Idol and the Whip - Heavy Sleeper (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Idol and the Whip

Heavy Sleeper (2011)


Crushing heavy metal! In both sound and album title, Idol and the Whip pledge their allegiance to the mighty stoner riff on Heavy Sleeper. But, while many stoner metal bands get lost in their influences, Idol and the Whip know what to take from whom, and how to oust their own music forward out of the shadows of Iommi and Pike.

Kicking off with "Future Eyes", the band makes no apologies for liking what they like. As the crushing, muscular riffs charge forward, supported by galloping drums and a thick bass, they sound reminiscent of Black Sabbath's faster works, as well as modern stoner metal trio High on Fire. But, the band doesn't stop at mere tribute. Although they use the Sabbath toolkit of swinging hooks interjected with soft acoustic segments at seemingly random points, they also make it clear as to how much they understand the genre's underlying philosophy. While stoner metal bands can get caught up in the concept of the power riff and forget a song's musicality, Heavy Sleeper features remarkable songcraft that keeps the songs energetic, but distinct and interesting.

Even more impressive, the band deftly creates a balance between aggression and soul. Although the songs charge ahead, rarely breaking for air, the underlying melody carries the band's force, giving more oomph to their punch. Additionally, the vocals carry this attribute, being just growly enough to keep the music rough, but not so much that it becomes monochromatic.

Idol and the Whip don't necessarily break new ground so much as master the current fields. In stoner metal, which has as many pitfalls as it does (holy) mountains, that is a feat in and of itself. Once the group develops that one thing that really makes them unique, and supplements it with what they've already perfected, they might just become the next legends in the pantheon of the bong.

Plus, the album is free on their website, so you might as well at least check it out...