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Three guesses as to what Bongzilla is all about. Mean 'n' green bludgeon rock, '70s style, is the name of the game with Gateway, Bongzilla's second full-length, which doesn't even try to separate itself from the overused stoner rock tag. Regardless, Gateway proves that there's plenty of hemp-fueled joy in sludgeville, derivative as it may be, sounding like a cross between Sleep's drowsy, Black Sabbathy meanderings and Electric Wizard/Burning Witch-style gut-curdling, muddy sludge. Still, the almighty riffs come down the pipe big, fat, and greasy for "Keefmaster," "Greenthumb," and the ridiculously titled eight-minute skull-crusher "666lb. Bongsession," with vocalist Muleboy sounding like a particularly nasty, hissing, bucktoothed rodent trying to claw his way out from under a mountain of feedback and lumbering caveman drums. Fun as Gateway may be, the novelty wears off after realizing that Sleep's epic Mary Jane tirade Jerusalem tossed the last shovelful of dirt on the genre's coffin five years prior, being more certifiably insane and, um, ludicrous than Bongzilla's middle-of-the-road approach. The album is still worth a few spins for the massiveness of its riffs and production, especially for fans of the green machine genre, but more selective purveyors of metal will find that the buzz wears off quickly.

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