Thursday, 11 August 2022

MOTHERSLUG ~ BLOOD MOON BLUES ...... review


Melbourne, Australia's Motherslug have been knocking around for a while now and although they have always put out quality releases they have never, in Desert Psychlist's opinion, really been given the kudos they deserve, maybe its because they haven't promoted themselves hard enough, haven't shaken the right hands or made the right connections or maybe its simply because they are situated on the other side of the world and find themselves a little isolated from everything going on.in the rest of the world. Whatever the reasons may be Motherslug deserve more recognition for what they do than they are currently getting and their new release "Blood Moon Blues" might just be the album to get them that recognition.


"Misery" opens Motherslug's latest opus and if ever there was a less apt title for a song then this is it, the song is brief but beautiful and consists of gently picked acoustic guitars combining on a piece that has an almost medieval vibe, if this is misery then Desert Psychlist says bring it on. Things get back to some semblance of Motherslug like normality with "Hordes" but even here the listener will notice some subtle differences in the bands sound, the band have always had a penchant for heaviness but here they take things to whole other plane with distortion and fuzz levels dialled to eleven and vocals mixing it up between gritty growls, bear-like roars and throaty harshness while all the time trying to compete with a drummer who wants to topple tall buildings with the power of his rhythms. "Breathe" follows and although doesn't compromise on intensity and heaviness does jam a more stoner/desert like groove albeit one that'll cause your bones to rattle with its deep booming bottom end and thunderous drumming. "The Ballad of Jock Brown" is up next and opens its account with vocalist Cam Crichton crooning in a deep southern drawl over a languid backdrop that has a kind of Doors feel but without the keyboards, the songs builds slowly like this for a few minutes but then suddenly erupts into a mind-blowing heavy blues groove anchored down by Cyn Bae's growling bass and Nick Rad's drums and given wings by Regan Batley's scorching guitar work with Crichton's vocal shift from a drawl to a gritty roar being the cherry on the cake. "Evil" has a Clutch like feel to it in places but also boasts a very un-Clutch like psych drenched middle section while "Crank" packs everything from southern bluesy rock to crunching stoner metal and doom into its short three minutes plus duration. "Monolith" lives up to its name by being a thick slab of heavy stoner groove infused with all manner of  ear catching hooks and leads up to what is probably Desert Psychlist's favourite track of the album "Forever More" a scintillating shape shifting blend of stoner doom and heavy psych decorated in an astounding array of vocal tones that just delights at every turn. For next track "Push the Venom" Motherslug don their desert punk hats for a furious and highly enjoyable raucous romp while "Deep In The Hole" sounds like something Alice Cooper might attempt if he was back on the drink and drugs. Penultimate track "You (a love song)" is not exactly the type of song you might pick for your first wedding dance, unless of course your marrying the corpse of your recently departed fiancée, but it does have a strange eerie beauty thanks in main to Batley's jaw-dropping guitar solos. Motherslug bring things to a close with "Misery (a slight return)" a reprisal of the opening track but this time with an added vocal, its morbid lyrics going someway to answering why the song got its title in the first place.


As we stated in the opening piece to this review Motherslug are a band who deserve more love for what they do, and for that matter what they have done in the past, and "Blood Moon Blues" is the album that in our opinion will bring them that love. This is an album that wears many hats, elements of stoner metal, doom, the blues and southern rock can all be found on this fantastic release yet not once does it sound as if the band are paying lip service to those genres instead they mould, meld and blend those elements into something new and exiting and in doing so create a sound that carries traces of familiarity yet retains its own unique signature.
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

"Blood Moon Blues" releases August 13, 2022


Monday, 8 August 2022

COMMONER ~ I ...... review


Commoner, Mik (guitar/lead vocals); Si (bass//backing vocals); Matt (guitar) and Al (drums), are a collective of like-minded musicians, based in Norwich, UK whose grooves reside at the crustier end of the stoner rock and doom spectrums or as they like to call it "downtrodden crust doom rock". How long the band have been together or how they came together is a bit of a mystery as the bands social media presence is pretty minimal, (which would suggest that they are a fairly new concern), what they do have however is a Bandcamp page and on that page you can find the bands debut release "I", a collection of gnarly riff heavy tomes tinted with elements of doom, metal and stoner rock underscored with an aggressive punkish edge.


