Top 5: Acid Tiger

Acid Tiger
Street: 04.27

What initially strikes me about Acid Tiger is the unity it exudes between different forces in the world of underground rock music. From recent personal experience, stoner metal/sludge/doom seems to have exploded in Salt Lake, where local acts such as Oldtimer, Dwellers and Laughter have made names for themselves and garnered attention to these sub-genres by playing with touring acts like Black Tusk and Weedeater. Since Acid Tiger self-proclaims that they play a “progressive rock/punk hybrid” on their Myspace, but sound akin to stoner metal, they linguistically interrupt a current (and unfortunate) punk criteria, which enables them to act as a sort of cultural black hole where all that has or ever been is free game to be mauled by the tiger. No one SLUG equation suffices to pin down what Acid Tiger’s music is like. The intro to the opening track, “The Claw,” spurs our sonic dissociation from rock conventions—the tom drumming and Adam Wentworth’s rolling bass line juxtapose with an unearthly guitar theme with mild amplification effects. I can’t get over the dynamics of  “Big Beat”: What starts out as a sludgy, power chord-ridden rock song picks up into Motörhead-esque punk—complete with Lukas Previn’s guitar shredding and an otherworldly drum solo by drummer Ben Koller (Converge). “Death Wave” takes us on a vicious journey through many facets of what rock music can be—vocalist J. Rattlesnake puts it perfectly: “Forests burning, ice caps melting, oceans boiling …” Though the song deals with environmental issues, the destructive imagery also correlates with Acid Tiger’s bulldozing through the annals of rock and collecting the shards to construct themselves qua beast. This epic piece positions listeners to submissively take a claw-paw to the face—“Feel It” melds rock n’ roll guitar with screamo-like vocals, then drags all in its path down to be slowly devoured, feeling every fang rip through, as the lowered tempo induces acidic pleasure. Thus, the souls of rock’s past board the boat to “Set Sail,” where the Jimmy Page-influenced intro lures them to float into the escape of death, only to be thrown overboard into tiger shark-ridden waters, to be mauled again, and again. —Alexander Ortega