Compilation includes 47 tracks of North Carolina-bred doom, stoner, and sludge, including “Crown of Flies,” plus liner notes written by Doomsday Profit frontman Bryan Reed
Weedian’s first foray into the American doom scene led the compilation curator straight to North Carolina with the 47-track “Trip To North Carolina” boasting heavy hitters such as Corrosion of Conformity, Sourvein, Weedeater, ASG, Bask, Buzzov-en, Cosmic Reaper, and Doomsday Profit.
Liner notes for the compilation were penned by Doomsday Profit frontman Bryan Reed, giving color to the Old North State’s long and storied history of heavy music.
“Here’s to the land of the Long Leaf Pine.”
So begins North Carolina’s state toast. And as we embark on this aural trip through the state’s heaviest specimens, let’s first raise a glass (or glassware) to The Old North State.
Despite the toast’s glowing ode to North Carolina, the state is much more complex than trees and flowers.
On one side of the state roars the mighty Atlantic, whose tides shift the land to her whims, swallowing ships and houses along the way. On the other, the unfathomably ancient Appalachian mountains, whose long forgotten secrets still lay buried in granite and coal.
From one side to the other, this land is steeped like sweet tea in dark legends and darker truths, where Bigfoot has been said to roam, and where the Devil paces and plots his schemes. It’s where Blackbeard harbored, and where moonshiners raced against the law. Though it was the last state to do so, North Carolina joined the Confederacy and its soldiers reclaimed the working class epithet “Tar Heel,” as a point of pride. But less than a hundred years later, North Carolinian activists stared down Jim Crow from their stools at Greensboro lunch counters.
Those embers of conflict still smolder.
So it’s no wonder a state so shaped by elemental powers and generational conflict has spawned an explosion of musical icons. James Taylor. George Clinton. Nina Simone. Doc Watson. Elizabeth Cotten. Thelonius Monk. The list goes on.
And this, being so focused on the heavier side of the spectrum, probably had you assuming we’d be starting off with Corrosion of Conformity. But, no. The roots of heavy music go much
deeper here. Hell, you could argue (and I will), that heavy metal itself emerged from the hands of Dunn, N.C. native Link Wray, with the roaring power chords of “Rumble.”
So yes, while it’s hard to overstate the influence Corrosion of Conformity has had in defining — and redefining — the sounds of Southern heaviness, they did not emerge from a vacuum.
Those same gnarled roots, reaching from mountains to sea, through stone and clay and sand, touch all of us making loud sounds down here. It’s in the tobacco-spit brew of hardcore and sludge crafted by Buzzov-en and Seven Foot Spleen, just as it’s in the slower and more humid grooves of Weedeater and Sourvein.
The call to play slow and heavy spread here like kudzu, consuming influences as broad as psychedelic rock and Americana (see: US Christmas, Solar Halos, Bask) to epic metal (Hour of
13, Daylight Dies). Looking for heady grooves? We’ve got Crystal Spiders, Mean Green, HolyRoller, Toke, ASG, Shun, The Asound, and so many more. Looking for something more aggressive? Try Hempire, Bongfoot, or …and I become death, who bring notes of thrash and
hardcore into the mix. And there’s always plenty of capital-D DOOM, too. Try Cosmic Reaper’s fuzz-blasted trips, or Mourning Cloak’s dour and tense epics. Or, maybe you’d prefer to drop into one of Kult Ikon’s instrumental labyrinths, or Escaping Aghartha’s blackened meditations, or Ape Vermin’s progressive yet still sludge-flecked sound.
And this is only scratching the surface. The red clay dirt is as fertile for heavy riffs as it is for tobacco and sweet potatoes. It may not always feel like the “The blessed land, the best land,” but for better and worse, it’s our land. I’ll drink to that.Words by Bryan Reed (Doomsday Profit)