CD Review: ASG – Blood Drive

The riffs on Blood Drive are mean and trudging, but the vocals rarely reflect any malice.


Review by David Feltman

Despite being based out of Wilmington, NC, ASG captures the arid desert rock of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age and blends it with the light pastoral touches of Baroness. But the band still gives the whole sound a distinct southern feel. There’s no denying lead vocalist Jason Shi’s twang when he sings “Dead flowers on the wall, vultures in the den, got a long list of foes and a shorter list of friends,” on the title track of the band’s fifth studio album.

The riffs on Blood Drive are mean and trudging, but Shi’s vocals rarely reflect any malice. Even on tracks like “Castlestorm” where he is at his shoutiest, Shi’s voice is full of southern loss and loneliness. The lyrics are often compelling and prosaic and Shi channels Perry Farrell in tone, but occasionally surprises with an Iggy Pop like tenor on “Blues for Bama” and “Good Enough to Eat.”

Shi might be the star, but he’s not the only attraction. The rhythms of bassist Andy Ellis and drummer Scott Key manage to stay lively and jangling in the sludgiest of moments. The album creates a perpetual head bob and maintains enough heaviness for metal fans while keeping the songs catchy enough for radio play. ASG has enjoyed a strong cult following for over a decade, but Blood Drive reveals a band ready for some national level recognition.

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