The Linus Pauling Quartet – “Bag Of Hammers” (Homeskool Records 2012)

Bag Of Hammers is the first full length Linus Pauling Quartet album since 2007’s All Things Are Light and picks up where that album left off, being a 41 minute ultra-heavy blast of stoned psychedelic metal and rock ‘n roll. In fact, this is one of the most STONED albums I’ve heard all year, and while I’ll bet most reviewers will call it Stoner Rock, I hesitate to tag the music as such. I love psychedelically inclined Stoner Rock but have been frustrated by how generic it’s become. I mean, all the bands seem to sound the same for chrissakes. Not LP4. Despite the Quartet of their name, there are five members, three of which are guitarists, and the entire set is a rocking guitar assault with mega-riffage, lots of jam bits and solos. Bag Of Hammers is a heavy ROCK album that brings together 70s styled hard rock, Metal and good old rock ‘n roll, and gives it all a solid Psychedelic infusion. No need to do my usual analysis of individual tracks, except I’ll say that the nearly 9 minute stoned, spaced out, Hendrix-like Stonebringer is my favorite of the set, and Victory Gin has a psychy 60s rock ‘n roll vibe while still sticking to the heavy stoned theme of the album.

All the tracks, though including lots of jamming, are structured songs, and the band have really got it together throughout. That said, I do miss the more freeform improvisational side of LP4. But that’s a just a wishlist for the future. Bag Of Hammers will easily make my best of 2012 list.

In summary, note the cover art… a Red Sonja figure with a hammer twice her size standing on a skull strewn hill. Listen to this album and YOU will be one of those skulls.

For more information you can visit the The Linus Pauling Quartet web site at:

Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz

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