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Released: 2011, Self Released
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz
When I first learned of Mendozza, I immediately pictured the McBain character from the Simpsons screaming at his arch nemesis, “MENDOZZA!!!!!!!”
In actuality, Mendozza is a doom influenced trio hailing from Vancouver who just happen to have an healthy body of self released material under their belt. I say “doom influenced,” because to simply call them a doom metal band wouldn’t be doing them justice. Combining monstrous death n’ roll influences from bands like Entombed and The Melvins with the rhythmic sensibilities of High on Fire and Clutch, Mendozza successfully cultivates a powerful blend of kick you in the gut heaviness. Their latest self-titled full length was quietly released towards the end of last year, and aside from being their best work to date, it’s a stellar example of how to take familiar trappings and make them sound freakin’ explosive.
MENDOZZA has a structural foundation rooted in dark, crunchy riffs that are slathered in menacing grooves that bounce and swing. Which yes, there are umpteen dozen bands that apply that technique to their offensive. But Mendozza make it sound so damn natural, displaying a knack for crafting fat bottom hooks that grab the listener and then beat them mercilessly with a riot baton. Tracks like the opening “Ligature” combine slow, plodding pressure with upbeat jangly notes and hazy echoed vocals. “Ayahuasca” is named after the Amazonian native psychotropic brew, and is conversely more energetic and frantic, while “The Undertaking” is full of blunt hostility and some sweet, sexy lead guitar work. My favorite track though is the 9-minute epic, “Wishful Drinking.” The track opens with a swinging jazz signature and some wild bass lines reminiscent of early Sabbath, lulling you into a false sense of good time rockin’. Ever so slowly though, the tempo shifts down, the key swings from major to minor, and the tune morphs into a brooding, remorseful, and all together insidious dirge. Which is much like a night out drinking…Genius.
There are plenty of other excellent moments across MENDOZZA, but at this point I’m going to tell you to just buy a copy and hear them for yourself. Mendozza is a wicked beast of a band, as is this namesake album. A despicably heavy effort through and through, MENDOZZA is a winner. Check out the band’s website for purchase info.
3. Spirit Horse
5. The Undertaking
6. Born With a Black Tongue
7. Wishful Drinking
The Judge – Bass
Masterbeater – Drums
Deuce – Guitar, Vocals
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