ALBUM REVIEW: Connoisseur – Stoner Justice

Connoisseur-StonerJustice-promo2015-1WORDS: Alison Pitcairn

California based stoner violence trio CONNOISSEUR have brought us a new ear melting record to add to our growing collection of raging stoner anthems by the band. As far as stoner violence goes, it a subgenre they seem to be owning.

The first track Circle of Heads, rips through the moment it begins with heavy yet punk-y vocals and a ‘’we’re here to smash’’ attitude by guitarist Dan and drummer Lyle and does not disappoint. Let’s take a moment to admire the album art. A collaboration done by Skinner who shares Oakland roots with CONNOISSEUR and is the artist behind the trippy album art to MASTODON’S most recent record, Once more round the sun, and Hal Rotter of Rotting Graphics, who has worked with bands like SKELETONWITCH and EYEHATEGOD. The crazy, colourful style of Skinner and dark, honest style of Rotting Graphics was combined to bring us a design that will have you staring, sober or not. As far as the album art and first track goes, Stoner Justice is already an impressive look into the lives of the stoned and violent.

CONNOISSEUR have been busy. Since recording Stoner Justice they’ve been playing shows around the US and are scheduled to take on even more of it during a 3 month summer tour. Taking album fillers to a new level, Stoner Justice features 5 tracks that are under 1 minute long, 25-55 seconds of unapologetic ear blasting that leave you craving the next full length track. The record takes a darker, danker turn with Full Blown Marijuana Addict, a drony anthem that will have you mindlessly swaying your night away.

At some points during the record, the vocals of Carlos seem to lag behind the music, almost as if he’s toking in between takes. I Am the Weed, at one minute and forty seconds long, is one long breakdown, and again, will have you floating above your own body in a stoned and violent trance. By the seventh track, (Destroy the) Smoke Machines, a song infused with black metal, you’re left hoping there’s another faster paced anthem like Circle of Heads left to play, and although the pace picks up somewhat after (Destroy the) smoke machines, the opening track is misleading and not what you should expect from the record.

Towards the end of Stoner Justice you get New Amsterdam which is a moody, drugged out track that will leave you with a happy headache as if you’ve just spent the weekend in the cannabis smoker friendly Dutch capital. The vocal styles throughout the album are intriguing as Carlos seems to bring different influences to each track, from sounding like he’d be better suited in a black metal band to screaming that is reminiscent of the vocals of Tom Araya of SLAYER. To some this may be annoying as it’s inconsistent but each style blends effortlessly into the music and shows a range of talent that keeps you interested.

The album closes with Ashes, a 7 minute long instrumental track that pretty much sums up the entire record. It’s loud, it’s in your face, it sometimes makes you feel like you’re having a bad trip, but it could keep playing throughout the day and you’d be happy. Stoner Justice will draw you in like the first bong hit after a long day and exhale you into the smoky, moody world of CONNOISSEUR where you’ll want to stay on the sofa eating crisps and pizza all day with the album on repeat. If you find yourself in the US this summer, check out CONNOISSEUR on Facebook for tour dates.

Rating : 8/10

CONNStoner Justice is set for release on June 9th 2015 via Tankcrimes