Cortez. Conqueror. Killer. Oppressor. Madman. The great god Quetzalcoatl returned as a blood-mad Spaniard. And now, head-cracking rock n' roll band. Take a listen, and it'll all make sense.
Formed in 2006 from the ashes of several of Boston's stoner rock and punk n' roll institutions, including Fast Actin' Fuses and Sin City Chainsaw, Cortez has taken everything good from their old bands and made them bigger, louder, and heavier than ever before. Borrowing their name (but precious little else) from Neil Young's classic and controversial song “Cortez the Killer,” the band has been electrifying local stages with a pulverising live show and an arsenal of instant-classics like "The Highlife," "Stone the Bastards," and "Floodwater Rising" that mix classic 70's hard rock with rumbling, doomy stoner-metal. With influences ranging from the proto-metal fuzz of Cactus and Deep Purple to sludge-masters the Melvins and speed-weed monsters High on Fire, this is a band that's done its homework, and its sound stretches back through the decades, a timeless throb of heavy metal thunder and endless, rolling grooves.
Regional success is one thing, but a band like Cortez can't be contained by the borders of Route 495. Cortez has recently signed with Belgian dope-rock label Buzzville, home to like-minded midnight ramblers like Artimus Pyledriver, Gonzalez, and Generous Maria. A new album titled Thunder In A Forgotten Town, produced by Marc Schleicher, head party-wrecker in the infamous Coke Dealer cartel, is due to land sometime this year. A six-track orgy of southern-fried riff n' roll, heavy on the acid-for-blood wah-wah and the thundertrain rhythm section propelling the whole bruising chain into the arena-burning stratosphere. For a band that's only been around for a year, they sound like they've already crashed their first private jet. This is thick, gristly rock music that sticks to your guts and leaves you clamoring for the next mind-frying riff, the next chest-thumping chorus, the next bout of shameless, heads-down superchug. Cortez is the real deal, brother. No wonder the estimable Arzgarth at Stonerrock.com wrote, "Cortez is rapidly becoming a killer band in Boston . If there’s such a thing as classic stoner rock, these guys are doing it." Said album was recorded in December of 2006 at New Alliance Studios, the same house of horrors that spawned seminal releases from blister-rock champs like Roadsaw, Cracktorch, Scissorfight, Throttlerod, and countless others. Soon then, the world.
So, what does Cortez want? The usual rock n' roll bullshit. Frothy crowds, brisk CD sales, six figure download numbers. Women, leather, and Hell. Mud n' blood. Power and Glory. And someday, they hope to tour with ZZ Top. Or at least play at a bar that has ZZ Top on the jukebox.
Osna-Metal Rating: 4/5
Metal.de Rating: 9/10
Helldriver Magazine Rating: 6/7
Peacedogman.com Rating: 4/5
Daredevilrecords.de Rating 9/10
Mindview.be Rating: 5/7
MetalGlory.de Rating 7.5/10
Stoner rock! Cortez’ new release, Thunder in a Forgotten Town, is full of the heaviest, deepest, grungiest guitar sound with balls that you’ll ever hear this side of New England. Having a distinctly Kyuss-like approach to songwriting, with bulky, repetitive riffs and monotone vocals that take on a near screaming but overall harmonious tone in nature. Labeled as a self-described sound being “Heavy, loud and lumbering,” Cortez takes stoner rock to a new level of rock.
Perhaps “heavy” doesn’t describe the guitars of Cortez. Perhaps “a gigantic cave of underground distortion,” or “mind-blowing weight and power” and “bone-crushing bass” will help paint the picture. The tone is so ballsy, but in a laid-back, groovy kind of way. Cortez takes their time while rocking, keeping the heavy rhythm and bass going for most of the song, letting the lead put fills in every now and then, soloing only when appropriate and keeping the fans headbanging the whole time. There’s a definite ease behind the powerful chords; a deep grace that goes along with the ribcage-imploding distortion. Most of the songs clock in at five minutes with their longest track, “Floodwater Rising” extending to 9:36. Although the six-track EP is under 35 minutes, it’s 35 minutes of pure, solid rock. For undisputed heavy, absurdly impressive stoner riffs, check out Cortez.
