Sunday, 28 August 2016

MINDKULT ~ WITCH'S OATH. ..... review

Being a one man band must be a quite satisfying affair, I mean you are not gonna have to deal with multiple egos, no need to worry about the drummer emptying the contents of your medicine cabinet down his throat nor that the lead singer is going to be found humping the beejeezus out of your new girlfriend, best of all though is that the direction and sound  your music is going to take is entirely your decision to compromising.

Mindkult is the brainchild of American multi-instrumentalist Overlord Faustus, or as he sometimes likes to be known Fowst, and is also the banner under which he has released his debut EP "Witch's Oath" (Caligari Records).

Doom laden but heavily salted with touches of bluesy swagger and moody grunge/alt.rock atmospherics "Witch's Oath" is an album loosely based around a concept of cultism and control. Fowst builds his doomy manifestos around heavily distorted riffage offset with laid back, mellow and slightly shoegaze vocals that when put together give the four songs that make up "Witch's Oath" an eerie, almost hypnotic, feel. From the Sabbathian heavy riffage of "King and Priest" through to the fuzzed doom groove of "Chief of Devils", that closes the EP, there is a feeling that you, the listener, are being led down paths you might not want to go down but are compelled to take owing to the seductive nature of the voices and music playing in your ears. Brilliant, slightly unnerving with a strange mix of the raw and smooth Mindkult's "Witch's Oath" worms its way into the psyche and takes up residence there making sure your life and world will never be the same again.
Check it out....

Saturday, 27 August 2016

HAUNTED ~ HAUNTED ...... review

Italian Doom could be considered, by some, to be a genre all of its own owing to the fact that doom coming from that part of the Mediterranean possesses a sound and groove that is quite unique and distinctive from other countries take on the genre. Italian bands working within the doom scene seem to have managed to tap into that same rich vein of the macabre and gothic that fired the imagination of so many filmmakers during the late 70'a and early 80's when every other horror movie being made seemed to be coming out of Italy. It is this cinematographic feel to the doom coming out of Italy that has given it a vibe that sets it far apart from the more stoner orientated doom grooves coming from the USA and the rest of Europe and made Italy the go-to place for quality doom.

Haunted; Francesco Bauso - guitar, Cristina Chimirri - vocals, Valerio Cimino - drums, Francesco Orlando - guitar, and Frank Tudisco - bass are from Catania, eastern Italy and came into being after, during a woodland walk, Bauso and Tudisco decided the timing was right to form a new band. With the recruitment of an ex bandmate, an old friend and the inclusion of a brand new vocalist Haunted were then born. The band soon began writing together, jamming ideas and after a period of time enough songs started to form to begin thinking about getting something down on tape so a deal was brokered with Twin Earth Records to record and release their debut and self titled album, " Haunted".

"Nightbreed" opens "Haunted", its intro, of rumbling thunder,insectoid chirping and movie clip soundbytes the perfect example of the musical cinematography referred to in this articles first paragraph. Doom, as we know, thrives on the atmosphere created within its music and Haunted's mix of sabbathian grooves and dark occult themes absolutly drips with the stuff. Bassist Tudisco and  drummer Cimino provide massive walls of thick creamy rhythmic groove around which guitarists Bauso and Orlando wind majestic and darkly potent six-string magic, the four musicians coming together as a whole  to create sonic canvases onto which  haunting vocal brushstrokes are then painted, Chimirri's vocals, distinctive and powerful, soar banshee-like over a variety of doom drenched backdrops dripping with strong heavy riffage, thundering rhythms and scorching guitar solos, her melancholy and slightly ethereal tones colouring every song in billowing shrouds of dark mystic vocal beauty.

Comparisons are bound to be made with Richmond, USA doomsters Windhand, both bands are quintets made up of four guys and one female singer and both plough a similar furrow of dark riffage and haunting vocals but where the two bands differ is in the musical dynamics, where Windhand are at times content to sit within a groove and see where it takes them Haunted are more about pushing that groove to where they want it to go, and if this debut album is anything to go by where Haunted want to go is where you will want to be.
Check 'em out...

