There are certain things that one usually expects from stoner rock: fuzzy guitars, some type of interest in the occult, and a Black Sabbath fixation. All of the above are ingredients of this self-titled disc by Sir Hedgehog, a Vancouver, Canada-based outfit that is very '70s-minded but without being totally retro. Without question, this stoner combo has been heavily influenced by the classic metal and hard rock of the '70s -- not only Ozzy Osbourne-era Sabbath, but also Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Rush, and Uriah Heep. Nonetheless, Sir Hedgehog's CD isn't an exact replica of '70s metal; the band has enough of a grunge influence to appeal to the alternative metal scene of the 1990s and 2000s and avoid sounding dated. There are times when the Canadians make some mildly Soundgarden-ish moves, and they even bring to mind Jane's Addiction on parts of "The Cleavage and the Clamp" (which makes sense when you consider that Jane's Addiction and Sir Hedgehog share an enthusiasm for Led Zeppelin's legacy). One thing that this band will never be accused of is lacking a sense of melody; for all its intensity and forcefulness, Sir Hedgehog is consistently melodic -- not to mention intricate. Although original material dominates this CD, the band throws in a most unlikely medley of covers at the end -- one that isn't listed in the credits. The instrumental "Olympus Mons" is followed by a hidden track that unites Blondie's "Call Me" with Sabbath's "Children of the Grave" -- not exactly the most obvious combination, but the songs work surprisingly well together. One of the more memorable stoner efforts of the early '00s, Sir Hedgehog's CD is easily recommended to fans of this type of metal. ~ Alex Henderson, Rovi

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