Wisconsin's hardcore-weed-worshippers BONGZILLA have released their second full-length album on Relapse Records (there was also a MCD) and for me personal it's their most promising release. In the past, I haven't paid much attention to this band, because it seems to me that this guys spend more time in smoking weed and dope, instead of creating an original and remarkable sound. I don't know, if one of the reasons is the change in the line-up because the new bass-player Cooter Brown was also part of the band on the "Apogee" 12"-EP and I must admit that I haven't had the chance to listen to it. Ok, who cares so let's go back to "Gateway" that includes eight smooth and crawling tracks, but there are also a few mid-tempo numbers as the opener "Greenthumb" or "Keefmaster" and every track is introduced by a sample.

Although Muleboy's vocals are harsh and far away from being melodic I wouldn't describe BONGZILLA's sound as Sludge, because it's a bit to friendly, although they are definitly influenced by this kind of music. Their sound is more Blues than Metal, more Doom Rock than "stoner" and there are enough hooklines in the songs, so that you won't forget the album after putting it out of your player. While listening to "Gateway" I have always Electric Wizard on my mind, but the overall sound of the British doomsters is much darker and more psychotic than BONGZILLA. Another band that comes very close to them are Sleep, and one of the reasons is the use of the same kind of equipment (Green/Matamp amplification). "Gateway" is a very entertaining album but not essential, so I give you the advice to decide for yourself. And, although BONGZILLA are authentic weed-addicts, I sometimes get a bit bored of their image and I wonder if they will stretch it over the next albums, if there will be more albums in the future. But the Malleus is cover is really nice! For more infos, check out the band's homepage.