Friday, 30 September 2016

THE HAZYTONES ~ THE HAZYTONES ..... review


The Hazytones, a three piece band from Montreal consisting of Mick Martel (guitar & vocals), Frey Coaster (bass & vocals) and Ulrick La Mast (drums), have, since their 2015 inception, been kicking some serious ass around the live circuits of their Canadian home turf as well as tweaking the ears of a few living outside it's borders. The trio are now extending their net to try and catch a worldwide audience by releasing their first, self titled, album "The Hazytones"


The Hazytones burst straight out of the traps with first track "Light Of The Day" and don't stop running till the album's last note fades into the distance. Martel, Coaster and La Mast together jam a groove of hard and stoner rock blended with touches of bluesy psych that has a distinct but not overpowering retro feel, a feel perfect for an underground scene dominated by bands looking backwards towards the hard rock of the 70's. Martel, as well as supplying scorching guitar solo's and fuzz drenched crunching power chords also supplies the bulk of the vocals, clean, clear and powerful, and backed in places by Coaster they are a perfect fit for the hard rocking stoner grooves beneath them. Coaster and La Mast are the engine room that drives those grooves, Coaster's big burly bass lines holding down the bottom end, allowing Martel the freedom to take off into flight, as well as locking in tight with La Mast, the drummer laying down time with a dazzling display of power and finesse, the three musicians combining to create grooves that can be heavy and face melting one minute and laid back and lysergic the next.


"The Hazytones" is an album that could as easily find its way onto the playlist of an avid 70's hard rock collector as it could that of the most discerning stoner/psych/doom fan. From the Sabbath-esque opener "Light Of The Day" ,with it's familiar vocal melody (Sabbath's "Hole In The Sky") and catchy guitar riff, through to the Swedish retro-like grooves of final track "Moonstruck" there is a feeling of the past and the present coming together to create something totally new yet oddly recognizable.
Check it out .....

Thursday, 29 September 2016

ZAC THE ZOMBIE ~ ZAC THE ZOMBIE .... review


Remember back in the day when stoner rock still had an element of punk rock attitude about it, before all the flowery psych and post-rock gloominess starting creeping in, well Zac The Zombie do and the Texarkana quartet, of Zac Crye (guitar, vocals), Marc Runion (drums), Trent Reed (bass) and Justin Parker (lead guitar), recall all those memories within the fuzzy grooves of their new self-titled release "Zac The Zombie".


Elements of QOTSA's desert quirkiness are sprinkled throughout "Zac The Zombie" but it is to the gnarly, four to the floor, fuzz'n'roll of California's Nebula and early Fu Manchu that Zac The Zombie owe their biggest debt. Songs like "The Ride", "Medusa" and "The Wait" breeze in on waves of warmly fuzzed guitar riffage bolstered by solid drum and bass patterns injected with bluesy guitar solo's and jerky, distinctive, vocals. Lyrics concerning booze, beer, cars and women are the order of the day here and if Desert Psychlist had to pick a line that summed up Zac The Zombie's approach to life it would be the immortal words "Electric guitar, 1000 watts, I crank it up as loud as the day is hot", words which although may not be profound or deep say everything you need to know in one sentence. The band do, however, know how to mix it up... jamming a gnarly instrumental groove sprinkled with abstract guitar tones on the slightly schizo and totally addictive "Circuza Muzika" and jamming a Kyuss meets Steppenwolf groove on the excellent road song "Highway Dreams".
All in all "Zac The Zombie" is an EP that brings a little fun back into a stoner scene that can at times get a little po-faced and overly serious and manages to do so without becoming trite or a pastiche and so should be filed under: Highly Enjoyable.
Check it out .....
 

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

DOOMSTRESS ~ SUPERNATURAL KVLT SOUNDS ..... review


Bassist/vocalist Doomstress Alexis and guitarist Brandon Johnson from doom trio Project Armageddon are not a pair content to let the grass grow under their feet and so with the addition of  Venomin James guitarist Tomasz Scull on the drum stool have embarked on another "project" this time flying under the banner of Doomstress.
Doomstress continue along the path of doom first trodden by Alexis and Johnson's other band but weave into those rich tapestry's of gloom threads of majestic classic rock and stonerized hard rock all of which can be heard on the bands latest EP "Supernatural Kvlt Sounds" available at Bandcamp and DHU Records.


