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Dopesick Review

by William York

Dopesick may be Eyehategod's most painful, strung-out album, and considering this band's standards in that department, that is really saying something. This tormented feeling is evident from the jarring screams that open the album to the broken bottle noises that punctuate the closer, "Anxiety Hangover." "Ruptured Heart Theory" is the one track that shows the band at its most distraught, with its feedback-spewing guitars, crashing cymbals, anguished vocals, and absolutely crawling tempo. The rest of the album is actually somewhat diverse, at least musically if not in terms of mood. "Dixie Whiskey" has a monstrous main riff that sounds like a swamp-bred Black Sabbath; "Dogs Holy Life" (sic) and the tricky, Melvins-like "Non Conductive Negative Reasoning" both feature inventive, ear-grabbing guitar parts before ending abruptly; and "Peace Thru War (Thru Peace and War)" and "Lack of All Most Everything" alternate up-tempo hardcore punk sections with slowed-down grooves to excellent effect. Produced by Billy Anderson -- who has also turned the knobs for the Melvins, Sleep, and Neurosis -- Dopesick is denser and heavier than Eyehategod's previous records, with the drums more upfront in the mix and the guitars sounding especially thick. The album comes close to crumpling under its own weight at several points, but just as that seems to happen, guitarists Jimmy Bower and Brian Patton manage to pull out that one more massive doom riff that keeps things afloat. Dopesick is an exhausting, challenging listen, but it is also very arguably Eyehategod's most musically accomplished and well-rounded statement.

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