With a name as ridiculous as Cojones, then you better have the music to transcend it.

Compared to other recent face palmers like Boners Inc and Chinese, Cojones does indeed deliver. Hell, in some weird alternate universe where a name like Cojones is considered the norm, Cojones would still leave an impression. Like fellow Croats in Stonebride, this four-piece takes a traditional stoner rock template and metals it up, but not to the point where it thuds instead of grooves. Opening number “Clearing Potion,” with its direct Kyuss lineage, is as good an example as any. The riffs are as desert rock as they get, but there’s still a brawny heft in the delivery. That seems to be the norm for the current crop of European stoner rock, but the difference between Cojones and their peers is that these guys don’t have an eye on the arenas. There are hooks, but they aren’t the obvious ones and they’re never delivered with big flourishes. Another plus for them is a singer who can sing – none of that throat-full-of-glass bellowing here (although that’s not to say that guitarist/vocalist Bojan Kocijan is incapable of letting loose a roar or two, as is the case on “Dreamlounge,” which at times reminded me of psychedelic sludge cretins Ichabod).

There aren’t any musical surprises to Sunrise – stoner rock is as stoner rock does – but it’s still well executed and is about a good debut as they come. Hell, I’d go so far as to say it’s a ballsy release. For the traditionalists, this one comes recommended.