Music News

Critic's Choice

Awakened by atomic testing and an insatiable appetite for horticulture, Bongzilla has but two things on its slow, single-chambered, reptilian mind: kind bud and loud amplifiers. But having a lot to say about very little is part of this Madison-based outfit's undeniable charm. Able to scrape that good, sticky resin from a single joke for countless lungfuls of tasty, black metal, the good-natured beast has managed to sidestep novelty status for nearly five years. Sort of. Decide for yourself, when the mighty red-eyed lizard stomps into the Lion's Lair Tuesday, November 5, with Today Is the Day and All That Remains. Amidst dark, sonic clouds of crushing heaviness, groove-oriented riffage, scowling vocals and the sick thunder of a crack rhythm section, the 'zilla coughs up ode after ode to the world's number-one cash crop. "Sacred Smoke," "High Like a Dog" and especially "Budgun/THC" remain playlist staples that take the pacifist's route toward world domination, inciting group-inspired chant-alongs of "Load bongs/Not guns." In further praise of the five-pointed leaf, scaly frontman Mike Makela usually recites the entire Fourth Amendment during "Prohibition" -- a showstopper with a few encouraging words about "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects/Against unreasonable searches and seizures/Blah blah blah." With so much sweet-scented, wispy love in the air, the only thing missing might be a roach clip the size of Mothra.
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John La Briola