Wednesday, 31 August 2016

LOS DISIDENTES DEL SUCIO MOTEL ~ HUMAN COLLAPSE ....preview

Ripple Music, are fast becoming the go-to label for quality, 70's influenced, hard/stoner rock so it came as a bit of a surprise to some when Todd Severin announced that Ripple were stepping outside of their comfort zone and signing French post-rock/sludge exponents Los Disidentes Del Sucio Motel to the label.
LDDSM are, Nico - Guitar/Vocals, Julien - Bass/Vocals, Romain - Guitar, Greg - Drums and Dany - Keyboard/Vocals, five guys from Strasbourg, France who have been strutting their brand of fuzz heavy rock around Europe since 2005 and in that time have released two full length albums "Soundtrack From The Motion Picture" (2010) and "Arcane" (2013) . This year (2016) sees the band releasing their third and latest album "Human Collapse" (Ripple Music).


LDDSM are a completely different beast from the wide eyed stoners that made "Soundtrack From The Motion Picture", the Kyuss -like grooves and QOTSA quirkiness that were the hallmark of their sound back then still remain but are buried under a heavier more post-rock groove. 2013's "Arcane" went some way to heralding this new direction with it's harder edged riffs and earthier vocal tones but "Human Collapse" sees the transformation from punky desert urchins to post-rock sludge monsters come to completion. Darker, both musically and lyrically, than previous albums "Human Collapse" is an exhilarating listen, if not a little disturbing in places, and shows a band willing and unafraid to throw caution to the wind and take a few chances.and having taken those chances..then pull them off!

"Human Collapse" releases 9th September (2016) and will be available on all formats via Ripple Music

Monday, 29 August 2016

COMACOZER ~ ASTRA PLANETA ....review





 Three piece Australian psychonauts Comacozer will be no strangers to those of us who spend too many hours scrutinizing the stoner, psych and doom pages of Bandcamp, the band have been a first stop shop for quality instrumental music since the release of their "Sessions Demo" in 2014. The band  followed this with two further releases, "Deloun" (2015) and "Deloun Sessions"  a compilation of the two previous  EP's released the same year. This year (2016) sees the band releasing their first full length debut album "Astra Planeta" via Dutch label Headspin Records.


Comacozer, Rick Burke (Guitar), Richard Elliot (Bass) and Andrew Pana (Drums), have with their new album raised the bar for instrumental rock to an all time high. Packed to the brim with eastern mysticism, spacey ambience and gnarly stoner riffage the five songs, that populate "Astra Planeta", take the listener on a series of sonic journey's around the Cosmos returning to Earth only fleetingly before taking off again in another direction. Middle Eastern/North African themes run through "Astra Planeta" like blood runs through a vein seasoning each and every song with rich exotic flavours, flavours that are further enhanced by the high levels of musicianship the three members bring to the table. Burke uses his guitar like a light sabre cutting through the grooves created beneath him by Elliot and Pana like a knife through butter, using an array of effects from his pedalboard to fill every nook and cranny with subtle textures and vibrant colourings, imitating sitars one minute, soaring like a bird on an Earthless type psych wigout the next. Beneath this sterling display of six string magnificence Elliot's bass buzzes and thrums with a deep creamy resonance, the bassists loose almost funky delivery an integral component in Comacozer's sonic armoury. Pana's solid percussive backbeat is the platform from which the two guitarists take off into their flights of lysergic madness but that is not to say the drummer is just a journeyman making up the numbers, far from it, he is the anchor that secures the groove  but he is also the tiller navigating and directing that groove. The band are not afraid to experiment with more traditional instrumentation either as can be witnessed on the eclectic and Arabian tinted "Navigating The Mandjit" with its use of the bouzouki-like baglama, (a six-string Hellenic instrument with a mandolin type tone), and the use of tablas and darbukas (a Middle-Eastern goblet shaped drum usually held under the arm). The band can mix it up to, blending into their jams elements from a variety of differing musical sources, gnarly stoner/psych  (Saurian Dream), tranquil and ambient space (The Mind That Feeds The Eye), desert funk (Illumination Cloud) and lysergic desert doom (Hypnotized by Apophis), all played with a level and intensity that at times is breathtaking!
Check 'em out..

