the Southern rock overtones so prevalent among mid-2000s retro rock combos, but they're never really missed here. Rather, Through the Eyes of Heathens offers top-of-the-line stoner rock at a time when it's sorely needed to revitalize the style.

Customer Reviews

Dozer

Dozer are a Sweedish Stoner Rock band formed back in 1995, who’s debut studio album was released in 2000. This; their fourth studio album, from 2006, may be a little late onto the Stoner scene and may therefor have missed the window for being labeled a classic record within the genre, but judged on musical merit it is way up there.

Stoner is a broad church, and Dozer definitely fit in more on the Kyuss end of the spectrum than on the WeedEater/Electric Wizard/Sleep end of it. There is a lot of Kyuss influence audible in the sound, as well as touches of QOTSA’s debut. The sound is big, fuzzy and warm as opposed to tinny and brittle and evokes more of a desert feel than you’d expect from a band who live in Sweeden.

In addition; the band share small similarities in sound, as well as a large amount of the spirit and attitude of bands like Down, Clutch and Mastodon. Mastodon’s main singer Troy Sanders even makes a guest appearance here, on the track `Until Man Exists No More.’

In my opinion, Through The Eyes Of Heathens is a perfect record. Every song is good to the point where no single verse, chorus, bridge or solo is wasted, no songs need lengthened or shortened, sped up or slowed down. Everything is so tight that not one single thing needs changing, which is a rare situation indeed.

Difficult as it is to choose highlights from a perfect album, devoid as it is of filler or weaker moments, my favourite tracks are definitely the catchy as hell `From Fire Fell,’ with its Josh Homme sounding chorus, and the amazing album closer `Big Sky Theory,’ which is so evocative and engaging, it sounds like an entire film condensed into one eight minute song.

Overall; Through The Eyes Of Heathens is an incredible record, which yields more with each listen and is one of the most solid and entertaining albums I have heard in a long time. If you enjoy big riffs, pounding `rock-so-heavy-its-almost-metal’ styles and catchy melodic choruses then Dozer are a band you ought to check out. If you do, this is a damn fine album to chose.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s

One of Sweden's first and most enduring stoner rock bands, Dozer were formed in 1995 by vocalist and guitarist Frederik Nordin, lead guitarist Tommi Holappa, drummer Erik Bäckwall, and bassist Magnus Larsson, who would soon quit to pursue a martial arts career and be replaced by Johan Rockner. Dozer hailed from the sleepy town of Borlänge, but quickly started making waves on the international stoner rock scene when 1998's "Hawaii Cottage" was awarded "single of the week" honors by Kerrang! magazine....
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Through the Eyes of Heathens, Dozer
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