"I" opens its account with "Mutant Resistance" a gritty instrumental driven by thunderous drumming and growling bottom end over which the guitarists layer a  mixture of crunching power chords and dual guitar motifs, it is a track that only lasts for just under two minutes but those minutes set the mood for the rest of the album. Next up is "Electric Opiate" and here we get our first taste of what the band sound like with vocals added to the mix, and what they sound like is angry! Mik's vocals are big, loud and possess an untamed shoutiness which when combined with Si's equally  raw backing tones give the bands already aggressive sound an even more confrontational and up in your face vibe. Let's not fall into the trap however of thinking that Commoner's music is a a full on attack on the senses, a relentless tsunami of aggression and malevolence, because it is not, there are subtleties and nuances to be found throughout the six songs that make up "I". On songs like "Wytchlycker"," Saint Tyrant" and "N13/Headwound" the band inject elements as diverse as Celtic tinted guitar harmonies, bluesy wah drenched lead work and even some folk flavoured acoustic picking into their blustering metallic onslaughts and in doing so give their raucous grooves a much more rounded dynamic.


"I" is at its roots a blend of stonerized metal and proto-doom which in itself is not an unusual combination but what Commoner have done a little differently is rough up the edges of those two particular genre's and tack on to those edges elements of punkish raucousness and battle-metal bluster and in doing so have created a much more interesting musical beast.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones


Friday, 29 July 2022

GAMMA GOAT ~ INTERLUDE .... review


Blending genres is an art in itself and when those genres include grunge, stoner metal and doom well it takes a special band to pull it off. Grunge is a genre that tends to polarize opinion, there are many who will quite happily listen to stoner metal and dank dark doom yet will just not entertain anything associated with the word "grunge" often citing it as being a self-loathing and depressing music, which is ironic in a way as some of the best metal and doom ever recorded has come from a place of bleakness and sorrow. As we said earlier it takes a special band to build a bridge between genres and successfully blend them together so that the resulting mix will appeal to fans of each camp and in Desert Psychlist's humble opinion Illinois quintet Gamma Goat are such a band, something their latest album "Interlude" will more than attest to.

Things start off a little weird with the brief intro piece "Prelude" but then get really interesting with "Get In The Trough" a song that perfectly exemplifies Gamma Goat's penchant for mashing up grunge/alt-rock with doom and metal, the song boasting thick swathes of low tuned riffage underpinned by pummelling percussion over which the vocals are a trade off between bear-like growls. anguished screams and clean mellow croons before the song finally signs off on a wave of screaming feedback. "Sea of Flies". follows and is an absolute MONSTER of a song that jams a doom flavoured groove but decorates that groove with a a vocal melody that utilizes a mixture quiet/loud/quiet dynamics and Chris Cornell-like vocal pyrotechnics as well as including a lysergic mid-section over which spoken narrative tells of "valleys of the moon" and "desert plains" before erupting into a maelstrom of squealing guitar motifs and thundering rhythms.to take it to its finale. This is followed by "Interlude I" another brief experimental piece that leads into ""An Offering" an ever shifting blend of strutting grunge/alt-rock and stoner metal around which an array of vocal stylings are employed. "Drying Up The Bones" is up next a spitting spluttering full on metal/grunge hybrid that borrows flavours from both Soundgarden and Alice In Chains but comes out sounding pure Gamma Goat. "Interlude II" comes and goes in just under 39 seconds and opens the way for final number "Underwrath" a song that finds the band channelling the spirit of all of grunge's finest bands in one superb musical piece while at the same time adding into that mix their own signature stoner fuzz and metallic bluster.


