Wednesday, 27 September 2023


Orbiter, not to be confused with the Florida metal outfit, the Norwegian stoner metal combo or the New Haven post-rock duo (all of whom bear the same name) are a collective of musicians hailing from Helsinki, Finland who jam doomy grooves blended with elements of psych and alt-metal. The band, Carolin (vocals); Alexander (guitars); Tuomas (bass) and Sami (drums) have been doing their thing since 2017 but first came to Desert Psychlist's attention via their 2020 EP "The Deluge", a collection of Sabbath inspired psychedelic tinted doom fronted by exquisite and quite unique vocals. Three years and a pandemic after "The Deluge" the band return to grace our ears off with some new music, this time in the form of a full album entitled "Hollow World".(Argonauta Records)

Beneath artwork, that reminds Desert Psychlist of paintings often found gracing the walls of British middle class households in the early 70's, lies a music that has that rare quality of being heavy yet strangely soothing. Opening track "Silence Breaks" is the perfect example of how Orbiter achieve this heavy but soothing balancing act, the songs heavy pounding rhythms and thrumming dank riffs are exactly what you would expect to hear from a band who have thrown their collective hats into the doom metal ring but are offset by a vocal that is an intriguing mix of monotonic and ethereal. Orbiter move into slightly more uptempo doomic waters for next track "Beneath" still dank, still heavy but somewhat more strident, a stridency matched by vocalist Carolin shifting her delivery up a gear and adding a touch more soaring urgency into her vocal attack. Third song "Kolibri", is a beautiful instrumental piece for guitar that works both as a standalone track and as a companion piece to title track "Hollow World" where we find Orbiter once again balancing moments of powerful heaviness with moments of lilting serenity, an element of lounge lizard jazziness sneaking into the songs undulating dynamic in places. Orbiter bring a touch of Nordic folkishness into play for next track "Raven Bones" with Sami laying down a tribalistic drum tattoo behind Tuomas' low liquid bass lines and Alexander's thrumming darkened riffs, Carolin adding the cherry to the cake with a vocal that shifts between fragile smokiness and mournful majesty . The band go down the instrumental psych route for next number "Transmissions", Sami and Tuomas laying down a circular rhythmic groove over which a variety of  electronic effects burp, burble and blip, if that sounds a bit weird it's because it is, but it is also very enjoyable. It seems that everyone gets their moment in the sun on this album and "Under Your Spell" is Carolin's moment, backed by a lone guitar she sings a tale of secret passageways and tangled roots in lilting tones that sit somewhere between folk(ish) and jazzy. Closing song "Last Call" finds Carolin reverting back to the slightly monotonic delivery she employed on the albums opening track against a backdrop of atmospheric groove that in its initial stages boasts a low slow and heavy dynamic but gradually increases in tempo as the song progresses towards its dark droning finale.

Elements of psych, occult rock, folk and doom can all be found floating around in the music Orbiter bring to our ears with "Hollow World" but in truth they are not really one or the other, they have a sound totally unique to themselves, a sound that is as refreshing as it is different.
Check 'em out ...

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 26 September 2023


 That mysterious essence that seems to inspire so many Swedish bands to create quality heavy music appears to have once again made its way into the Swedish water system this time infecting four guys from Gothenburg working under the collective title of Stone Of Duna. The band, who at the time of writing this review have not yet set foot on a stage, have just released, via Bandcamp, their debut album "Moonsplitter" a promising and most enjoyable blending of fuzzy stoner/hard rock, prog metal and psych that we guarantee you are going to love. 

