Under the Drone

Keep It Shred

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Under the Drone debuted with a 2004 EP of sludgy, bottom-heavy stoner rock that was largely devoid of original ideas. For their first full-length record, Keep It Shred, the Denver-based quartet still worships at the altar of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age, but there's a greater spark to the songs. Sibling rhythm section Dave Harper (bass) and Mike Harper (drums) put considerably more energy into their playing this time round, pushing the tempos past the drowning-in-molasses mark on several tunes, and there's a somewhat more aggressive edge to the band's overall sound now. Opening track "Gum" is downright punky, in fact. Unfortunately, lead singer Ben Gun is still rather lacking, both vocally and lyrically: not quite a note-for-note carbon copy of Josh Homme, Gun is still clearly under his influence, and that leaves Keep It Shred -- for all of its notable improvements over the EP -- sounding like the work of a second-rate band.

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