After the deaths of  Kurt Cobain, Scott Wieland and Chris Cornell grunge/alt-rock as a genre found itself somewhat adrift of what was going on around it, it was a genre in dire need of a reboot. Gamma Goat's "Interlude" may not be the album that will lift grunge to the heights it attained in the 90's but by injecting elements of stoner metal fuzz, doom-ic dankness and heavy psych into the genre's ailing veins the band have certainly given it another lease of life. 
Check it out.... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 26 July 2022

REALM DRIFTER ~ REALM DRIFTER ...... review

 

One of the most important elements of doom as a music is probably the one that gets overlooked the most, you may have the low down-tuned riffs, you may have the slow ponderous and pummelling percussion and you may have the dark lyrical tales but if you can't create the dank brooding atmospherics that pull everything together and are such  an essential component of the genre then you might as well forget calling what you do doom. Fortunately Fort Worth, Texas quartet Realm DrifterJayson (vocals/guitar); Richie (guitar); Lee (bass) and Daniel (drums), do not have this problem their songs are absolutely drenched in atmosphere, as you will no doubt find out for yourselves when you give the bands self-titled debut "Realm Drifter" a spin.


You probably could not ask for a more atmospheric opener than "Fire for Wolves" its intro of liquid deep bass and solid drumming leads into a groove that sits somewhere between slow and mid tempo and boasts scorching blues tinted guitar solos that soar with dark majestic grace over a gritty edged vocal that borders on harshness but manages to retain an air of clarity. "With No Name" follows and has a slower more doom-ic dynamic and finds Jayson tempering his vocal almost to a croon in places, something that ramps the songs impact up several notches and gives the song added depth especially when set against the mix of crunching riffs and reverberating almost surf -like guitar textures that accompany it. Lee gets to introduce next song "Feeding Shadows" with a low growling bass motif which is then joined by Jayson and Richie's guitars in a low, slow heavy groove expertly anchored by drummer Daniel's powerful rhythmic patterns around which Jayson fashions a slurred hazy vocal melody that occasionally erupts into a feral roar, the song finally closing its account with a dank dark and atmosphere drenched jam that sees the guitarists trading off swirling solos and screeching feedback against a backdrop of deliciously dark doom-ic groove. "Sound of an Owl" sees Realm Drifter stepping into psych territory with hazy filtered vocals and twanging guitar tones routinely being interrupted by sudden bursts of low slung metallic mayhem. while final track "Realm Drifter" retains both the twang, haziness and quiet/loud/quiet dynamics of its predecessor but this time when it erupts it erupts like a volcano. 


Doom is a music that trades heavily on atmosphere and there is no lack of that commodity in the five songs that make up Realm Drifter's debut, brooding moody and dark "Realm Drifter" is most definitely the real deal!
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday, 25 July 2022

PARALYZED ~ HEAVY ROAD ...... review


When reviewing Paralyzed's self-titled debut "Paralyzed" Desert Psychlist waxed lyrical over the authenticity of the bands late 60's, early 70's heavy blues attack and we also unashamedly gushed over how well the band had managed to bring that sound up to date by incorporating elements of today's stoner rock, doom and psych into their sound. Desert Psychlist also noted that in doing this Paralyzed were not only pandering to those who grew up listening to the likes of Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream and The Doors but were also effectively introducing heavy blues to a whole new generation of listeners who were not even born when those giants walked the Earth.
The band, Michael Binder (vocals/lead guitar);Caterina Böhner (organ/rhythm guitar); Philipp Engelbrecht (bass) and Florian Thiele (drums), have returned this year (2022) with their second full length album "Heavy Road", and if you were hoping to hear more of that voodoo tinted hard rock and heavy blues "Paralyzed" brought to the table then you will not be disappointed as "Heavy Road" brings you more of the same only this time with the bands music sounding even more bombastic, bluesier and blustering than before!