"Dirge For Fallen Giants" opens things up, its doomic intro, dark and throbbing, soon making way for a stuttering stoner metal like groove made strangely effective thanks to its understated but totally in the zone drumming. The songs lyrical content,  mythological and poetic, is delivered in powerful clean tones that possess a soulful clarity not usually the norm at the heavier end of the rock spectrum. "Deathbright" follows and sees the band bringing a little prog-like texturing to the table along with some nice grunge/alt-metal like vocal dynamics and off the scale guitar pyrotechnics, its understandable why they chose this as a single as it hits on every level. The proggish texturing of the previous track comes into its own on "Stygian Slumber" with crunching chord progressions, growling bass lines and thunderous drum patterns sharing space with gentle arpeggios, liquid low end and restrained but still swinging percussion beneath a vocal that soars and swoops with melodic muscularity. Desert Psychlist may be swimming against the tide here, as people are already making comparisons with TOOL, but we hear an element of Dream Theatre in next song "The Seven Aspect Snake" albeit slightly more thundersome and doomic and fronted by vocals that do not possess an annoying wobble. Final number and title track "Moonsplitter" sees Stone Of Duna going large, a ten minute plus opus that allows them to put all their musical eggs in one basket, crunching heaviness, grungy dynamics and prog complexity all blended together to create one epic wave goodbye that will leave many wondering what a second Stone Of Duna album may one day bring.

Comparisons are already being made between Stone Of Duna and some of the big hitters in the prog-metal genre but these guys are more than just another prog related metal outfit, they also incorporate the grittiness of stoner rock,  the dynamics of alt-metal and the dankness of doom into their sound. "Moonsplitter" is not just an album for prog metal fans it is an album for anyone who appreciates good, well played and well written rock music. 
Check it out ....

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Monday, 25 September 2023


Australian sextet Astronomie came into being in 2017 when guitarist Bean and bassist Kenny Slessor decided to combine their love of sci-fi with their love of slow heavy music and then proceeded to recruit musicians who could make that vision. a blending of space rock swirliness and heavy doom sludginess, a reality. The band, which also includes James Webster (vocals); Anna KG (backing vocals); Glen K (lead guitar) and Android (drums & percussion), call what they do "sublime heaviness" a statement Desert Psychlist finds very hard to argue with.

Opening song "The Infinite" begins just how you would hope any heavy album would open, a brief intro and then straight into the main riff, a chugging heavily fuzzed out riff driven by low booming bass and thunderous drum patterns enhanced by occasional searing lead breaks. Now that would already be enough to catch the interest of any discerning fan of heavy music but then Asronomie up the ante by decorating those resulting grooves with vocals that are a mix of mellow, yet strong, lead and powerful harmonies before finishing things off with some Hawkwind-esque swirliness, its a powerful opening statement. We have already mentioned Hawkwind, it is hard not to when discussing space themed rock music, and next track "Galactic Jack" is pure Hawkwind worship from its Nick Turner like vocal delivery right down to its space boogie type dynamics and Michael Moorcock flavoured lyrical content. Things take a darker turn for title track "Interstellar Nomad", the song still retaining an essence of that sonic vibe borrowed from Ladbroke Grove's finest  hippy space rockers but this time twinned with a touch of doomic dankness. We are offered a brief but quaint interlude with "Syzygy" then its back to the heavy for "Moondozer", the song boasting a low slow dynamic more akin to stoner doom than it is to space rock. Things get a little sludgy for "War Eternal" the songs dark lyrics telling of "the deaths of a billion young men" is mirrored with dank heavy guitar tones and mournful vocal melodies while final song, "Sea of Thirst" paints a lyrical picture of  a dying universe against a musical backdrop that incorporates everything from crunching doomic riffs to swirling bluesy solos, its vocals delivered in a weird but effective meter that's not quite rapping but not quite singing either, more a melodic shout.

Creating a sound that is both crushing AND spacious is no easy feat but with "Interstellar Nomad" Astronomie have managed to pull off that feat with unerring ease. As debut albums go this one's up there with some of the best.
Check it out ...  

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 19 September 2023



Desert Psychlist loves a good book and our favourite reading material is sci-fi and fantasy, now why do we need to tell you that you might ask, well the reason is that is the artwork for the album we are about to review is laid out very much like something that might grace the cover of such a novel, bold print over a painting depicting an alien landscape. The album in question is "Arrival of the Waves" by New Hampshire outfit Abel Blood,  Adam Joslyn (guitar/bass/vocals); Malcolm Salls (guitar/bass/vocals) and Jim DeLuca (drums), and the music concealed beneath that artwork is of an equally alien and otherworldly quality.

