Released: 2006, Small Stone Records
Older stoner rock fans might remember a band that created quite a bit of buzz back in the late ‘90s – Roadsaw. The band put out a couple albums and an EP, but their sophomore disc, NATIONWIDE (1997) really struck a chord with stoner fans and was a minor hit. The band kinda disappeared after that and not much was heard from the members. In 2002, ¾ of Roadsaw formed Antler, basically as a continuation of their stoner-rock vision. With a self-released debut album already out, the band is finally forging ahead in ’06 with their second disc.
Right from the opening notes of “The Gentle Butcher”, it’s clear that Antler is not a crushing groove machine like Greatdayforup or Throttlerod. Instead of focusing on the heavy, the band turns their attentions to simply writing smooth rock songs that retain hints of previous, more intense inclinations. It’s all generally good stuff, like the aforementioned “The Gentle Butcher” and Southern-fried “Frozen Over”, but the slow stuff tends to drag on too long and dominate too much of the disc. It’s like trying to rock out while heavily sedated – you’re more likely to just fall asleep.
The band obviously knows what they’re doing and trying to achieve, but your average metalhead is not going to get into this. Then again, I doubt the average metalhead is Antler’s target audience. If you enjoy a good Southern rock stoner album, then you will find plenty to like in Antler. But for me, this is just a little too relaxed and meandering.