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 make....no 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

VIOLENCE OF THE SUN ~ PERCEPTIONISM ..... review



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

FALL OF AN EMPIRE ~ CROWEATER: AN ECHO IN THE BONE ..... review



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

KING BUFFALO ~ ORION ...review



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

AUGUSTINE AZUL ~ LOMBRAMORFOSE ...... review


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

HOWLING GIANT ~ BLACK HOLE SPACE WIZARD: PART 1 ........ review



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 .......

Friday, 12 August 2016

SHOGUN ~ SHOGUN EP ..... review


Cross-pollination is not an uncommon occurrence within the stoner rock scene, band members hook up with other bands members to do this or that side project on an almost daily basis. What is unusual is when those band members then switch to a completely different instrument, to those they play in their own bands, for these projects/new beginnings
Shogun are made up of Max Muenchow - Bass, Alvin Vega - Drums, Sam Wallman - Guitar and Joe Widen - Vocals and apart from Vega's inclusion are a mash up of members of two of Milwaukee's finest underground bands Ahab's Ghost and Galactic Hatchet. Things start getting a little confusing though when you realise that the drummer in Galactic Hatchet is the bassist and vocalist in Ahab's Ghost but just the vocalist in Shogun and that the bassist/vocalist in Galactic Hatchet is just the bassist in Shogun while Sam Walliman, the guitarist in Shogun is also the drummer for Ahab's Ghost as well as the producer of Galactic Hatchet and the engineer behind both Ahab's Ghost and Shogun! It's like the stoner equivalent of the old "Who's on first base, Watts on second" skit Abbott and Costello made famous.
What is certain though is that whoever is doing what, on what, the resulting outcome these four guys have created with this  their self titled debut is something a little special!


"I Am The Harbinger" opens "Shogun", coming out of the speakers like a  fuel -injected goods train, heavy, powerful and unstoppable The band describe their sonic attack as "riffs upon riffs ,upon more riffs" and its hard to disagree with that statement especially when confronted with the intensity of groove the band display over the next 5 minutes 35 seconds that make up this track. Fuzz drenched guitar and bass riffage assail the senses, driven by powerhouse percussive might which are then overlaid with a vocal so damn good it sends shivers down the spine, and this is just track one!
Next track " Electric Kool Aid (Acid Test)" continues in much the same vein as the first jamming an almost proto-doom groove laced with elements of 70's hard rock and 00's stoner/psych. Widen sings of  a "hypnotic shaman" and a "brown skinned woman" against a doomy, blues flecked, backdrop of booming bass and pounding drums over which guitarist Wallman lays heavily distorted riffage and tasty hooks and solo's.
"Quest for Freedom" slows things down with a bluesy,doom drenched foray into the more lysergic areas of the bands sound. Wallman takes most of the honours here, his guitar soaring and swooping like an eagle on a thermal updraft over Muenchow's thrumming  heavy bass lines and Vega's understated and intricate percussive work. Widen's soulful vocal sits above the groove, full of depth and emotion his delivery perfectly pitched to convey the songs lyrical scope and vision.
"Savage" begins with Vega exploding all over his kit before being joined by Muenchow with a deeply distorted bass line, a touch of feed back from Wallman's guitar and the song takes off into seriously addictive  stoner/desert groove
"Matriarch" sees Muenchow laying down a ridiculously chest vibrating bass line that slowly builds layer by layer until segueing into a pulsating low tuned doom groove. Widen is on top form here his distinctive tone injecting an element of soulful melancholy and aching loneliness into the songs heartfelt lyrical content, he even gets to sound a touch Ozzy-ish in the songs Sabbath-esque middle section.
Album closer "Substratum" sees Shogun putting all their eggs in one basket with stunning effect.The band lay down a groove in keeping with the songs title, low, downtuned and heavy with the emphasis on heavy. Muenchow's bass is once again the foundation on which the band build their sound, his low, pummeling earth shaking four string tones locking in tight with Vegas' busy, unfussy percussive backbeats, the pair building a wall of groove around which Wallman's guitar swirls, swoops and soars, the guitarist painting scintillating psychedelic pictures with his fretboard mastery.
Widen delivers yet another masterclass in soulful rock singing his vocal here is beyond superb,if there were an award for best voice in underground rock then Joe Widen would be up there near the top.