"Arrival of the Waves" is not typical of the albums we usually review here on Desert Psychlist, it has riffs of course but those riffs are not the prime driving force behind the music gracing its nine songs, it's vocals are neither stoner gritty or metallically harsh instead they possess a goth rock quality once the preserve of bands like Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy, and if that was not enough it's grooves routinely shift between spaced out and lilting and heavy and droning. "Arrival of the Waves" doesn't quite fit into any of the usual boxes we create for our music and that is its greatest asset, it's an album that melds together everything from doom to Americana, an album of music that'll tear your nerve ends to shreds with its caustic refrains one minute then gently wrap you up in a blanket of melodious swirling ambience the next. Tracks like "Kept Them Past", "Reflections", "Scrape The Dirt" and the epic "Mental Note" are not just songs they are audial experiences that both enrich and elevate and take you to places only really great music can and "Arrival of the Waves" is REALLY great music.

Abel Blood have broken the mould with "Arrival of the Waves" they have created something that speaks to its listener not just on a musical level but also on a spiritual level, a mixture of heaviness and transcendency that goes beyond  just being sound and becomes something almost tangible.
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Monday, 18 September 2023



Today, due to dour weather and various health problems, Desert Psychlist was searching for something that might lift our mood and make us feel a bit better about our situation, something that met our heavy, fuzzy and doomic criteria but still had a bit of a feel good factor about it, and like a good nurse Bandcamp provided the medicine. The tonic we found came in the shape of a four song EP titled "Warriors of Doom" recorded by a four piece from Amsterdam going by the name of Fuzzard, an EP that despite its heaviness carried somewhat of an upbeat and joyous swagger in its gait. Some of you might remember the names Bas (guitar, vocals); Arianne (guitar, vocals); Tijmen (bass, vocals) and Niels (drums) gracing the line up of another Amsterdam band called Gaai and that would be because it is the same band but whereas with Gaai this line-up toyed with a more stoner/psych sound with Fuzzard they go all in doom. Now given that Fuzzard have hardly any presence on social media there is good chance they will never know how much their little EP has brightened up our day, let alone that it has moved us to pen a few words about it, but never mind we did it anyway.

Fuzzard open up their new release with "Subject #69", guitar tones dialled to fuzzy and rhythms pushing thunderous, now given that this is an EP with the word "doom" in its title you might be thinking this dynamic is somewhat par for the course but then in come the vocals and turn things completely upside down, instead of an Ozzy type nasal whine or a Dio-esque howl what we get is clean lead and shared harmonies delivered in an almost playful meter that are in perfect sync with the songs equally playful but nevertheless heavy groove. For next track, "Serpent King", guitarist Arianne steps up to the mic to tell us a tale of "emerald spires" and "lizards and snakes" in creamy smooth powerful tones, even throwing in a token growl at one point, against a backdrop of gnarly occult rocking doom. Title track "Warriors of Doom" is a song with its tongue pushed so far into its cheek its in danger of escaping its mouth entirely,  it's lyrics are a satirical overview of climate change and its effects on the planet delivered in an almost comedic and somewhat vaudevillian vocal style, it's a song with a serious political message but that delivers its message with an element of irony attached. Fuzzard bring things to a close with a cover of Ansley Dunbar's "The Warning" cleverly mixing the bluesiness of Dunbar's original with the more proto-doom version made famous by Black Sabbath while still managing to put their own unique spin on things.

Fuzzard's "Warriors of Doom" is one of those releases you fall in love with but are never quite sure if others will share your enthusiasm for, this may be because "doom" is a generally expected to be dour dank and dark with fun not something many fans look for in the genre. This EP however is both dank and dark AND FUN and if you don't like that then it's your loss.
Check it out ...

 © 2023 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 16 September 2023



Its seems like a while since we at Desert Psychlist brought you an album from a non-English speaking/singing band but we return to doing just that today with an absolute beauty in the shape of Sótano's "El Semimuerto". Those with good memories may remember us waxing lyrical on these very pages about the virtues of the Chilean bands 2017 album ,"El Rey Máquina", a mind blowing collection of songs that blended blustering stoner metal with aspects of old school hard rock, but then the band slipped off our radar and we feared that they may have called it a day, thankfully it seems they were just on an extended hiatus and now they are back harder, louder and crunchier than ever.

