As Wo Fat unleashes Midnight Cometh, their fifth full-length album, I have a working thesis about their place in the metal world: Wo Fat is the AC/DC of stoner rock. Now before you react (positively or negatively), just go with me on this for a minute.
- AC/DC’s songs are riffs upon riffs? Check.
- Wo Fat’s songs are riffs upon riffs? Check.
- AC/DC has grooves that you could drive a car into? Check.
- Wo Fat has grooves that you could drive a car into? Check.
- AC/DC songs are instantly recognizable as theirs? Check.
- Wo Fat songs are instantly recognizable as theirs? Check.
- All AC/DC songs are kind of the same? Check.
- All Wo Fat songs are kind of the same? Check.
See what I mean? Now I know. This totally sounds like I’m dissing both bands, right? Nope, not at all. Here’s the thing. There are days when the only thing that scratches a certain itch is AC/DC. You start playing “Thunderstruck” and I’m ready to run through brick walls like a maniac possessed by the ghost of the Kool-Aid Man (note to self: pitch this idea to Paul Feig as the sequel to Ghostbusters).
And that’s exactly how I feel about Wo Fat. I’m actually a huge fan of their music. I started getting into them three or four years ago, beginning with 2012’s The Black Code. Their particular brand of sludgy, downtuned guitars, bass-heavy vibes and amp worship beckoned to me as if from the great beyond. You can practically smell the smoke rising up from the depths as they summon forth the dark, unholy Riff-pacabra that haunts their tunes. It is a glorious and swampy embrace that we, as listeners, get to enjoy.
Here’s the only “problem”…and it’s a problem that a lot of bands would probably love to have: going all the way back to their debut album, “The Gathering Dark,” Wo Fat arose from the antediluvian mists with their signature sound locked in. Some groups have to work towards it, hone it from record to record until they hit on something that is uniquely and distinctly theirs. Not Wo Fat. They were birthed fully formed. And as a result, “Midnight Cometh” is both a blessing and a curse. If you weren’t a fan of their previous releases, chances are good you won’t dig on this, assuming your tastes haven’t changed.
If, however, you’re picking up what they’re putting down, you absolutely need to listen posthaste. It’s just solid from front to back, a real rager that never lets up until the final chord rings out into the oblivion. If you can listen to this without banging your head the entire time, chances are good you hate all things beautiful and right with this world. Don’t be that. Pick this up and just head out west on Route 66 on a 50-minute drive to nowhere.
– Jeremy Hunt