Friday, 26 August 2016


Let's start with an apology for Desert Psychlist's tardiness in bringing you this review......
Sometimes a reviewer will, within seconds of hearing a new album, jump straight aboard his trusty keyboard and start typing on the virtues or shortfallings of said release, on many occasions this works fine, conveying to the reader the reviewers "in the moment" gut reaction.There are times though when a writer needs to live with an album, immerse his or herself in that album, feel that album,savour its brilliance before daring to share his/her thoughts... this was the case with Italian desert/stoner band, Violence Of The Sun's  "Perceptionism",

From the moment the heavily effected guitar motif at the beginning of "Earth 5.35" starts smoothly creeping from the cones of your speakers/headphones the listener knows he is he/she is starting out on a journey, a journey that  along the way will take in dusty desert highways, sweaty juke joints, inner city ghetto's and the vast reaches of space as well as brief sojourns into lifes darker recesses .  From the vast soundscapes of the aforementioned "Earth 5.35" with it's slow building metamorphis from hazy laid back grooviness into acid  drenched rock madness through to the heavy schizophrenic psychedelic sludge of closer "Rachel Jupiter" Violence Of The Sun leave no musical stone unturned in their quest to create a soundtrack for the world they/we live in.
Kyuss-like desert riffage (Feeding The Dolls) sits side by side with stonerized bluesy boogie (The Devil's Bell Rings Again) and the band even get a little doomy and gothic  (Cathederal of Hate) but through all the various directions and tangents the band go off on they maintain a sound and groove that is wholly of their own making. The band, Andrea Elkhaloufi - guitar, vocals, Francesco Pacifici - bass guitar, Gigi Di Giacomo - lead guitar and Mattia Maiorani - drums, vocals may be the sum of their influences but they take those influences and mould them into something quite spectacular and at times a little awe-inspiring
 Check 'em out...

Sunday, 21 August 2016


When anyone mentions "soul music" I guess the first thing that comes to mind are the heady days of Berry Gordy's Tamla Motown and it's rosta of of stars like Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and Diana Ross but if you turn those two words around and add the word "with" in-between then the door opens for a whole gamut of differing artists and genres to come walking on through.
South Carolina's Fall of an Empire, Brent Carroll (Guitar/vocals), Shane Smith (Bass), Cody Edens  (Guitar), Kenny Lawrence (Lead Vocals) and Brad Munoz (Drums), came together in 2012 with a manifesto of putting some much needed life back into the gone a little stale SC music scene and then seeing where things went from there. In 2014 the band released their debut album "Songs of Steel & Sorrow" a stunning mix of stonerized blues and griity hard rock that  prompted one online reviewer to write "This is the definition of honest, bad ass Rock ‘n Roll in its purest form" (Dr. Doom's Lair). This year (2016) with positive praise still ringing in their ears and with the addition of Cody Edens on second guitar, the band returned to the studio to lay down tracks for a new album "Croweater: An Echo In The Bone", six songs of "music WITH soul"

A lone vocal, backed by shimmering sound effects, opens the albums first track "Beyond The Pale". Ethereal, haunting and delivered with soulful Celtic/Appalachian undertones its mournful tale of a death wielding beauty on a pale horse with scales in one hand and a scythe in the other sets the tone for an album that trades as much on its lyrical imagery as it does its musical content. Dark lyrical themes of inner turmoil (Confession), survival against the odds (Croweater), rage,anger and revenge (Uprising) are wrapped in a musical blanket of fuzzy desert/stoner groove injected with elements of bluesy hard rock, polished classic rock and salted with more than a pinch of  gritty southern swagger. Smith's deliciously creamy bass-lines match perfectly with Munoz's heavy hitting percussive bluster to form a bedrock for the guitars of Carroll and Eden to paint sonic portraits around, the two six-stringers filling every space with titanic riffage, ear catching hooks and searingly tasteful solo's. Fall of an Empire's ace in the hole though is the powerful and distinctive vocals of frontman Kenny Lawrence his bluesy clean voice is strong, coloured with little southern country nuances, and takes the bands overall sonic attack to a completely different level especially when being pushed by the equally impressive backing tones of  Brent Carroll. On the heavily blues drenched and torch- like "Bones of Birds" he feels the lyrics as much as he is sings them giving the songs, already emotive grooves, an added depth and gravitas. The album closes with "Burn The Witch" an uptempo stonerized hard rock workout that sees the band bringing all their strengths to the fore, big booming bass, heavy pounding drums and screaming guitars surround a sterling Lawrence vocal performance that leaves the listener with no other option than to hit the repeat button so as to experience the whole album all over again.
Check 'em out .......

Friday, 19 August 2016


Rochester, New York trio King Buffalo raised a few eyebrows among the movers and shakers of the underground rock scene when they released their 2013 "Demo", which had some mentioning the band in the same sentences as The Doors, Neil Young, Fatso Jetson and The Black Angels. The band expanded on that initial interest by contributing three stunning slices of psych rock to a split album  with Swedish retro rockers Le Betre on STB Records (2015). This year (2016) the band, Sean McVay - Guitar & Lead Vocals, Dan Reynolds - Bass & Lights and Scott Donaldson - Drums & Vocals, decided it was time to unleash something a little fuller and a touch more complete upon the world and so have self released their first full length album "Orion" (available here)