"El Semimuerto" kicks off with "Yomotsu" and within seconds of hearing its doomy intro, a circular guitar riff slowly joined by low, low bass and tight solid percussion, it feels almost as if this band had never been away, especially when those clean but gritty vocal harmonies kick in over the songs slightly Sabbathian main groove. Next track  "La Habitación de la Bruja" raises the tempo up a notch or two and wanders into slightly more metallic waters with caustic guitar tones ramping up the gnarliness quotient to just the right side of nasty. "Locochaino" is up next, a glorious mix of old school heavy rock and up tempo doom graced with an extremely ear-pleasing vocal melody. "Semimuerto" follows in much the same vein as its predecessor but this time with a touch more strident and also boasting a face-melting guitar solo. We then arrive at "Calera en Fuego" and here we find Sótano injecting a little Latin funk and heavy psych into the musical equation all topped off with another superb vocal melody, the only criticism you could possibly level at this song is that at just over four minutes you'll want it to be longer. "Pagano" and "Micronauta" follow, the former another of those hard rock/doom barnburners, the latter a mix of  aggressive punkish swagger and thrash like furiosity. Final number "Paralasis" is like the missing jig-saw piece that completes the whole picture, Sabbathian riffs, heavy psych textures, funky Latin rhythms and easy on the ear vocal melodies all coming together in one mind-blowing finale..

Iván Villanueva (guitar/vocals);Víctor Silva (bass/vocals) and Alejandro Sanhueza (drums) hint, in their liner notes for this album, that pressures of work and life played a huge part in their lack of activity on the recording front over the last few years, so its credit to their dogged determination and belief in their music that they have been able to come up with anything at all let alone an album of the magnitude of "El Semimuerto". 
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 14 September 2023


One would imagine that the gas giant Jupiter casts a considerably large shadow so it would make sense that a band calling themselves Shadow of Jupiter would have an equally big sound, and they do. Shadow of Jupiter, John Piotrowski (vocals); Colin Peterson (guitars); Scott Brakebill (bass) and Adam Kazragys (drums), are no new kids on the block these are musicians with a rich musical pedigree who bring to this project influences that range from death metal through to the avant-garde and all stops in-between. With Shadow of Jupiter however the emphasis is on jamming a more stoner/doom/heavy psych dynamic, a dynamic built not just on riffs but also on atmosphere and texture, all of which are major components of their debut release "Porta Coeli"

Shadow of Jupiter's "Porta Coeli" could probably be called a "doom album" but to call it just that would be doing it an injustice, there is so much more to this album than just doom. The album starts with title song "Shadow of Jupiter" a moody intro piece featuring dissonant droning guitar textures and is then followed by "Majesty", three minutes of funkalicious hard rock fronted by a vocal that oozes the sort of gritty soulfulness usually associated with bands from the classic rock era. Next up is "RAVEN" a mid-tempo doomster with a bluesy underbelly, the songs lyrics a cryptic cry for peace framed by a dark and heavy, yet seductive groove. "Daisy Cutter" begins life atmospheric and moody then erupts into a groove that sits somewhere between heavy metal and proto doom and boasts one of those recurring guitar licks once favoured by the likes of Budgie and UFO, the songs lyrics a rant against the world's injustices delivered in the form of a prayer. "Fate of Nations" finds Shadow of Jupiter directing their ire at those who will happily trade other peoples misery for their own gain, a sort of "War Pigs" for the now generation played out to a soundtrack of atmospheric doom metal. Final track "Bleeding Out" tackles our own mental health and the pressures put on us by a broken world, Piotrowski telling us in grave tones of how he has to "try each day to improve as a man" and "force a smile while they snuff out the light", Peterson enhancing the songs feeling of melancholy and misery with droning guitar textures and swirling dark solos ably supported by Brakebill's thick booming bass lines and Kazragys' pounding solid percussion.

The word that comes most to mind while listening to Shadow of Jupiter's "Porta Coeli" is "class", there are no endless screeching guitar solo's or sudden plummets into brutality, that's not to say these guys could not do that if a song asked for it. The songs are what is king here and these consummate musicians dress those songs to perfection with a level of musical competency more akin to that of jazz musicians. This is an amazing debut from a band we are sure to hear more from in the future.
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones