Monday, 14 October 2019

HIDDEN SUN ~PARALYZED ..... review


Sometimes musicians come together and something just clicks straight away, whether its because all the musicians involved have a similar musical vision or it's just an alignment of certain planets remains a mystery but when it does happen the results can be outstanding. Bamberg's Paralyzed only got together in March of this year (2019) and after only a few gigs the German quartet of Michael Binder (vocals & solo guitar); Caterina Böhner (rhythm guitar); Philipp Engelbrecht (bass guitar) and Florian Thiele (drums) decided that despite the brevity of their time as a working unit they needed to dive into the studio and document the magic they were creating together so as to share it with the wider world. The results of that studio visit can be heard on the bands debut EP " Hidden Sun" and we think you will agree IT IS outstanding!


Regular perusers of Desert Psychlist's pages will know that we have a real soft spot for that genus of raucous raw groove, birthed between the heavy blues of the late 60's and the hard rock/heavy metal of the late 70's, that we now known as "proto metal".  Paralyzed may not have even been born during this period but the music they create has a distinctive "proto" vibe, albeit sitting at the more bluesier end of the spectrum. Fear not though that Paralyzed's grooves are backward looking as "Hidden Sun" has as much of the gritty modern stoner attack of Earthless and Wo Fat in its execution as it does that of, "proto" cult legends, Buffalo and JPT Scare Band. Why are we specifically mentioning these bands rather than say the Monster Magnet's and Kyuss' from the modern era and the Sir Lord Batimore's  and Dust's from those "proto" heydays, the reason why is, with the exception of Buffalo, those are and were bands who put a huge emphasis on the use of guitar solo's as a main musical weapon as opposed to just an accompaniment or a way to fill in the spaces between verses. So why Buffalo then we hear you ask? Well that's because Binder's vocals have a not too dissimilar tone and delivery to those of the Australian bands frontman Dave Tice, gritty, bluesy and strong.  "Hidden Sun" is primarily a guitar album and it is Binder's guitar work, combined with his powerful vocals, that is the dominant force throughout the EP's seven tracks, whether rocking back and forth on his wah pedal or laying down soaring clean tones and textures he is the axis around which the rest of the musicians contributions revolve. And what contributions they are, Böhner's rhythm guitar does not just fill in the spaces Binder leaves for her it lays down the foundations on which those guitar forays are built, her crunching power chords and single note riffs dripping and drooling in warm fuzz are the cornerstones around which the lead guitarist constructs his swooping solo's. Engelbrecht's bass plays a similar role, his booming, growling bass lines sit just beneath the guitars and combine with Thiele's solid, tight and punchy percussion to inject "the groove" into the EP's blues flecked lysergic sonic onslaught. Song wise Paralyzed do not put a foot wrong from the fuzzy bass intro of brief but groovy "Idols" to the final snare shot that closes the heavily fuzzed final track "Polarity" not a guitar note or drum beat is used without it earning its place in the whole, everyone bringing their "A" game to the table to create something that doesn't need a few listens to "get in to" but hits that sweet spot in your inner ear immediately.



Desert Psychlist was one of the first to chance upon Paralyzed's "Hidden Sun" and we immediately posted our discovery on social media to alert others to its awesome content, the post was then picked up by such underground press luminaries as Doomed & Stoned's Papa Paul Rote and Doom Charts contributor Steve Rodger both of whom have gone on to not only rave about its sonic impact but also to put their money where their mouths are and make a purchase.... and that can probably tell you more about how good this is than a few hundred of Desert Psychlist's words.
Check it out ..... 

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 13 October 2019

DOPE DEFAULT ~ IMPRISONED ..... review


When reviewing Greek riffmeisters 2017 EP "Tales from the Wasteland" Desert Psychlist stated that "Dope Default may not be in the same league as Planet of Zeus and 1000mods quite yet but if they continue releasing EP's of the quality of "Tales From The Wasteland" then that day might not be too far away" Well it seems that Desert Psychlist maybe somewhat of a seer as since that time Dope Default's star has been on the ascendancy. The band soon followed up "Tales from the Wasteland" with their first full length album "Ofrenda" an album that fully cemented the bands transformation from the wannabee grungsters of their debut EP "Nuclear Honeymoon" into the hard riffing stonerized desert rockers they are today and to further document that transition from groan to growl the Thessaloniki quintet of  John Campbell (vocals); Dimitris Kolimvanos (guitars); Giorgos Kontouris (guitars);  Makis Georgiou (bass) and  Thodoris Anastasiadis (drums), have just released their second album "Imprisoned".


