On Blood Drive, ASG has created this perfect balance of music that’s more of a hard rock celebration than a heavy metal epiphany. It’s heavy, sure, but it’s filled with so much more joyous oomph that’s sorely lacking from today’s metal scene. The comparisons to Torche, Baroness, and Kyuss are inevitable but at the end of the day what ASG presents with Blood Drive is something else entirely.

Just listen to Jason Shi’s high pitched wail that is actually more in tune with the harmonies of Matt Kramer and Jason Bieler then, say, Perry Farrell or Ozzy Osbourne. Nonetheless, it’s unique and instantly sets ASG apart from your standard heavy fare.

If you haven’t heard ASG yet then their fourth album’s definitely a good start as “Avalanche” begins with a wall of feedback and slowly lurches to a more melodic structure that eventually shows off the stellar rhythm section of drummer Scott Key and bassist Andy Ellis within its stonerish breakdown. Later on, “Day’s Work” is definitely reminiscent of the Kramer spewed vitriol of Saigon Kick’s The Lizard vocally amidst a chugging monolithic riff while later still,  “Blues For Bama” exudes Kyuss’ space age mannerisms (Think some of the interludes of Sky Valley or …And The Circus Leaves Town.)

If speed is your vice then look no further than “Castlestorm” or “Hawkeye”, the former of which showcases some ferocious shrieks from Shi and stellar skin bashing from Key. By the time closer “Good Enough To Eat” concludes listeners will surely be picking themselves off the floor as quickly as they possibly can in order to press “play” again.

Blood Drive is out through Relapse Records on May 28th. Buy your own copy here.

Grade: A



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