A vivid experience
The California desert and stoner rock band known as Stöner has released their debut album, Stoners Rule. This album features the same tracklist as Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 4, which is part of a recorded live stream film series. The band carries heavy psychedelic sounds and, of course, falls under the genre of stoner rock.
The trio rock band is composed of Brant Bjork as lead vocalist and guitarist, Nick Oliveri as vocalist and bassist and Ryan Gut on drums. In 2020, Bjork and Oliveri founded this project group; both are former members of Kyuss, a Palm Desert, California stoner rock band. The semi-new band released the seven-track album Stoners Rule after announcing their 2022 U.K. and Ireland tour. The album features relaxed rhythms, fuzzy sounds and a few surprises up its sleeves.
Stoners Rule begins with a very slow start as “Rad Stays Rad,” a near seven-minute track, seems like a long eternity of fuzzy riffs and repetition that pushes the listener to eagerly press that skip button within the first 30 seconds of the track. This track could have easily been cut to a shorter length or simply cut from the album itself. The only thing some may find enjoyable is the heaviness of the bass that vibrates through the speakers is sure to vibrate through the audience in live concerts.
“The Older Kids” continues the distortions and heavy bass but quickly introduces a catchy rhythm that certainly does a better job at capturing the audience than the previous track. This track gives off a vibe as though it was originally a simple jamming session that was transitioned into a recording studio. The bond between the trio seeps through the chorus.
The album turns from stoner rock jamming sessions to soulful bass-driven blues with “Own Yer Blues.” Bjork compensates for the lack of creative lyricism by taking a moment to show off in an incredible guitar solo mid-song. The vocals are not the best off the album, leaving some wishing this was a purely instrumental track. “Nothin’” hits the audience with a heavy rock attitude and groovy rhythm. This track is perfect for a psych-you-up type of playlist. The rock and roll guitar riffs and smashing drums perfectly combine to create an energetically pleasing sensation.
The album continues its high energy with the following track, “Evel Never Dies,” which turns the grooving into foot-stomping and headbanging with a semi-high intense punk rock beat. Just as the name suggests, the song is a testament to the legendary daredevil Evel Knievel’s name and spirit. The whispering backup vocals intensify the song, and the shouting vocals hype up the punk rhythm. The crazy guitar riffs and correlating slamming drums blast the audience away; this track is perfect for a mosh pit.
“Stand Down” features a Jimi Hendrix 1970s rock vibe. Stöner’s incredible rhythm and amplified guitars transport the audience to a Woodstock festival. The bass, the guitar and the drums are so incredibly in tune together that it not only makes the listener feel as though they are in the middle of a live performance, but it reminds them that this trio has over 30 years of an extraordinary experience.
The album closes with another bass-heavy track. “Tribe/Fly Girl” delivers a duo experience as it seems as though this track is split through Bjork and Oliveri’s vocals. This 13-minute track features some rock guitar riffs that slowly turn to a blues-influenced rhythm mid-track. Stöner manages to successfully create a combination of multiple genres within a single track, showcasing their immense talent.
Stoners Rule is full of fuzzy guitars, bass-driven beats and amp distortions that will have the audience longing for live concerts. Stöner plays through these tracks as though they were simple jamming sessions, showcasing their ability to perfect different genres and styles. Though Stoners Rule began with a questionably lazy track, it quickly improved and demonstrated the band’s ability to capture and entertain a wide audience.