Nogg - EP

Nogg started out in upstate New York in 2004 under the name "Gonzo", after developing their style and sound they changed their name to Eggnogg where they released a highly acclaimed album but still remained under appreciated. Another name change, this time shortening their name to "Nogg" and a new free to download 6 track EP, i have a feeling success in the underground is just around the corner. They are also working on a full length album due for release by the end of 2010 so the future is looking productive and equally exciting. With its roots in the classic sounds of Stoner and Doom from the peak of the Maryland Doom Rock era, Nogg is now expanding that sound to even more dynamic intensity with the new EP. The EP is available for download in high quality, Mp3 and as a torrent, my advice is take the high quality version as this deserves to be played loud with the full range of sound dynamics.

The EP kicks off with a catchy dose of riff-rock in the form of "Goya", infectious riffing doesn't get much better than this and the casual laid back vocal approach of guitarist Bill O'Sullivan adds to the overall smooth groove of the tune. The song is clear but chunky with a solid backbone, but at only 2 minutes its painfully short though. Any chance of doing a extended version of this guys? Second track "The Plant" begins with a churning riff of Doom in the old-school style but what really makes the track is the melodic, spacey vocal lines that caress and float over the top of the riff-lines. A wailing solo comes in with a twisting, turning riff change and when it all comes to the earth-shattering grinding halt, you are left with a concise slab of cosmic energy. "Drone" is what the title suggests, Drone Metal with fuzz-drenched guitar sounds that buzz and squeal for a bit over 3 minutes, its good for what it is but i would have preferred the more groove based approach especially after the two killer opening riff-rocking tunes. "Hive" brings the grooves back with a punishing riff and a more aggressive vocal technique this time around. Its a slow, plodding piece for the first half but in the second half it transforms into a mid-tempo burner with a infectious rhythm before returning home again with the opening riff.

"A Stranger On The Moon" is the real surprise on the EP, its a spacey, mellow dramatic musical exploration with clean guitars, melodic bass runs and a bluesy, melodic vocal take. Its a drifting, cosmic psychedelic trip they take you on and provides yet another side to Nogg you don't really expect. If anything this band is diverse in their approach and not content with merely churning out formulaic songwriting. Keep in mind you are 5 tracks in now and every song has been different. The final track "Counter Clockwork" is a swirling, grooving way to finish the EP, the start-stop crunching guitar work is complimented by another earthly vocal performance and the solid bass / drum work of Justin Karol and Ryan Quinn is flawless. The band has not only become more refined with their name change but also musically they seem to have gained some ground in terms of songwriting. More infectious than previous recordings, this EP will surprise many who were expecting them to simply follow the regular Stoner / Doom blueprint. Its more mature, more defined but also more eccentric with the diversity shown in these 6 tracks.

This EP leaves me scratching my head wondering what the hell is their full length album going to sound like with so many different elements making up the one band. If this EP is anything to go by, it will be at worst interesting and at best, simply monumental. Nogg are one of the new breed of riff rockers who have the potential to fill the void left by bands (not mentioning any names)that are no longer supplying the music world with killer riffs or infectious hooks. The retro / riff rock / stoner rock genre has been on a nose dive of terminal velocity of late but Nogg may be one of the bands to bring it back up again.

1. Goya
2. The Plant
3. Drone
4. Hive
5. A Stranger On The Moon
6. Counter Clockwork

Self released
Reviewer: Ed
Jun 24, 2010

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