As I wrote on the bands Bandcamp page...
Part proto-metal, part bluesy stoner, part heavy psych and coated with super smooth vocals this is a must have for anyone who loves good intelligent underground rock music
Check 'em out....

Friday, 5 August 2016

ELDER DRUID ~ THE ATTIC SESSIONS ...... review


Warlocks, wizards and witches are usually the chosen lyrical fodder of 70's prog bands and 80's power metal but Ballymena fuzznauts Elder Druid prove that it's not only old hippies that are partial to a magical theme ...ot three.
Elder Druid are Gregg McDowell - Vocals, Jake Wallace - Lead Guitar, Mikey Scott - Rhythm Guitar, Dale Hughes - Bass Guitar and Brien Gillen - Drums, and came together in 2015 in their home town of Ballymena, Northern Ireland with the intention of blending a love of the desert grooves of Kyuss and Dozer with those of heavier stoner metal bands like Electric Wizard and Sleep.
The band so far have three releases under their belt two of which, "Otherworld" and  "Ides of March", are one track affairs recorded live at the Loft, Belfast, the third and most recent is a four track EP recorded live at Attic Studios, Belfast .."The Attic Sessions"


"Sellsword" kicks off "The Attic Sessions" with a delicious circular Kyuss-like desert groove, Wallace and Scott's guitars, drenched with fuzz, laying down an infectious sand blasted riff under which Hughes bass and Gillen's drums lock solid and tight. McDowell's vocals sit above this sandy groove, delivered with wide-eyed ferocity, his tones  harsh and visceral and supplied with a slight rap metre that brings to mind a feral Zach de la Roche (Rage Against The Machine). The track ends in sustain and feedback and gives the listener just enough time to catch his/her breath before taking off into the next track.
"Warlock" eases off the pedal a tad, the groove still very sandy and desert-like but with a touch of sabbathian intensity thrown into the mix. Scott holds down the riff, combining with Hughes booming bass to lay down a thick slab of brooding refrain allowing Wallace the freedom to inject little touches of colour and texture with his exquisite licks, hooks and solo's. McDowell's vocal tone here is a little deeper, still as intense and guttural but tempered with a touch more restraint  Beneath this monolithic onslaught of  voice and stringed instruments Gillen keeps everything neat and tidy with an outstanding display of rhythmic precision and time keeping.
"Red Priestess" opens with a moody guitar motif backed up with a subtle bass line then explodes into a Sabbath-esque groove bolstered by throat shredding vocals, massive dark power chords and Gillen's pounding drums. Heavy, dense and leaning more towards the sludge end of the stoner spectrum than the previous tracks it manages to avoid falling into the realms of extreme metal by utilising a large dose of, good old fashioned, "swing" within its down tuned and titanic groove.
Final track "Reigning Hell" sees Elder Druid taking a stroll down doomier paths. Hughes bass anchors down the songs dark atmospheric groove locking in tight with Gillen 's drums and Scott's fuzz drenched rhythm guitar and allowing Wallace free rein to step occasionally outside the riff and fill the spaces with incendiary solos and hooks. McDowell's vocals once again employ a slight rap metre, his harsh gutteral delivery momentarily dropped in places for a cleaner, but still throaty, tone.
The song is taken to its conclusion with Hughes, Scott and Gillen jamming the songs doomy groove while Wallace solo's overhead then ends on another wave of feedback and droning sustain.


