Album Review: Ruff Majik – Tarn 9 (Stoner Doom)

Written by Carcassbomb

  • Ruff Majik
  • Tarn
  • Stoner Doom
  • South Africa
  • 2019
  • 9/10

Bandcamp

South African garage doom? fuck yeah. Ruff Majik embody the stoner sound with such reverie and mastery. I’ve described it a million times now, we all know what stoner doom sounds like. Sometimes it’s slow and bassy, then sometimes it’s fast and bassy. Sometimes it’s average, and every now and then something awesome like this comes along.

Artwork by Annie Buchner

These vocals are clean and damn good, comparable to Alice In Chains and other grunge bands. Sometimes he’ll speed it up with a classic heavy metal approach. The garage sound is very present in the mixing where the gain sounds too high and it’s clearly a guy banging away at drums live in the corner of the room. I love the raw of vibe of it and it helps the record sound esoteric and culty. The vocalists’ accent probably contributes to that as well. It all comes together so well that it washes over you with the warmth of ripped cone.

There’s a presence of theme on this record with some pretty dark lyrics and super dark album art. The art was done by Annie Buchner and suits the record well considering “Tarn” means “Tower” and they based this art off of the tarot card. I’m also seeing imagery alludes to the infamous imagery of the 9/11 falling man and other ill omens. This is the sort of doom art I’m looking for, so classic but with a modern sharpness. It was the entire reason I listened to this album. It paid off.

Could definitely be one of the top runners for doom band of the year for me. I thoroughly enjoy their style and ability avoid the boring trappings of the genre by loosening the rules and jazzing things up when they need to. Even when I was worried I MIGHT get bored, I always ended up completely forgetting that and enjoying the direction they took. I think the darkly personal nature of the music makes it more emotionally engaging, like they’re very present and into what they are doing.

The band is now based in Germany, so it will be interesting to see what comes next and how the relocation affects the sound.

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