Released: 2015, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Hailing from North Carolina in the US, Viajando, the band formerly known as Stone City, have certainly accumulated plenty of performance experience over the years. Having cultivated their own brand of Stoner Rock, they now have the platform with which to independently release their debut EP 'Counting Days'.
The EP's title track is a dusty, radio-friendly desert groove that sets the tone perfectly for a record that is a gritty, bass-heavy and all-round pleasant mix of stoner rock and roll, with little nuances of punk laced throughout. The opening moments are like a rush of bourbon-soaked adrenaline, as man and machine fuse while revving the engine at the start of a drag race. As the rolling drums kick in, each splash of the cymbals heightens your anticipation for the upcoming groove. This track in particular is exemplary of the record's success in combining hard riffs and tight rhythms, which are perfectly overlaid with a mixture of sung and shouted vocals that really helps to shape the feel of the sound.
Much of the record struts down a mid-tempo range, with the vocals providing the mainstay of the melody, but it's a whole band performance that keeps a real sustained energy driving throughout. In tracks such as 'Nothing is Sacred' or 'Rogue', the groove wades through bass driven muddy waters and harnesses its momentum like a coiled spring, which is a strange thing to achieve through what is essentially repetition. As you would expect, the ensuing onslaught is a welcomed battering of the senses. There are no riffs on show here that don't carry substance along with them. The transition between hooky riffs, emotional choruses and pacy, heavier moments comes from each part of the band interlacing with their peers – the bass sets the tone, the guitar accentuates the riff, the vocals soar the melody, the drum fill takes centre stage, and then all manner of Hell breaks loose.
This is a jigsaw that doesn't have many pieces but that doesn't lessen any of the satisfaction of how it looks when it's all put together. A real failure of modern music is how some bands are all spectacle with no substance, and they should be taking note from Viajando. This record is as fun as it is heavy and loud, but it's the unexplainable soul in it's simplicity that needs to be heard to be understood.