Things get off to a very promising start with "No Tomorrow" a chord crunching riff fest driven by throbbing bass and powerful percussion over which big throaty vocals tell of missed opportunities and chased dreams. Following tracks "Cold-Blooded Queen" and "The Fallen Saviour" follow in much the same vein as their predecessor with big chopped out powerchords complimented by swirling lead guitar motifs pushed hard by a pulsating bass and drum pairing, both tunes finding Dope Default putting a bigger emphasis on melody and vocal trade offs. Next song "Sinless Invader" finds the band heading into southern rock waters, the band jamming a groove that sits somewhere between Blackfoot and Mississippi Bones, and is quickly followed by "Relentless", a chugging riff monster with a clever mix of loud, quiet , loud dynamics. "Silent Scream", a song that tackles the subject of our own inner demons, is next and is buoyed by a stuttering heavily fuzzed guitar riff decorated in a mix of gritty lead and harmonised vocal colouring while "Years Of Glory" , an instrumental, uses a recurring twin guitar motif to grab you attention before going off on a series of groove laden tangents. And so we arrive at last track and the one that bears the albums title "Imprisoned", big beefy and with a groove that is part Sabbath, part Orange Goblin and part Iron Maiden, it closes the album with all guns blazing its powerful bellowed vocals, scorching lead and crunching rhythm guitars underpinned by growling bass and punishing percussion, all combining to create a raucous finale to what is a delightfully raucous album.



Greece maybe a country struggling with its economic climate but one currency the bands that reside there do not lack in is groove and Dope Default's "Imprisoned"  is rolling in the stuff!
Check it out ….

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 5 October 2019

GEVAUDAN ~ ITER ..... review


It starts at the base of the spine and runs like an electric shock up through the vertebrae finally arriving in that sweet spot in the brain where there it explodes like a bomb sending your senses reeling and filling your whole being with an unexplainable delight. We are of course talking about that reaction we feel when we hear music that is so damn good it actually has a physical effect on the body, a reaction Desert Psychlist felt earlier today when we dropped the needle for the first time on UK doomsters Gevaudan's debut "Iter"


Grief, misery and woe are staple and oft overused themes of many bands working in the field of doom however Adam Pirmohamed (vocals), Bruce Hamilton (guitar), Andy Salt (bass) and David Himbury (drums), under the flag of Gevaudan, manage to give those themes a whole new lease of life with their debut album "Iter". "Iter" is in essence what you would call a "traditional" doom album but to just call it that would be a disservice as there is so much more going on here. Yes there are those themes of despair and sorrow we spoke of earlier and yes Pirmohamed's vocals do have those classic gothic tinted tones that border on rock operatic but when you put these together with the dark, dank and frankly quite prog-like doom that Hamilton, Salt and Himbury lay beneath those vocals and lyrics then you end up with something very, very special. Desert Psychlist's first thoughts, while listening to Gevaudan's debut opus, was to try and compare it with albums from those greats of the traditional doom genre Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus but the more we listened the more we started to hear something else and the truth dawned on us that what we were hearing had more in common with early Opeth and Ireland's Primordial than it did with Leif Edlings Swedish combo as there are elements of both Opeth's proggish leanings and Primordial's blackened metal intensity in what Gevaudan bring to the table, albeit a little more doomic and vocally a little more traditional. Desert Psychlist could go into one of our usual song by song breakdown's, examining every little vocal inflection and instrumental passage of the five songs that make up "Iter", however we will leave that for you to discover as music this good, this emotionally involving and powerful should be experienced first hand without any preconceived notions, what we will tell you is what Gevaudan bring,to the altar, with songs entitled "Dawntreader", "Maelstrom", "The Great Heathen Army", "Saints of Blood" and "Duskwalker", are dynamics that range from a whisper to a roar, grooves that can seduce with a gentle caress then leave you reeling with the ferocity of their attack.



"Iter" is an album that will appeal to both the traditional doom crowd and those that like their doom a little on the blacker side, an album that leans towards prog in places yet at the same time stays true to the basics of its doomic roots, an album that's not quite a masterpiece but comes damn close.
Check it out …..
  © 2019 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 3 October 2019

GOLDEN GOD ~ SILENCE, DEATH, OVATION, GOLD .... review


"The Blues" can be found in almost everything from the most extreme forms of metal to the tenderest, gentlest folk song be it a single melancholy note or just a feel or vibe. Over the last decade "The Blues" has seen a huge resurgence not just in the guitar hero blues of Joe Bonamassa and Gary Clarke Jr. but also with those bands plying their trade in the depths of the rock underground. Some of these bands, like Clutch and Graveyard readily acknowledge the bluesy influence and inflections in their grooves while some bands don't even realise they are even there. The subject of today's review are of the former camp, Ohio's Golden GodSebastian (vocals); Greg (guitar); David (drums) and Marshall (bass), know full well that the grooves they play may first come across as raucous, crunching and in your face stoner/hard rock but they also understand that at the root of their fuzz drenched riffs and punchy, powerful rhythms is a music older than they are. If you still need confirmation of Golden God's blues credentials then look no further than their jaw dropping debut "Silence, Death, Ovation, Gold"