A band needs an edge to elevate itself above the wannabees and also rans that populate any musical scene and Paralyzed have quite a few edges in their armoury but by far the biggest edge Paralyzed possess has to be the voice of Michael Binder, Binder's Danzig meets Morrison meets Warren Haynes vocal tones are blessed with a gruff lived in weariness that is a perfect fit for the authentic late 60's mix of  hazy and heavy blues grooves Böhner, Engelbrecht and Thiele lay down around him, grooves that Binder himself also contributes to with his searing lead work. Binder has a voice tailor made for the blues, he can portray anger, melancholy, pain and passion without ever needing to go overboard on the vocal pyrotechnics, his voice coming across at times like a quiet storm underlined with a rumbling thunder. This is no one man show however and Engelbrecht, Thiele and Böhner more than justify their places on this outstanding album. these three are the engine room that drives Paralyzed's blues drenched grooves. Thiele's drumming, a mixture of solid tightness and loose fluidity, combines with Engelbrecht's deliciously deep and grumbling bottom end and Böhner's rhythmic riffs, crunching chords and keyboard textures, on songs like "Orange Carpet", "Pilgrim Boots", and "Coal Mine", to anchor down Paralyzed's bluesy grooves and in turn allow Binder the freedom and room to not only express himself vocally but also to unleash an absolute scorching array of solos, together these four musicians creating something that is both magical and mind-blowing.


Desert Psychlist could easily have gone into a track by track analysis of all the songs that populate "Heavy Road" but we felt that would detract a little from you, the readers/listeners, discovering for yourselves the many delights that inhabit this excellent album, all we will say is that "Heavy Road" is an album that will make any "skip" functions you may have attached to your mode of listening totally and utterly redundant.
Check it out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones



Friday, 15 July 2022

BLACK CAPRICORN ~ CULT OF BLOOD .... review

Desert Psychlist has probably bored some of you rigid with our slavering appreciation of Italy's scuzz rock/acid doom sub-genre but we refuse to apologise for promoting the likes of Black Spell, Demonio, Sonic Demon and others because the lysergic laced fuzzed drenched doom these bands explore is something we think deserves your attention. The sound these bands bring to the table obviously owes a huge debt to Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard (especially the latter) but it also possible it owes a debt to a band living literally almost on their doorstep. Black Capricorn hail from the island of Sardinia and although their early sonic attack leant more towards doom of a traditional flavour there was always an element of grainy fuzzed out "scuzziness" about their sound,. The band, whose current line up consists of Rachela Piras (drums); Virginia Piras (bass) and Fabrizio Monni (guitars/vocals), briefly disbanded in 2019 only to reconvene again  in 2021 whence they almost immediately started working on new songs , those songs have now been finished, recorded and are now ready for consumption via the bands fifth album "Cult of Blood" (Majestic Mountain Records), an enthralling mix of old and new school doominess tinted with just a hint of good old "scuzz

Things start off suitably "scuzzed" out and fuzzy with "Secret Society of Seven", Rachela and Virginia Piras laying down an impressive grainy bedrock of rhythmic proto-doom over which Monni layers distorted guitar refrains and searing guitar solos while also telling us in clean melodic and ear catching tones of some of the "Seven's" nefarious dealings and ritual practices. Some will be reminded of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats in the way that Black Capricorn blend this songs blustering heaviness with a hook laden vocal melody but for their new albums next track, "Worshipping the Bizarre Reverend" the band pay homage to another band with a song referencing the traditional doom and heavy metal of  Finland's Reverend Bizarre, the band dispensing with the grainy stoner-like fuzz of  of their opening track and opting for a thicker denser dynamic that alternates between strident and galloping and low, slow and heavy with Monni's vocals taking on a deeper darker tone. It is the previous songs lower slower dynamic that informs next song "Giants of Prama" , its atmospheric dirge-like groove, driven by Rachela's steady pounding percussion and Virginia's growling fuzz drenched bass, is given extra atmospheric gravitas thanks to Monni's crunching power chords, tasteful blues infused solos and monastic like vocals. For "Godsnake Djamballah" Black Capricorn opt to go instrumental and experimental and manage to pull it off surprisingly well, the Piras sisters laying down a low slow doomic groove over which Monni layers a smorgasbord of effects and guitar trickery. We are back in Uncle Acid territory again for "Snake of the Wizard" with Black Capricorn once again successfully balancing melody with might on a song that walks a nice line between scuzzy proto-metal and traditional doom while for "Witch of Endor" they re-enter the realms of low slow and heavy but then take the songs enjoyment level up several notches by adding a little heavy psych texturing and colour into the equation. Black Capricorn close "Cult of Blood" with "Uddadhadder" a hypnotic opus with exotic undertones that boasts Arabian guitar textures, eastern rhythms and droning bass motifs over which mantra-like vocals are reverentially intoned, the song serving as a bewitching finale to a totally captivating album of quality Italian doom.