-Sean Mahan, PerformerMag.com
Cortez is a stoner rock ‘n' roll band, and if that doesn't sound appealing to you, you probably shave your balls and your face on a regular basis. This is made for MEN! Men who
like to live hard and dirty. Men who party with amounts of beer that would make you automatically apply for the AA. F*** that, let's do some Thunder In A Forgotten Town.
The riffs Cortez play are heavy, fuzzy and rocking like thunder indeed. The volume that blows out of my speakers immediately creates a big grin on my face. At times like these I wish I had a beard the size of all ZZ Top's beards combined. That'd be awesome! This sounds like drinking, headbanging, bong-hitting and dismantling bars man!
The more I play this album, the more I like it to be honest. If I play it now, for the first twenty seconds it sounds like I just popped in another awesome Southern Lord release. So nothing wrong with the production you can safely conclude. For now I can advise this to any fan of stuff like Alabama Thunderpussy and other stoner rock ‘n' roll music. Smoke ‘n' drink!!!
-DemonDust - metalrage.com
Sin City Chainsaw's self titled album just wasn't that good. As a live band, they might've been better, but the disc alone never really inspired a need to verify that. Fellow Bostonians Fast Actin' Fuses never really got around to recording anything but they were always a good time live. And Portland, Maine's Supersoul Challenger struggled to translate their manic, balls-out energy in the studio, ultimately calling it a day rather than giving it yet another go.
Cortez, which features three-quarters of Sin City Chainsaw (singer, bassist, drummer) and a guitarist each from the Fuses and Supersoul, manages to take all that unrealized
potential and make something pretty damn killer. Turns out that what was missing from all three was a musical overhaul. Their Thunder in a Forgotten Town EP eschews not only the radio friendly gloss of Sin City Chainsaw, but also the unfiltered boogie punk/rock of the latter two. Instead, they offer up a simple six-course meal of no bullshit, thick-as-a-brick heavy rock that's inspired by the usual '70's suspects (Deep Purple, Sabbath), a couple of left fielders (Cactus, Neil Young), and fits squarely in the “stoner” sub-category.
The definition of said genre stretches far and wide these days, but Cortez manages to tie it all together and claim it as their own. Put it this way - “Lost Control” has
the menacing, rumbling heft of Orange Goblin whereas the anthemic “Stone the Bastards” brings to mind fellow label mates Generous Maria, and yet in the context of Thunder in
a Forgotten Town, it still sounds like five dudes from New England who're banging out some honest heavy. Honestly good too. Start with the massive “The High Life” and work your way through the rest of the EP. They're another reason to feel proud of the local music scene.
-John Pegoraro - Stonerrock.com
Cortez is a new band with former members of Fast Actin' Fuses, Sin City Chainsaw and Supersoul Challenger and make pure riffrock inline with bands like Mos Generator,
Spiritu , COC and Sunnshine.
Somewhere in Boston, five friends have laid down six mammoth tracks of fuzz rock action with a lot of smoking stoner grooves on a metallic plate. I was immediately struck by the power vocals, Curtis sound a bit like Dan Kerzwick (Sixty Watt Shaman) and Neil Fallon (Clutch). The music on Thunder In A Forgotten Town flows real well from song to song and has the right amount of groove that retains your attention til the last minute. This kind of stoner rock has been done so many times that you can't expect much in terms of originality, but the CD feels all too short for thirty minutes and leaves you wanting more, so I look forward to the bands' next output.
-Cosmicmasseur - Concreteweb
With “Thunder In A Forgotten Town” the Bostonians that make up Cortez deliver a solid stoner album. There’s nothing on here that you haven’t heard before from bands like Kyuss,
Fu Manchu or even High On Fire, but they’re doing a pretty decent job of cranking up the guitars and churning out some doomy riffs along with more solo action than any single man
with access to internet porn will see. Add a singer who more than knows how to handle himself to the equation and you’re looking at another fun release on the best – if not
only – Belgian stoner label, Buzzville Records.
Score: 7.5 out of 10