Ok let's clear up one thing, those reading this reviews intro might be expecting something Zeppelinesque or even Cream(ish) with some sort of late 60's early 70's heavy blues flavour, this is not the case. Golden God's groove is very much of today, a raucous raw edged groove drenched in caustic fuzz drenched guitar and distortion heavy bass that is driven by solid, thunderous percussion and coated in strong clean clear but gritty vocal tones. So where does the blues come in to all this we hear you ask, well the answer to that is just about everywhere, What Golden God does on "Silence, Death, Ovation, Gold" is to take the blues strip it of its black suit and shades image then dress it up in leathers and a band tee and stick a joint in its mouth, this is not the blues your mum and dad might have danced to in their day this is blues that'll try to seduce your mother while its friends beat your dad up in an alley.


"Silence, Death, Ovation, Gold" is stonerized blues rock at its very best, an album that despite a couple strategically placed, breath catching , respites is a full on assault on the senses from start to finish.
Check it out …..

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 1 October 2019

BLACK SIRE ~ BLACK SIRE ..... review


We've said it before and we will probably say it again, the best discoveries are those you weren't looking for, the ones by bands you have never heard of before and have seemingly come out of nowhere and then have proceeded to blow you the fuck away! This was the case with the subject of this review, Desert Psychlist was innocently scrolling through the feed on a certain social media giant when we noticed a post from Doom Charts contributor and long time fellow music explorer Mr Steve Rodger extolling the virtues of an album he had recently found. Thinking along the lines of if Steve is on this it must be worth checking out Desert Psychlist quickly followed the link and pressed play, what we heard next was a jaw-dropping collection of dark doomic grooves that ranged from  heavy and mid-tempo to low, slow and lysergic. We were hooked as we hope you will be when you hear Black Sire's self-titled debut "Black Sire"


When Desert Psychlist first chanced upon Steve Rodger's post recommending "Black Sire" the first thing that hit us was the artwork accompanying it, a stark monochrome photo of a tower looming menacingly amidst a forest of  trees set against a glaring orange background with the bands logo nestled boldly in one corner. It was an image that conjured up memories of bands like Iron Claw, Stone Garden and Sir Lord Baltimore, an image that screamed proto-metal and early doom, our only concern at this point was would the music beneath the artwork live up to the expectation it's imagery promised. We needn't have worried the grooves on "Black Sire" do not only live up to those expectations they exceed them. From the first dark notes of "Lord of Hallucinations" to the gentle fading drone that denotes the end of final track "Golden Dawn" the listener is taken on a journey of pure proto-doomic delight with swooping swirling guitar solo's and caustic crunching power chords , ingrained with lysergic textures and colouring, soaring and growling over rhythms and grooves that plod and grind one moment, race and gallop the next. "Black Sire" is partly an instrumental album, partly a vocalised one, when those vocals do appear, as on the already mentioned "Lord of Hallucinations" the sinister and lysergic "Horn of Samael", the eastern tinted "Night of Pan" and the schizophrenic "Golden Dawn", they are buried deep in the mix giving them a hazy, distant feel totally in keeping with the albums overall heavy doomic psych vibe. Black Sire do throw an unexpected curveball into play midway through the album with "Interlude", a droning acoustic instrumental that sounds like something that you would hear played by Arabian musicians at a Bedouin desert gathering, its a pleasing departure from the mayhem its surrounded by and goes a long way in proving that there is much more in Black Sire's locker than just a raucous riff and a thunderous groove.


"Black Sire" is not an easy album to describe, it is doomic in both the proto and stoner senses and it is heavy with lysergic texturing and colouring which would put it in the category of psych but there is also an underlying blackened edge to the seven songs contained here yet not so much so that you could categorize this as sitting at the extreme end of the rock spectrum. We have been mulling this over at Desert Psychlist and the best we could come up with is this … "Black Sire" is the best "stonerized proto-doomic blackened psych" album your likely to hear for a long, long time, if ever again.
Check it out ….

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Monday, 30 September 2019

SOUTHBOUND SNAKE CHARMERS ~ TO THE BONE .....review


"Proud Mary", "Bad Moon Rising", Up Around The Bend" and "Run Through the Jungle" bring to mind one band and that band are California's Creedence Clearwater Revival. a quartet who despite their West Coast origins jammed grooves of a more southern persuasion, songs that referenced swamps, bayous and catfish rather than the sun, sand and sea of their home. Why, you may ask, are we mentioning this? Well the answer to that comes from the mouth of Southbound Snake Charmers vocalist/guitarist Topher Denman who when notifying Desert Psychlist of the imminent arrival of his bands new EP "To The Bone" added to his message " I feel we went really Creedence with this one", a bold statement you may say, so time to find out if they did.