Those that are regular readers of these pages will know harsh and guttural vocals are something not big on Desert Psychlist's radar but there is a freshness and vitality about what Elder Druid do that has found a place in our hearts and caused a re-think. If you like your desert grooves heavy, tottering on the edges of extreme with a elements of sludge and doom well....
Check'em out....

Thursday, 4 August 2016

SHADOW WITCH ~ SUN KILLER ....... preview/review


Back in April, this year Desert Psychlist reviewed a three song promo release of an upcoming album from Kingston N,Y,'s Shadow Witch describing it as " mix of stoner fuzz'n'roll mixed with a little NWOBHM and doom that is then salted with a touch of psychedelic seasoning". Well it's been four months since the band teased us with those three tunes and on Aug 15th (2016) the band will release, via Snake Charmer Coalition, their full length debut "Sun Killer".


From the first moment of screaming feedback that introduces first track "(D.O.A.) Anticipation" you somehow sense you are in for something a little special here. The next  thing you notice about Shadow Witch is they are not a stoner band , they are not a doom band, they are neither classic or hard rock, not grunge, metal or even post -rock....they are all of them! They are the band your big brother listened to , the band your dad loved , the one your sister lost her virginity to, the one your mother screamed for to be turned down, the one you always wanted to be in...Shadow Witch are a ROCK band pure and simple.
Like the history and the present of rock collated into one place Shadow Witch's "Sun Killer" is neither retro or modern but carries within its sonic cannon aspects of both. Desert Psychlist could go through every track on "Sun Killer" pointing out similarities to this band or obvious influences from that band but that would take away the joy of the listener discovering these things out for his or her-self. What can said is that the combined forces of  Anton Van Kleek (drums), ‎David Pannullo (bass/voice), Earl Lundy ( lead voice/mellotron/loops) and Jeremy Hall (guitars) have created an album that has the potential to crossover between genres and sub-genres without the need to compromise. From the depths of the "underground" to the brightly lit "mainstream" there is something here for everyone.
Check 'em out....

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

BASTARD LORD ~ COSMIC TOMB ..... review



Buffalo, New York sits on the shores of Lake Erie and numbers among its musical sons saxophonist Grover Washington Jr,, funk and soul legend Rick James and renowned  rock bassist Billy Sheehan. To that list we can now add the names of vocalist/bassist -David Braymiller, guitarist - Mike Hermann and drummer - Jeremy Coupe or as they are collectively known Bastard Lord.
Bastard Lord first came under the Desert Psychlist radar with their self titled, 2015, album "Bastard Lord", a four track riff fest of  heavy stoner,doom and psych. (available on cd at Twin Earth Records) which garnered a fairly good response from both critics and fans of  heavy "underground" music alike. Buoyed by this response and with heads full of new ideas  the band  returned to the studio this year to record new songs, songs that can now be heard on the bands new album "Cosmic Tomb".


"Cosmic Tomb" is a heavy album, brutal in parts but darkly beautiful in others, from the gentle fingerpicked acoustic guitar intro of the instrumental first track"Awakening" to the droning last note of the slightly disturbing final track "Reckoning" the listener is taken on journey through dark soundscapes of psychedelic doom and shimmering stoner metal. Braymiller's deep booming bass and Coupe's mighty thundering drums are the main driving force throughout the albums seven songs, the pair laying down massive slabs of groove for Hermann to garnish with psychedelic textures, fuzz drenched riffage and magma hot solo's. Braymiller supplies vocals throughout, his slightly monotone and gothic tones laid slightly back in the mix giving them a hazy ethereal feel totally suited to the dark grooves of doom surrounding them.
Bastard Lord have, in some quarters, been compared with UK legends Black Sabbath and it cannot be denied that there are elements of the Birmingham quartets influence to be found here, especially in the bluesy stoner metal grooves of  "Enshrined In Smoke", but to this writers ears Bastard Lord have found a groove and sound that although residing within that same metal/doom genre is still uniquely their own.
Check 'em out.....