Pink Floyd are the obvious choice to compare any band ploughing a trough through the field of psychedelic rock with, but from the first droning note of, opener and title track, "Orion" it is hard not to make that comparison. McVay's Gilmour-esque guitar tones swirl around a background of lysergic rhythm and texture coated in mellow, laid back Floydian vocals creating a groove that although created in the USA has a strangely "English" feel.
"Monolith" jams a similar Floydian groove that takes its cues from the earlier period of that bands career and then mixes into those grooves elements of grungy Americana and shoegaze indie. McVay's warm croon floats majestically over the songs foundation of fragmented guitar chords and arpeggios, superbly backed by Reynolds spacious bass lines and Donaldson's busy drumming, his mellow tones complimented by the drummers harmonious vocal accompaniment.
"Sleeps On The Vine" although not strictly a blues song does however carry a feeling of that genre in its moody and atmospheric execution. McVay chops from his fretboard sharded guitar chords and spatial licks that hang in the air, echoing around the mellow lead  and vocal harmonies. The guitarist soars to even greater heights when in the songs final third the tempo increases and he unleashes his inner guitar hero and takes the song to the close with a searing six string display of emotion and technique.
"Kerosene"  begins with Donaldson laying down a solid backbeat into which Reynolds injects a deliciously seductive bass line before Mcvay's guitar enters wrapping siren-like motifs around an equally delicious vocal. The songs superbly delivered verses are interspersed by moments of heavy psych riffage that at times recalls, Canadian psych cult favourites, Quest for Fire and sees the band hitting a groove a little grittier and a touch more "stoner" than previously heard.
"Down From Sky" changes the dynamic completely with a gentle and largely acoustic number. McVay's voice floats over a backdrop of finger picked acoustic guitars and delicate drum beats, it's blend of folk and Americana the perfect vehicle as an introduction to the next track...
"Goliath" is a two part piece with the first part being an atmospheric instrumental journey tinted with eastern themes and psychedelic colours and texturing that slowly builds until, with a brief pause, erupts like a volcano into the stoner/desert groove of part two. A heavy circular McVay riff, dripping with fuzz and driven by the astonishing rhythmic dexterity of Donaldson and Reynolds hits the listener like a steam train, demanding attention and getting it. The vocal similarities to Pink Floyd, of previous tracks, are here jettisoned for a more shoegaze vocal approach that, to this listener, share tones and shades with Massachusetts stoner/psych noise artists Elder in their less abrasive moments and.give the song a hard edged and almost alt-rock feel.
"Orion Subsiding" sees the band once again step into the arena of bluesy psych, the songs hazy,smokey and heavily lysergic grooves further enhanced with the addition of jazzy guitar interludes wrapped around perfectly pitched  and laid back vocals. Reynolds big bass sound sits on top of Donaldson's restrained rhythmic backbeat allowing McVay free reign to fill the spaces with colourful hooks,licks and motifs. The band move it up a gear for the songs middle section hitting a brief but effective heavy desert groove before everyone falls back into line and the songs initial psych refrain takes things to the close.
"Drinking From The River Rising" begins with a folky, almost celtic, vocal lament over a slowly increasing  droning effect, McVay's voice is mournful, weary and emotive as he sings of "lonely mountains" and "rivers winding". The rest of the band then come in, wrapping the vocals in a blanket of psych drenched groove interspersed with moments of gnarly desert riffage and heavy stoner rhythms. The songs final third sees the band pulling out all the stops laying down a heavy barrage of psych soaked riff'n'rhythm with all three musicians going hell for leather on their respective instruments until collapsing into the fade on a wave of sustained feedback.

King Buffalo have created within the grooves of their debut album "Orion" a music that deserves a wider audience than the stoner/psych and doom underground niche thay currently inhabit whether this will happen is hard to say but if they continue to produce music this good, this exciting and vital then who knows what the future holds.
Check 'em out.....

Tuesday, 16 August 2016


Social media can be a funny thing, it can cause debate, break friendships , forge new ones, make us laugh, make us cry and make us angry and in some cases open up whole new career opportunities. About a year ago Desert Psychlist reviewed an album by a Brazilian band called Pathos, this in turn prompted an online Facebook friendship with the bands guitarist Ricardo Marliere. Ricardo would from time to time point me in the direction of other Brazilian bands he thought Desert Psychlist may dig, one of those bands he suggested were an instrumental psych/prog outfit from João Pessoa, Paraiba going by the name of Augustine Azul whose self titled debut EP was available on Bandcamp . Impressed by what I heard I immediately posted a comment on Facebook group Hard rock Revolution's page recommending them to others, the first person to respond to this post was More Fuzz blog's head honcho Tanguy SeFi Duprey. Tanguy was so knocked out by what he heard he included the EP in his personal best of 2015 list. In the following year Tanguy decided that it was time to expand his empire by starting his own label, More Fuzz Records, and his first signing ....... Augustine Azul, his first release.....their debut full length "Lombramorfose".

