Limited edition on black vinyl. Deluxe gatefold sleeve.
Sometimes seasons make the music, and then, if the band is that rad, that good, the music makes the season. North Carolina’s ASG have warm weather in their back pockets. They pull out batches of sun-spotted riffs, and they throw them in the air for the zephyrs to claim. No doubt settled within some Stoner Rock climate, ASG (All Systems Go) and their fifth full-length album, “Blood Drive,” seem content no matter where you place them. It’s a sandy sound with big Doomy chords and Grunged-out feelings where things get heavy quickly, and then, on a dime, cool down with Modern Rock grins and waves of bluesy, hazy psychedelia. The balance, basically, is metered out flawlessly, ensuring a well-rounded listening experience for fans who seek losing themselves along winding coasts or amid the sprawling tracts where lone cacti raise their spines.
Having a blast like Torche and kicking ass like Orange Goblin, ASG’s “Blood Drive” is a Rock ‘n’ Roll joyride helmed by vocalist/guitarist Jason Shi, whose singing, which may prove to be the album’s most contentious and beloved quality, bears shades of 90s Rock and Grunge acts like Hum and Jimi's chicken Shack. Shi’s voice is clear, unique, and refreshingly alive, hurling lyrics that are both revealing and painfully spot-on. Backed by Matt Hyde’s production, “Blood Drive” sounds amazing. The guitars are mean, friendly, and everywhere. The rhythm section is dense, on point, hard enough to breaks back over, transitioning easily into full-on Metal assaults (“Castlestorm”) when the moment demands.
Yet as heavy as the band is, and as the production conveys, “Blood Drive” exists as an album that is unbearably patient, quiet at times, eager to tell its story to listeners who listen and listen well. Songs are mellow, perhaps even soothing, and it’s this mixture of thick tones, bluesy Rock, and weighty reflection, of emotions too palpable to be ignored, that carry the album aloft, the way a good Doom album will, but in a way that’s always more about the shine than the gloom. ASG have struck gold with “Blood Drive.” It’s a stoned-out cruiser of an album, and unlike what Shi sings on “Day’s Work,” there’s plenty around here to hold your attention. Seriously cool stuff.