"Way Of The Mountain" is first up and comes straight out of the traps on a thunderous staccato doom riff driven by Scull's pounding drums and bolstered by Doomstress Alexis's massive bass lines and strong distinct vocal tones. The songs traditional doom core is flavoured by touches of old school metal that in parts recall the heady days of the NWOBHM movement and in others the heavier side of Uriah Heep, something that leads the listener nicely into the next track, a storming cover of Heep's "Rainbow Demon".  David Byron would be a hard act for anyone to follow , his smooth semi-operatic tones and astonishing vocal range defined early Heep's sound, but the Doomstess Alexis makes a bold and wholly acceptable fist of capturing Byron's spirit in her vocal. A touch more intense and with a doomier edge than original , the song allows the band to stretch out a little and put their own distinctive stamp on things while still remaining true to the source
The Ep's second original "Sleep Among The Dead" boasts a deliciously devilish  guitar motif from Johnson as its main refrain around which Alexis wraps another sterling vocal performance. As with any good doom/occult groove worth its weight in despair, the song travels through a series of differing time signatures and tempo shifts touching on elements of epic, classic and traditional doom on its way.
Doomstress finish things up with another cover, this time from pioneers of occult rock Coven and their 1969 song "Wicked Woman". Doomstress avoid the obvious trap of trying to recapture the psychedelic groove of the original instead opting for a more stoner doom approach with Alexis and Scull laying down a chugging foundation of drum and bass for Johnson's guitar to scream and wail over. Alexis does not attempt to match Jinx Dawson's Joplin-esque vocal pyrotechnics but stays within her own, but just as impressive, vocal range and in doing so gives the song a fresh new dynamic.
All in all a damn fine EP from a band concentrating on the future but not afraid to embrace the past.
Check 'em out ....


Note ; Doomstress will be on the bill at ENDHIPENDIT Festival on October 22nd, try to catch them if you can....

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

SAMBA CEMETERY ~ THE BUSHGATE ...review


Samba Cemetery... sounds like the final resting place for South American dancers but is in fact the name of a German trio, from the city of Berlin, specialising in incendiary hard edged stoner/desert rock. The band , consisting of, Ruben Leon (vocals, guitar), Lukas Weber (drums), David Gi (bass), have just released their debut ,self titled EP "Samba Cemetery" via Bandcamp.


Title track "The Bushgate" feels more like an intro than a fully fledged song, it main body being an abstract montage of droning noise, shimmering percussion and guitar effect trickery before a thrash-like driving riff takes things to a close. Things start looking a little more straight forward with next track "Blast Of The Rex" its furious groove built around a stuttering guitar and bass riff taken to another level by Lukas Weber's outstanding drum work, the percussionist bringing a touch of South American swing to the table with his deft use of Latin influenced rhythmic fills. Over these grooves of furiosity Ruben Leon applies the finishing touches, his strong gravel toned vocals shading the grooves with a gritty vocal covering. Third track "Rolling" opens with  lysergic tinted guitar arpeggios accompanied by glistening percussion, liquid bass and mellow vocals before erupting into a gnarly mid-paced stoner rock groove embellished with touches of psychedelic texture. Next up is "Help Me Breathe", another mid-paced rocker, that begins with Weber pounding out a glorious tribal drum pattern before Leon's guitar comes in followed by David Gi's massive bass line, the two falling into a delicious rolling stoner/desert groove driven by Weber's exceptional rhythmic pulses and graced with catchy lyrical hooks. "Last Samba" closes the EP and sees Samba Cemetery giving the listener a glimpse of their softer, mellower, funky side. In keeping with its title the song starts its journey with a hazy Latin beat flecked with touches of jazzy colouring that sees Gi's bass and Weber's drums combining to create a delicious pulse of Latin groove around Leon's mellow but throaty vocal. As the song progresses into its last quarter the band move into a harder rock groove with Leon''s soaring guitar solo's exhibiting touches of Carlos Santana-esque tonal texturing before the whole groove finishes in a cacophony of sustained droning guitar noise.
If you liked what Santana did for rock music back in the late 60's, early 70's, bringing Latin grooves into an arena dominated by blues based heavy rock then you might like Samba Cemetery, a band bringing those same grooves into an "underground" scene dominated by fuzz and distortion.
Check 'em out .....

