Listening to San Francisco-based Disastroid requires a level of caution generally reserved for an encounter with the devil. The sludge-rock trio conjures wicked melodies and produces walls of fuzz that exude a sinister, magisterial quality: Its music is loud and sadistically seductive.
In the song "Karoshi," singer and guitarist Enver Koneya's voice transitions from a haunting Layne Staley soundalike to a throaty wail reminiscent of Melvins' frontman Buzz Osborne. Bassist Travis Williams jams both a distorted Ampeg 6x10 bass rig and a guitar amp to build a tone so thick you can chew on it. The band's booming guitar work is heavy and technical like the Melvins, with downtuned palm-muted riffs, but in other places, like the song "Low," its psychedelic melodies evoke bands like Queens of the Stone Age.
Koneya attributes this sound to the band members' love of horror and sci-fi -- and of course rock 'n' roll. Disastroid often gets tagged as "stoner rock," yet Koneya says the band members aren't the party types and don't attempt to fit into any particular scene when they write their music. "We're too old to party," Koneya, 39, jokes laughing. "We just have to play as hard as we can. As we progress we don't try to make a particular sound; it's more about what comes naturally."
Disastroid plays with a tight and rehearsed sound, but the band's maturity was a bit of long time coming. Koneya moved to San Francisco nearly seven years ago and started the project immediately. But it wasn't until a few years later that Disastroid "reincarnated," Koneya says, and Williams joined on bass, and McGraw on drums.
"We met through Craigslist," Koneya says, laughing. Koneya explains that drummer McGraw had tried out for the band years before, but there was a conflict when McGraw had to relocate. "Then I hit him up again, on a Craigslist thing later," Koneya says, still surprised by the chance of how they reunited. McGraw spent a few years filling in off-and-on, and now is an official member of the band.
The trio has been together for the past four years. They've recorded a handful of albums and EP's and just finished tracking an upcoming full-length due out in June. "We haven't really shopped ourselves. Now we are in a spot where we are thinking of doing that," Koneya says.
Disastroid has toured up and down the coast, but Koneya says it's up for the challenge of doing bigger things. The band has gotten a taste of the limelight playing with Mondo Generator at the legendary Viper Room, and other shows with Helmet and bands of the like. But the main goal of Disastroid, really, is just to play rock music.
"For me, it's just necessary for me to play. Not only playing live; I just love rehearsing," Koneya says. "That's what makes me happy."
Disastroid performs with Fu Manchu, Electric Citizen, and DJ Rob Metal at Bottom of the Hill on Wednesday, April 30, at 9 p.m. $12; 21+