There’s a spectrum of stoner rock bands, ranging from those who are rehashing their favorite Matt Pike riffs to heavy rockers born in the wrong generation. Oakland, California’s War Cloud live in the same neighborhood as rockers like Mothership and Monster Magnet—hard-rocking groups that deal in loose, groovy jams and gravelly vocals, plus a dash of psychedelia, casually pumping out big hooks and exhilarating solos.
On their new two-song EP, Chain Gang, War Cloud infuse their upbeat stoner rock with a heavy metal edge, something that makes them stand out over their mellow peers. Guitarists Alex Wein and Nick Burks are the stars of the show, knowing when to take center stage and when to let the other members of the band take the lead.
For the title track’s B-side, “Satisfied then Crucified,” War Cloud recruit Janiece Gonzalez, singer of Bay Area rockers Wild Eyes, to contribute vocals. It’s a welcome voice and one that keeps the EP from getting too monotonous—and it’s never bad to end with roaring, anthemic vocals, which is exactly what she provides.
Hear the Chain Gang EP for yourself below. It’s out this Friday, September 25, on Ripple Music.