Monday, 26 September 2016

ELDER DRUID ~ MAGICKA ....review


It seems only five minutes since Desert Psychlist reviewed Elder Druid's live EP "Attic Sessions" and already we are back at the keyboard with the bands unique sounding grooves playing in our earphones, this time though we are dealing with a whole new animal, this time we are dealing with a full blown studio release going by the name of "Magicka".


"Magicka" consists of five songs, three of which have appeared as live cuts on the bands two "Sessions" EP's. "Ides Of March", "Warlock" and Reigning Hell" differ from their live counterparts only slightly but reap the benefits of a studio treatment by appearing larger, crisper and fuller sounding all without compromising the gnarly grittiness of the original live recordings .Of the three it is "Reigning Hell" that takes most from Andy Shields (Hornets) excellent production, its doom drenched groove ramped up to eleven with an earthier, lower, bassier attack that sits perfectly with it's "selling my soul to Satan" lyrical content.
The two newer songs are "Rogue Mystic" and "Scarab" , the first  an atmospheric brooding affair that tells a tale of an outcast shaman, a "Draconian Master of the Arcane" against a backdrop of slow fuzz dripping riffage and pounding rhythm that boasts a superb Greg McDowell vocal, his throaty guttural delivery coming across raw but perfectly comprehendible    . The second sees McDowell singing a peon to a not so humble Egyptian beetle performed to a gritty desert soundtrack garnished with eastern and Arabic guitar flourishes from Jake Wallace and fuzz soaked riffage from Mikey Scott all driven from beneath by the tumultuous rhythmic force of Dale Hughes's bass and Brien Gillen's drums.
"Magicka" is a superb EP both for new listeners and those already familiar with Elder Druid's excellent mix of riff heavy sludge and doom. The bands selection of Andy Shields as producer/mixer/engineer has paid off in spades, the Hornets man has reinvigorated the bands sound, sanding off some of their rougher edges and polishing them until they gleam but doing so without losing any of the bands feral intensity and attack, a match made in Heaven (or should that be Hell)
Check it out ....

Sunday, 25 September 2016

KHEMMIS ~ HUNTED ..... review



Denver's Khemmis caused many an ear to be pricked with their 2015 full length debut "Absolution", a stunning hybrid of two doom sub-genres that utilised clean and guttural vocals over a mix of thick sludge and traditional doom riffage. It's now been just over a year since "Absolution" and Khemmis are ready to release their much anticipated follow up "Hunted", due for release October 21st 2016  on 20 Buck Spin.


"Hunted" does not stray too far from the blueprint the band drew up with "Absolution", the massive down tuned and distorted riffage remains in place as does the variations in vocal styles, what has changed however is the enormity of the bands sonic attack, everything on "Hunted" sounds so much larger with a bigger focus on arrangement and musical content. First track "Above The Water" encapsulates perfectly this new found maturity, its epic/traditional doom core, punctuated with moments of thunderous sludge furiosity, is then garnished with progressive metal complexity, a theme repeated throughout the albums five tracks. Front man Phil Pendergast's vocals soar above these sonic onslaughts, his powerful gothic tinted tones recalling doom's early days when this form of vocalisation was the norm within the genre rather than the exception. Around Pendergast's impressive vocal outpourings the band jam grooves of atmospheric heavy metal replete with Judas Priest/Iron Maiden-esque twin guitar harmonies that are bolstered from beneath by gigantic drum and bass rhythmic patterns. Where Khemmis differ from the aforementioned bands is in the element of sludge like intensity and attack they bring to the table, guitarist /vocalist Ben Hutcherson's guttural and harsh bellowed vocals are a complete contrast to Pendergast's clean tones yet when the two trade off verses against a rich backdrop of prog-ish metal as on "Candlelight" and  Three Gates", it just seems to work.  "Beyond The Door"  sees Khemmis hitting a more straight forward traditional doom groove and sees the band adding an element of Thin Lizzy-like colouring to their sound with the twin guitar harmonies taking on a element of  Celtic flavouring in places. Khemmis are not a straight forward traditional doom band however and as the song approaches its finale the mood changes and the band segue into a sludge heavy metal groove with Hutcherson's throat shredding bellow tearing through the air like a thunderbolt. The album closes its account with the epic title track "Hunted" a massive thirteen minute plus journey of ever shifting musical moods and dynamics that although abandons the harsher vocal elements of the previous tracks compensates for this by ramping up the levels of atmosphere and intensity of their traditional doom core, diverse and delightfully dark it closes the album on an incredible high.
If ,like Desert Psychlist, you loved the diverse mix of doom styles Khemmis brought to the altar with"Absolution" and you were slavishly drooling for more of the same then "Hunted" will not disappoint, its everything "Absolution" was but much, much more
Check it out ......

