In the vein of other Man's Ruin split discs, this effort serves up two slices of concentrated, sludgy greatness, with the emphasis definitely on the sludge. Acid King kicks things into gear with Free, four slices of pure mind-f*ck, showing that Lori S. -- apparently no longer Crover -- and her bandmates still have got the goods. As seems to be traditional with the group at this stage, there's yet another new bassist on most of the tracks, Guy Pinhas, though Brian Hill is still around for "Four Minutes" (which, logically enough, is over eight minutes long). The tempo-shifting instrumental "Blaze In" makes for major mind-shred, bong-hit action, setting the mood for the rest of the band's slow-as-it-goes death groove. Lori herself shows again she's got the instrumental chops and vocal abilities for everything, her heavily echoed singing an almost lovely counterpoint to the gobs of feedback. Though there's not much variety between the tracks, it really isn't needed -- it's all about head nodding and tripping out at full volume. As for the Mystick Krewe of Clearlight and its section, The Father, the Son and the Holy Smoke, it's about what might be expected from a Down/Eyehategod side project -- lengthy, loud, and intensely pissed off, but with a hearty load of good-time boogie as well. Ross Karpelman's organ gives it that perfect Deep Purple glaze. Only two songs, and they're both trips -- the first, "Buzzard Hill (My Backyard)," sounds like the perfect lost 1974 bad-ass stoner funk trip of dreams, with Jimmy Bower and Paul Webb's guitar charging everywhere and Joey LaCaze hitting some fine drum fills. The 12-minute "Veiled" combines that with a great space-out/head-trip midsection, making something already grand even better.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett