The Stoner Rock and Doom Metal genres are filled with their own heroes. Kyuss, Sleep, Electric Wizard—the list goes on and on.
Occasionally, you’ll stumble across a band paying homage to all of them at once, developing an intoxicating brew of heavy riffs packed with microdoses of legendary songs.
Enter Low Orbit, a Canadian band that understands the scene. Equal parts Kyuss, Lowrider, The Sword, and Black Sabbath, the Low Orbit trio delivers pulsing Stoner Rock grooves packed with Psychedelic Doom overtones, offering an album that’s as perfect for ripping over the desert dunes as it is passing by lonely planets.
Their latest effort, Crater Creator, was received well enough to land itself at the top of the November 2021 Doom Charts—so we had to give it a whirl.
About Low Orbit
Low Orbit is a three-piece based in Toronto, Canada. The members are:
- Angelo Catenaro – Guitars, Vocals
- Joe Grgic – Bass, Synth
- Emilio Mammone – Drums
Crater Creator is the band’s third release, making it a follow-up to Spacecake (2017) and Low Orbit (2014).
Crater Creator Album Review
Release Date: November 18, 2021
Label: Pink Tank Records
Track One – Crater Creator
As an opener, “Crater Creator” quickly establishes what’s in store for the album: a slow, deliberate, palm-muted power chord fury mixed with heavy grooves paired with an intoxicating fuzz and Caternaro’s commanding vocals nearly shouted down from a throne. But what’s most impressive on “Crater Creator” (and the entire album, for that matter), is the incredible tone Caternaro achieves on his six-string. Between this roaring guitar, the churning riffs, and towering vocals, “Crater Creator” marches forward, carrying us to the second track.
Track Two – Tardis
“Tardis” opens on a famous quote and sound bite from astronomer Carl Sagan (which we approximate here):
“If the general picture of an expanding universe and a Big Bang is correct, we must then confront still more difficult questions. What were conditions like at the time of the Big Bang? What happened before that? Was there a tiny universe, devoid of all matter, and then the matter suddenly created from nothing? How does that happen? In many cultures, it is customary to answer that God created the universe out of nothing. But if we wish courageously to pursue the question, we must ask where God comes from.”Carl Sagan
With this quote and a reference to Dr. Who in its title, “Tardis” rips into beautifully distorted lo-fi riffs, similar to the heavy rockers in Birds of Nazca. Here, we find intricate attention to detail from Emilio Mammone on the drums, and we also hear a shimmering Space Rock conclusion adding additional depth to the track.
Track Three – “Sea of Sea”
In “Sea of Sea,” Crater Creator seems to finally find its momentum. Featuring the album’s characteristic fuzzy, growling attack in the guitars, “Sea of Sea” is one of the longest—and heaviest—tracks on the Crater Creator.
Track Four – Empty Space
“Empty Space” opens like a classic Lowrider track, with its intro cloaked in heavy fuzz. Eventually, “Empty Space” captures its own time and space, offering a huge Psychedelic solo over a Space Rock-inspired conclusion.
Track Five – Monocle
As heavy as “Monocle” is, it’s also fun. With a dash of cowbell and a cool Space Rock-inspired riff, “Monocle” is a genuinely upbeat song that occasionally calls to mind The Sword and albums like Warp Riders or High Country.
Track Six – Wormhole
“Wormhole” returns our listening experience Crater Creator’s comfort zone: heavy and fuzzy palm-muted riffs precisely designed to rattle the earth. At only 4:06, it’s the quickest song on the album, and the band does move slightly quicker on this performance, splicing moments of Helmet-inspired riffs with a guitar solo again similar to Lowrider’s most trance-inducing moments.
Track Seven – Timelord
Like “Empty Space,” “Timelord” opens on a massive wave of fuzz, finally settling on a riff that sounds like later Kyuss. This is, perhaps, the heaviest track on the album, and it’s a powerful way to conclude Crater Creator.
Final Score: 7/10
Standout Tracks: “Sea of Sea” and “Monocle”
Pros: The Low Orbit trio respectfully honors some of the finest bands in the Stoner Rock/Stoner Metal scene, while simultaneously adding dashes of Doom and Psychedelic Space Rock into songs like “Crater Creator” and “Tardis” to give the entire album its own dimension.
We should also commend Low Orbit for the album’s length—any longer, and Crater Creator would have begun feeling like a chore. Instead, Low Orbit concludes the album before the sound they’ve established can become exhaustive.
Ultimately, Crater Creator slams you into the co-pilot seat of space ship weaving through an asteroid field. Every heart-pounding riff is another round of space debris slamming into your craft—threatening to annihilate you.
Cons: For all of the influences acting upon it, Crater Creator is somewhat repetitive in its approach, which keeps this album steeped in that traditional Stoner Rock/Doom wheelhouse with a dash of Helmet mixed in—but that extra bit of influence isn’t enough of a totally unique defining quality to completely separate Crater Creator from the pack.
Bottom line: Crater Creator is an incredible first listen, but it may lack the surprises necessary to have true staying power in your routine album rotation. That said, I’m excited by the band’s progress on this album, and I’m looking forward to an eventual follow-up.