Saturday, 24 September 2016

DEEP ~ COLOR OF MY SOUL ...review


It may just be Desert Psychlist's imagination but there seems to be something about the music from the underground scenes of the Scandinavian countries that has about it something a little different, seeming more edgy, off-kilter and twisted (in a good way) than that of the rest of the world. Maybe its the fluctuations in daylight hours or maybe its the water but straight-ahead, four to the floor rock'n'roll seems to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to Scandinavian music.


Finland's DEEP are a perfect example of this edgy, left of field approach to music, the quartet of Karri Sutinen - Guitar/Vocals, Santeri Sihvonen - Guitar, Jimi Hiltunen - Bass and Matias Sivonen - Drums, from the eastern city of Joensuu blend hard rock bluster with stoner grittiness and sprinkle the mix with elements of doom, grunge and psych resulting in a unique and exciting sound that's totally their own and one that can be heard on the bands debut album "Color Of My Soul".


As the first strains of opening track "Color Of My Soul" smoothly drift out of the speakers the listener knows, almost immediately, that this is a band who are not going to beat you to a pulp with relentless riffage but are a band out to seduce you, tempting you in to their sonic world with subtle shifts in dynamic and tempo. If riffs are what you are looking for though there are plenty scattered around, "No God" and "Mistress" have enough fuzz drenched guitar action to please even the most discerning headbanging, mosh-pit loving metalhead,but they are tempered by mellow passages of  quiet-loud-quiet grunge -like introspection.
Slightly accented vocals are layered over these undulating grooves, throaty angst drenched tones that add to the songs on offer a certain gravitas especially when linked to the albums often downbeat lyrical content, lyrics that are peppered with darkness and foreboding.
The band really come into their own when they are given a bigger canvas to work on as is the case with the quite splendid "Doomsday Atmosphere" a sprawling doom tinted tome dedicated to the futility of our short existence on this planet and our unescapable fate, perfectly illustrated in its final lyric" we are just here killing the time", set against a backdrop of screaming guitars and ever changing rhythmic patterns. The band take things down a notch or two for final track "Night Is Calling", its fairly mellow groove enhanced by slightly lighter vocal tones and lyrics embellished with a slightly medieval renaissance vibe albeit with electric instrumentation.
Eclectic and diverse with something within its grooves for everyone  to enjoy "Color Of My Soul" shows a band moving on an upward curve of creativity, where this curve leads DEEP next is anyone's guess but the journey will definitely be interesting.
Check 'em out ...

# If you like what your hearing you may want to check out DEEP's acoustic album "Acoustic VOL.1", which can be found here

Friday, 23 September 2016

HOLY SERPENT ~ TEMPLES


Well it didn't take long for Desert Psychlist to find itself back in Australia, not surprising really considering the wealth of talent coming out of that rather large island in the South Pacific Ocean of late.


Holy Serpent are from Melbourne, Australia and are four piece band consisting of  Scott Penberthy  (guitar/vocals), Nick Donoughue  (guitar), Dave Bartlett (bass) and Lance Leembrugen  (drums). The band recently announced their highly anticipated follow up to 2015's self titled album "Holy Serpent", the new album "Temples" will be released 30th September 2016 on RidingEasy Records.