"Lombranorfose" is a stunning album packed to the rafters with exceptionally good music played by exceptionally good musicians. From the bass line intro of  jazz/prog stoner opener "Amônia" to the heavy desert/psych grooves of " Intèra" Augustine Azul give nothing but 100%. João Yor's guitar howls and screams like a banshee over a backdrop of deliciously sexy bass ( Jonathan Beltrão ) and inricate jazzy drumming ( Edgard Moreira ), the three combining together to create a whole that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Jazz and prog complexity and good old fashioned hard rock grit go hand in hand skipping down fuzz drenched musical paths that at any minute can go off on a tangent leaving listeners breathless with wonder, desperately trying to second guess where the band will take them next. There are those that may be a little wary of a full album of instrumental music, especially when words like "complexity" and "progressive" are being banded about, but Augustine Azul allay those fears by adding into their highly intelligent arrangements and grooves a large dose of good ole' gritty swagger and swing.
Check 'em out......

For more information on More Fuzz Records and Augustine Azul follow these links:

More Fuzz Blog
More Fuzz Records
Augustine Azul

Sunday, 14 August 2016


Nashville, Tennessee, the home of legendary luthiers Gibson Guitars and the spiritual home of country music is renowned around the world for its contributions to music, and rightly so, its the reason they call it "Music City". It may come as a surprise to some, though, that this thriving metropolis is not just all about Stetson wearing cowboys with acoustic guitars and big haired women singing about losing their men, Nashville rocks too.
A headline in UK newspaper The Guardian recently proclaimed "there are more thrilling new bands in Nashville than anywhere else on Earth." and with so much competition it must be hard for a new band to break out from the pack and get themselves noticed but Tennessee trio Howling Giant went some way to doing just that with the release of their self-titled 2015 EP "Howling Giant", a mix of gritty stoner riffage and spacey atmospherics salted with cool vocal melodies and hooks which garnered positive responses from the underground press as well as the record buying, digital downloading public. The trio of Tom Polzine ( Guitar and Vocals), Roger Marks  (Bass and Vocals) and Zach Wheeler (Drums and Vocals) have, buoyed by this response, just released a follow up to that promising debut with a new EP "Black Hole Space Wizard: Part 1"

First track "Mothership" opens with a rolling guitar motif from Polzine, dripping with fuzz and complimented by Wheeler's shimmering percussion, it is then joined by Marks thundering bass with all three then exploding into the songs main refrain. The songs groove sits very much within a 70's hard/classic rock framework but that is not to say this should be classed as "retro", the band use this groove as a platform from which to take off into passages of gnarly progressive complexity and psych/space colouring that are then coated with superb harmonies and vocal interplay.
If all that doesn't grab you by the throat then the gloriously catchy chorus most certainly will.
"Exodus:Earth" darkens the mood slightly, a mood mirrored in the vocal tones and the songs apocalyptic lyrics of a world coming apart at the seams. The band stay within the 70's blueprint they like to use as their base but that blueprint is coloured with an almost bluesy doom feel that is injected with scorching guitar solo's and a backbone of thundering heavy rhythm. The band cleverly ramp the atmosphere up a notch or two with the use of a narrative from H.G.Wells "War Of The Worlds" around which the band lay an almost Hawkwind-ish groove to takes things to the close.
"Dirtmouth" finds the band channelling their hardcore side on a song that sees sludge-like vocals roared over a backdrop of spacey neo-classical guitar motifs, pummelling  percussion and throbbing distorted bass played at breakneck speed and with a ton of anger and attitude The songs themes of destruction and fear are perfectly portrayed within the 4:20 timeframe and leave the listener in no doubt that the Wizard, in the songs lyrics, does live and he is ANGRY!
"Clouds of Smoke" starts of moody and atmospheric a lone vocal over fuzzy sustained guitar chords, Wheeler's sympathetic percussion then enters with Marks bass thrumming just underneath. The track slowly builds momentum with Polzine adding little touches of six-string colouring and texture as other vocals enter both backing the main vocal as well as harmonising with it. Melancholic and atmospheric the song slowly builds layer by layer until reaching its nadir with Marks deep, deep bass locking in tight with Wheeler's powerful drumming to create a huge wall of rhythm for Polzine to decorate with smouldering solos and smoking licks, it's  not short of nerve tingling!

Howling Giant have, with "Black Hole Space Wizard:Part 1", proved that the promise shown on their first EP was no fluke and that not everything good coming from Nashville needs to be covered in rhinestones.
Check 'em out .......