Black Capricorn are back and with the release  of "Cult of Blood" it almost feels like they never went away, the dank dark tones we have come to love from this band are still all very much in evidence on their new opus as is their commitment to delivering doom of quality and substance, let's hope this superb doomic combo never go away again.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 13 July 2022

LES NADIE ~ DESTIERRO Y SIEMBRA .... review

 

Gather around Ladies and Gentlemen for today, for your entertainment, we present a marvel of the modern age, a a two headed beast from the depths of the Southern Hemisphere that will cause you to swoon in amazement and gasp in wonder. This dual headed phenomenon has resided in the Argentinian province of  Córdoba for many a year and up until now has been kept a closely guarded secret, its existence known only to a chosen few, but now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can reveal its identity to the world. This beast goes by the name of Les Nadie and the sound emanating from the two heads that make up its whole is one that can cause mountains to crumble and buildings to shake and if you don't believe us then listen to this recording of this beasts roar which has been released for your listening pleasure beneath the title "Destierro y Siembra"


Of course the intro to this review is just Desert Psychlist flexing our artistic licence and attempting to tongue in cheek mimic the verbal spiel of  one of those moustachioed top hat wearing barkers that can be found at fairgrounds and circuses, however that does not mean that there are not grains of truth to be found in those words. Les Nadie does have two heads in that it is a band made up of two individuals, Juan Conde (guitar/vocals) and Rodri Deladerova (drums), and as for the beast part well the sound these two make together most definitely has its fair share of feral and bestial moments.
What we didn't allude to in our intro is that Les Nadie are a band not averse to throwing a few off kilter and quirky curveballs into their blend of stoner metal and heavy psych grooviness. This becomes immediately apparent on the albums first track, "Grito el indio", a quasi instrumental that starts life with a lightly distorted blues motif then explodes into fully fuzzed out and overdriven stoner/desert riff with doomic overtones. So when do these curveballs make their presence felt we hear you ask... well if  high pitched wordless wailing, bell mimicking effects, discordant guitar solos and weird grunting is not curveball enough for you...well we don't know what else will be. "Zhonda" follows and begins strident and busy with Deladerova laying down a barrage of busy powerful percussion over which Conde layers raucous and heavily distorted guitar refrains, that is until the vocals appear (Spanish) and the raucousness of the guitar falls away to be replaced by what sounds like keyboards, but could be a guitar effect, pinging and popping over Conde's clean gritty lyrical warbling's and wordless falsetto. The rest of the album follows a similar path to what has gone before but with subtle deviations along the way, "Siembra/Destierro" jams a desert style groove broken up by going off on weird and wonderful tangents, "Helledén" eases things down a notch or two and sees Conde getting in touch vocally with his Latin roots, "Babas D'allah" throws the hammer down with a stop start groove that alternates between liquid and lysergic and crunching and metallic while "Del Pombero" takes everything that has been explored previously on this album and crams it all together in one song. The album signs out with "Venenauta" a short experimental piece that is more a soundscape than an actual song, all weird effects and guitar arpeggios, its a strange piece to finish on but then again there is nothing straightforward about anything on this album so it could be argued that its inclusion is quite fitting and in keeping with the albums underlying quirkiness.


Slightly skewered and left of centre Les Nadie's "Destierro y Siembra" is an album that alternates between following all the usual musical rules and breaking them, it is an album that confuses as much as it enthrals but that is also its beauty, it can be a challenging listen at times but despite this always a worthwhile one.
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones