» Blog Archive Album Review: Le' Betre/King Buffalo split by STB Records -
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STB split, Le Betre and King BuffaloAgain, I can’t forgo a split! It’s becoming an addiction… But this time I have to shout the heavens down with probably one of the smoothest, bluesiest, most dulcetly heavy splits/albums you could possibly want for this year! The split of Le’ Betre and King Buffalo is nigh upon us, and its all thanks to the maniac genius of STB Records. This is the blues/rock/metal album you have been craving, and after the jump are some words I may have glued together out of a dictionary or Time magazine.

Like the title subtly suggests, this is indeed a split album, between Le’ Betre, of Swedish rock ‘n’ roll fame, and King Buffalo, riding their bass laden wave of doom rock out of New York. The tracks are not split symmetrically, but rather letting Le’ Betre stretch their legs for the first five songs and then giving tons of room to King Buffalo for the last 3. The bands are both less extreme than the last couple splits I have written about, much more into the rock and fuzz genres, with Le’ Betre going for the 70s retro rock space sound, akin to Graveyard and Witchcraft, with a very talented vocalist and riff generator of a band. King Buffalo fills the aural space with a more laid back, doom sound that just feels cavernous when you give it some volume, and just groove down letting the music do the talking. Neither band seeks to outdo the other, and its a perfect split.

Le’ Betre opens with Gowns & Crowns, which recalls the aforementioned Graveyard, and just has a true old school feel to it. Their choice in tone, playing style, and choice in vocalist just reek of that classic influence. They play with a tightness, together, that just can’t help but move your foot, fingers, head, anything capable of displaying rocking along with them. Its a short song, at 2:30 exact, and I really wish there was a longer cut! However, the rock never stops for these guys, as it rolls right over (Beethoven) into Snake Eyes, which is a bit slower, darker, and really needs headphones to truly appreciate. The whole 5 song portion Le’ Betre has just sounds like an epic rock soundtrack to a movie I would never stop watching. And no song repeats the others, each has its own style and swagger. Jesper Eriksson, the second to last track for them, is by far the loudest, production-wise, and is slightly jarring on first listen, simply because I wasn’t expecting it. Never a bad thing! Keeps the heart young.

(And another note of warning, make sure your speakers and headphones are rated for hell good bass. I am pretty sure I am slowly killing my computer’s sub…)

After Mother by Le’ Betre rocks its last roll, King Buffalo floods the room with that big doom rock saunter, and proceeds to just take you wherever they damn well want. They close the album with the last 3 spots (New Time, Like a Cadillac, and Providence Eye), and this is the reason for that warming from earlier. These guys will kill lesser subs and speakers. These guys absolutely destroy the last 3 songs, bringing in a heavy, doomed blues sound that walks around your house, touching stuff, and then taking a couple beers from the fridge because hey man, it’s all cool. King Buffalo has a more modern sound than Le’ Betre, and tend towards the longer on this split. New Times is a basic groove off between the band to see who can stay in the pocket longest, and it’s just a great jam song to have playing at really anytime. It doesn’t go anywhere unusual, but damn if it isn’t just fun to listen to! when it rolls its last few notes, Like a Cadillac comes in to decimate the relaxed ears of the previous song, amping the bass guitar up to the front of the class. The bass guitar holds the frontlines for most of the song, letting the guitar come up for air to shoot some sizzling licks off into the air, then right back into the riff. Its the perfect blend between thumping and rocking! Their last missive from beyond the heavy veil, Providence Eye, is far and away the longest song at almost 11 minutes. Providence Eye is the closest to traditional doom, out of their set, and definitely the most varied. Starting with simple drum and some awesome plucked notes, the bassist pops up with some trippy riffs as the singer croons somewhat quietly to the absolute soul of the listener. It keeps this base rhythm and flow for most of the song, with interludes most righteous and tasty, keeping you right in their pocket. It’s a fitting end to a most melodious offering!

To top it all off, the split will be packaged with an exclusive artwork from Thieves of Tower, sporting an old school scrimshaw or vellum map style, with aged ivory/orange contrasts to the exquisite lines.

For more info, and to buy the EXCLUSIVE VINYL RELEASE on Feb. 21, 2015, head on over to STB Records’ Online Store for swag and vinyl drops, adn then check out their Bandcamp for their free streaming sampler of bands they have released, and a couple teaser tracks from the upcoming album!

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