Denman along with Nat Sutphin (bass) and Brooke Maloney (drums) do not only capture the sound of CCR on "To The Bone" they damn near become them, ok that maybe a bit of an overstatement but if you played a CCR greatest hits album and then followed it with "Through The Smoke" and "Playin' With Fire", the first two tracks of this nifty slice of swampy blues grooviness, you would be hard pushed to tell where one band started and the other finished. Everything from guitar tones to rhythmic execution has that authentic late 60's early 70's analogue feel something that deserves a big thumbs up to the team at Ash Ravens Music who produced, mixed and mastered "To The Bone" It's not all CCR worship however there is a strong Hendrix vibe to the excellent "No Land" with its wah drenched guitar motifs and powerful bass and drum accompaniment and "My Crazy" could easily be mistaken for an outtake from Quicksilver Messenger Service's legendary "Happy Trails" album. The EP is filled out by two new remastered versions of tracks that appeared on previous releases, "Ride On" (originally released on Voodoo Chicken Shack) and Don't Speak To Soon (originally released on Rythmn'n'Rust) both get the same retro production treatment that the newer songs get and sound all the better for that.


Desert Psychlist has mentioned three bands that may or may not have inspired the sound and direction of "To The Bone" but don't be fooled in to thinking that this is some sort of tribute to those artists. Soutbound Snake Charmer put their own personal stamp over each and every one of these songs on offer, putting their own twist on things and making certain their own identity shines through on songs that although may have a certain familiarity are nonetheless new, fresh and exciting.
Check it out ….

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 29 September 2019

MORTALES ~ DEATH RATTLE VALLEY ..... review


When asked about their influences desert/stoner rock pioneers Kyuss once replied that they were more inspired by Black Flag than they were Black Sabbath, this is not surprising as stoner rock, in its early stages, had a lot more in common with punk rock than probably any other genre, both stoner/desert rock and punk were born from a dissatisfaction with the musical climates surrounding them and both rock sub-genres started their lives at a grass root level.
Texas quartet Mortales, Lucas Indrikovs (lead vocals/rhythm guitar); Michael Munoz (lead guitar/vocals); Luis Roa (bass); Brett Hanrahan (drums), don't call themselves a punk band neither do they say they are a stoner rock band but you would have to be severely hearing impaired to not pick up on the elements of both within their grooves. The band skirt around the issue of genre classification by describing their mix of punk, stoner metal and hard rock as "gnarcore", and the spirit behind their grooves as something they like to call "The Gnar". If you want to find out what "gnarcore" sounds like and to see if "The Gnar" grows strong in you too then we suggest you give the bands second album "Death Rattle Valley" a spin.


"Warhead" kicks off "Death Rattle Valley" and totally justifies Desert Psychlist's intro to this review by hurtling out of the speakers in an explosion of punkish venom, raucous chugging powerchords and in your face rhythms coated in gritty, almost shouted, vocal tones, the fact that it has a middle section that jams a more stoner(ish) psych vibe adding even more credence to our original observations. The band initially bring things down a notch or two for next track "Hostility of a Bomb" by relying on a slow. low heavily fuzzed groove to build up an air of a brooding atmosphere, restraint however is not one of Mortales greatest assets and its not long before things take a more raucous turn and the band take off on a throbbing fuzz drenched hard rock groove decorated in a mix of gravel throated lead and harmonised vocals  the song switching back and forth between these two dynamics before finally checking out on a wave of fizzing, popping electronic noise. "Psilocyborg" finds Mortales donning  their psychedelic robes and matching them with dark doomic headwear while "Bring All Your Fire" has them decking themselves out in attire more appropriate for a party in the desert. "Bricks" follows and here the vocals take on a smoother less abrasive tone that perfectly matches the songs heady blend of doomic stoner metal and galloping hard rock. Next up is "Golem" a song that can't quite make its mind up if its a punk, stoner or surf rock and ends up a little bit of all of them. Finally we arrive at the last track of the album and, for Desert Psychlist, the best of the bunch, "Nazareth" is a bluesy, doomic and atmospheric tome with an epic feel, if you have had trouble finding that element the band like to call "The Gnar" on this albums previous songs you should have no problem finding it here, as Star Wars Jedi Yoda might say "Strong is The Gnar in this"


"Death Rattle Valley" is an uncompromising, unclassifiable and  unbelievably good album from a band who are unafraid to forge their own musical path regardless of where that path may take them. Mortales might call what they do "gnarcore" you might want to call it something else, Desert Psychlist calls it essential listening.
Check it out …..

© 2019 Frazer Jones