For a man whose musical inspiration supposedly emanates from monumental marijuana consumption, former Buzzov*en demi-legend "Dixie" Dave Collins certainly kept himself busy round the turn of the new millennium, simultaneously lending his services to Wisconsin heshers Bongzilla and leading his new prime creative vehicle, Weedeater, featuring guitarist Dave Shepherd and drummer Keith Kirkum. The Wilmington, NC trio's second brick of so-called "weed metal" (their own pet name) appeared in 2003, and there really couldn't be a better, more perfectly descriptive title than Sixteen Tons for the acidic brand of stoner/doom/sludge found within -- except for "weed metal," of course.
Anyway, there's nothing revolutionary or even terribly unique about Weedeater's vision that might suggest secession from the Sludge Union; at least as far as crawling steamrollers such as "Bull," "Buzz," and the aptly named "Riff" are concerned, or even semi-energized head-nodding grooves like "Pot Belly," "Time Served," and "Lines," for that matter. But Weedeater actually break out of character with a pair of acoustic-based songs (the still amazingly dour "Woe's Me" and the instrumental bass workout "Kira May"), while on the particularly malevolent-sounding "Dummy," Collins' earth-crumbling bass and glottal croaking combine with such visceral power as to make his distinctive contributions to the style undeniable. And on the topical "No. 3," the band members pay tribute to recently deceased NASCAR giant and Southern icon Dale Earnhardt the only way they know how: using news report sound bytes where more poignant lyrics clearly failed them, and it still works. All in all, Sixteen Tonswas a fine sophomore effort and appeared to promise better things were soon to come, until Weedeater succumbed to an unnecessarily long five-year layoff between albums, severely stunting the propagation of their trademarked "weed metal."