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In the doom metal/stoner rock/sludge field, worshiping and adoring Black Sabbath are not only a popular thing to do -- they are almost obligatory. In many cases, the Sabbath influence has more to do with the riffs than vocals; a doom or stoner band that offers Sabbath-influenced riffs may have a vocalist who doesn't sound anything at all like Ozzy Osbourne. But on Sheavy's Republic?, Sabbath affects the playing, the writing, and the singing; the Canadians' riffs and songs have a major Sabbath influence, and Steve Hennessy's lead vocals are so Osbourne-like that his detractors have often argued, "Instead of emulating the Oz, why don't you develop your own vocal style?" But as Sabbath-obsessed as Republic? is, it would be a mistake to dismiss Sheavy as an exact replica of '70s-era Sabbath. Sure, these headbangers have spent a lot of time listening to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Paranoid, and Master of Reality -- there's no getting around that fact. But Republic? has a sludginess that you won't find on Sabbath's classic '70s recordings -- a sludginess that owes something to the Melvins as well as grunge (which, of course, was greatly affected by the Melvins -- a band that had a huge impact on Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and many other Seattle bands of the late '80s and early '90s). And Republic?, in fact, was produced by someone with very strong sludge credentials: Billy Anderson, who is known for his work with the Melvins and Orange Goblin. Under Anderson's direction, Sheavy deliver an album that won't win any awards for being groundbreaking or terribly original but is enjoyable nonetheless. Anderson is a definite asset for Sheavy on this derivative but worthwhile doom/stoner/sludge outing.

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