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

WATCHER ~ S/T 3 SONG EP........ review


Way back in the 70's when I was at school, those of us who were into the heavier end of rock music usually fell into two camps, those that loved the bluesy hard rock of Led Zeppelin and those who worshipped at the alter of Black Sabbath. Arguments would flow back and forth who had the better singer, guitarist. drummer or bassist but nothing was ever resolved and no one ever agreed on anything..... except for one thing and that one thing was we all loved a little Welsh trio called Budgie. Budgie were a band who managed to draw from both Zeppelin and Sabbath, taking elements of both and blending them into something unique and completely their own. You might be wondering where i'm going with all this...well I'll tell you... i've just heard a five song EP from a Californian four piece that brought back memories of those days, that four piece have the same mixture of dark sabbathian riffage married to hard rock grooves and are called Watcher.



A crunching fuzz drenched circular guitar motif kicks off first track "Leave Me" backed by a big bass lines and pounding percussion all combining together to create a groove very much birthed in the seventies but raised in the 00's. Vocals are reminiscent of Rival Son's Jay Buchanan, soulful with a touch of bluesy timbre, his delivery powerful and perfectly pitched. He bellows and roars over a groove that  many could  describe as sabbathian with zeppelin-esque bluesy swagger but Desert Psychlist likes to call KICK-ASS
"Dirt Box" begins with a delicious bass line then segues into heavy blues groove that shifts through a number of differing dynamics and sees the vocalist soulfully sermonising like a lay preacher whilst the guitars tear the air with howling bluesy guitar solo's
"Sinner Lady" is a stonerized blues boogie fractured with moments of heavy doom drenched riffage and driving rhythmic  power. The vocalist once again proves his worth with yet another outstanding display of soulful rock vocalising
"PSW" sees Watcher  paying their experimental card, aan acid soaked instrumental with guitars feeding back and droning over a strident  bass and drum foundation, lysergic grooves going off on wild tangents before returning then spiralling away again. Loose, atmospheric and totally mesmerising it is without doubt the stand out track on the album.
"Hard Luck Hym" closes proceedings with a Zeppelin-esque blues scorcher spliced with touches of Sabbath-like atmospherics, a combination that brings to mind the rockier moments of New Jersey alt. bluesers Parlour Mob's "And You Were A Crow"
Only five tracks but if the potential shown in these  tracks is anything to go by then I predict good things for Watcher
Check 'em out....

Monday, 1 August 2016

THE JUDGE ~ THE JUDGE ....... review


Todd Severin at Ripple Music knows a good band when he hears one so it came as no surprise when news came through that he had signed up Granite City hard/classic rockers The Judge to his ever-growing roster, especially to those that had heard the bands 2014 demo "The Judge EP".
The Judge, Tyler Swope - Vocals, Dylan Jarrett - Guitar, Kevin Jones - Bass and Evan Anderson - Drums, have been through a few ups and downs to get where they are today but with Ripple behind them and the release of their first full length ,self-titled, album "The Judge" things are starting to look positively rosy


From the first few bars of  first track"The Witcher" you get an idea what this band are all about, this is not going to be some doom drenched and downtuned ride through the gates of hell, no, this is classic rock with the emphasis on "CLASSIC". Jarrett's Iommi-esque guitar licks solo's and hooks reek of lank long hair, flared denim and large silver crucifix's his wah drenched driving riffs and fills are the type of which you will never find gracing that of a black metal album. Vocals also leave you in no doubt of where this bands influences lie. Tyler Swope's voice and vocal range is perfectly suited to the 70's grooves surrounding it, sounding like a cross between Free/Bad Company's Paul Rodgers and UFO's Phil Mogg he effortlessly slides between the high and low notes that are so essential in this genre of music. Underneath the singer and guitarist the engine room of Jones and Anderson keep everything tight and solid, Jones's bass sound is big, bold and fluid and in places reminiscent of the late Andy Fraser (Free) Anderson meanwhile is smack on the beat economical when needed, wild and unrestrained when the moment calls for it, together they are the perfect foundation for Jarrett and Swope to build their performances around.
Eagle eared listeners with a knowledge of 70's classic/hard rock (myself included) could have a field day picking through the nine songs that make up "The Judge", pointing out a stolen lick here an obvious influence there but the best way to take in this album is to just sit back and take the whole package for what it is...a damn fine album of damn fine rock music.

SPIRIT DIVISION ~ NO RAPTURE ...... review


Many of us, who spend hours sitting in front of a keyboard staring at a monitor, trying to convey to others our love of this or that album, have secret yearnings to be rock stars, many of us will have an instrument of some sort or other sitting around gathering dust in the hope that one day.... one day we may just summon up the courage to step out from behind the PC and onto a stage and live the dream.
Chris Latta, writer at Indy Metal Shows, has done just that , the bassist/vocalist with Indiana bluesy doomers Spirit Division has managed to find a balance between writing about music and actually playing it.
Spirit Division have, since their inception in 2013, gone through a number of line up changes, starting as a quartet for their 2014 "Demo" then settling as a trio for their first full length 2015 album "Spirit Division", a format the band have stuck with for this their latest release "No Rapture".


"No Rapture" sees Spirit Division continuing with the blues tinted metal edges of their previous work but taking a firmer grip on the doomier elements that have always been at the core of their sonic onslaught.
 "Whispers In The Embers" emphasises this shift with its "epic" doom feel channelling the spirits of Altar of Oblivion and Gates of Slumber through its "gothic" toned vocal deliveries and its use of atmosphere and space.
Title track "No Rapture" sees the return of the bands bluesier side albeit wrapped in a blanket of  darkly fuzzed stoner doom. Latta and guitarist Stephen Hoffman trade off on the songs vocals and the two different tones competing and coming together is a stroke of genius that gives the songs groove a delicious element of "swing".
"When The Sun Explodes" opens with a few bars of Hoffman laying down a catchy circular riff unaccompanied before Jace Epple's drums and Latta's gnarly bass join in and the vocals begin.
With more hooks than a school cloakroom, part power metal, part stoner/desert and with a touch of early Hawkwind in it's totally addictive groove. this is the track that will remain with the listener long after the album is finished.
"Rewinding Life" begins with a backward taped effect then explodes into a stuttering stoner groove overlayed with angst riddled lyrics sang with an almost punkish aggression from Hoffman. Big shout goes out here to Epple who lays down a furious backbeat for Latta and Hoffman to lay their riffs over
"A Dark Request" comes out of the starting blocks on a wah drenched Hoffman guitar motif underpinned by Latta's and Epples tight rhythmic pulses. Hoffman handles the main vocals here with  with Latta on backing vocals, the two a perfect foil for each other The vibe created here is very much that of 70's hard rock yet there are elements of late 80's desert as well as more metallic 90's stoner that can also  be found among these grooves.
"The Mourning Song" is an instrumental piece that mixes a little psych in with the heavy. Hoffman peels off some seriously good solos over a throbbingly heavy bass, line supplied by Latta,  under which Epple once again proves his worth with another solid display of percussive power and finesse.
"Wendigo" closes the album pretty much the way it started, with another foray into the realms of epic/traditional doom. Latta handles the main vocal and sings a tale of searching for,finding and becoming a mythical beast set against a backdrop of pounding drums, dark powerchords and rumbling bass, replete with the requisite time signatures and tempo changes that make up any good doom song, and this is a good doom song!

Slightly schizophrenic but highly enjoyable "No Rapture" shows a band who are not gonna be tied down to one specific genre or sub-genre, a band who wear their diversity like a badge of honour, saying to the world this is what we do ...deal with it
Check 'em out,,,,,


Note*
Since the albums release Stephen Hoffman has left the band his place has now been taken up by Andrew Bowerman