Self titled debut "Holy Serpent" saw a band jamming a groove that although rooted in the doomier end of the stoner spectrum had about it an element of psychedelic experimentation, "Temples" continues that journey into lysergic territories with five songs of down tuned, brain bending acid doom guaranteed to blow your mind to smithereens.
"Purification By Fire" kicks things off it's heavy doom drenched riff dripping with a glowering menace that is strangely amplified by its clean, mellow and reverb soaked mantra- like vocals. Heavy,dense and with a Sleep-like meter it's brooding darkness is cleverly tempered by psychedelic guitar colouring and catchy vocal melodies.
"Towards The Sands" juddering riff fluctuates in pace, one minute mid-tempo the next brutally slow and heavily distorted and is enhanced by snatches of WAH soaked solo guitar and those unique vocals mentioned earlier. The songs final quarter sees the band hitting an altogether more stoner groove populated by furious drums, scorching guitar solo's and heavy, heavy bass before dropping back into the doom for its final bars.
"Bury Me Standing" enters with  guitars riffing and screaming, bass thrumming and drums crashing, combining to create an intro that has one foot in the delta and the other deep in a decomposing corpse, the heavily blues based groove serving as the launching pad from which the band take off into the songs doom drenched main refrain. With the intro out of the way the listener finds his/herself back in a world of lurching gloominosity with the band jamming an almost, but not quite traditional/epic doom groove, shaded with touches of psych, around a powerful and deliciously clean vocal.
"Sativan Harvest" ramps the doom and gloom up a notch or two with the band hitting a slow and jarringly distorted groove textured with searing, and at times Gilmour-esque, guitar colouring. Dark atmospheric and brooding the only criticism that could be levelled towards this song is that at over eleven minutes it does seem a touch overlong..
"The Black Stone" sees Holy Serpent once again dipping their toes into the murky waters of epic doom. Soaring vocal tones, that echo like Gregorian chants around a monastery, are surrounded by a gothic groove that would not have sounded out of place on a Solitude Aeturnus album. The two guitarists paint a plethora of six-sting colouring over a canvas of titanic bass and pounding percussion, adding to the songs stoner doom palette shades of epic metal majesty and gothic metal darkness.
Holy Serpent have, with "Temples", approached doom from a whole new angle but have done so by acknowledging the music's past and amalgamating that history into their own sound and groove and by doing so re-invigorated it for today.
Check 'em out ....

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

THE RARE BREED ~ LOOKING FOR TODAY ..... review

Most of the bands reviewed on the pages of Desert Psychlist  have in one way or another been influenced by those scallywags from the backstreets of Aston, Birmingham UK, Black Sabbath. Some bands try to disguise their Iommi inspired grooves by drenching them in layers of psychedelic colouring, some play them at unbelievably sound breaking speeds, some play them so slow they almost stop and some like Freedom Hawk and Orchid just play them.
LA's Rare Breed are one of the latter, the Californian band make no bones over the influence Ozzy, Tony ,Geezer & Bill have had over their direction and sound, something that is glaringly obvious when listening to their latest release and first full length album "Looking For Today".


"Looking For Today" starts life with "Funeral Pyre" a short and quite serene keyboard and arpeggiated guitar piece, it's calmness and tranquillity the polar opposite of the maelstrom of sabbathian grooviness that is yet to come.
Normal service is resumed with next track "The Stranger", Oscar Del la Torre's chugging hard rock riff, spliced with squealing guitar breaks, is underpinned by Hernan Rojas' solid and unfussy drum patterns and bolstered by Joey Castle's big sounding bass and Ozzy-lite vocals, its  fuzz drenched groove hinting at late Sabbath while at the same time recalling in places the early grooves of some of the early 70's, so called, "second division" bands like Budgie and May Blitz
The Rare Breed, although inspired by Black Sabbath pay homage to their heroes not by recreating their sound, a mistake a lot of bands make, but by giving their own sound a "feel" of Sabbath. Songs like "Visions", "Witches Lore", "Rusted Diamond" and the aforementioned "The Stranger" are, when broken down, more akin to the proto-metal of Pentagram and Sir Lord Baltimore than they are to the famous Birmingham four, having a harder rocking feel and bluesier edge.. When the band do get close to their heroes, as on the excellent "Mountain of Dreams" and "Echoes," they do so from a more "Sabotage" era perspective as opposed to that of the first four iconic albums.
The Rare Breed are never going to escape the fact that many will just see them as another Sabbath sounding band, especially with Del la Torre's Ozzy-like vocal tones at the forefront, but if you take the time to dig a little deeper and really listen you will find a band with a lot  more to offer.
Check 'em out .....

Monday, 19 September 2016

FIRE DOWN BELOW ~ VIPER VIXEN GODDESS SAINT ..... review


Belgium, the home of the European Union and NATO, is also the home of Fire From Below, a four piece band from the Flemish municipality of Ghent consisting of Sam Nuytens (drums), Jeroen Van Troyen (rhythm guitar and vocals), Kevin Gernaey (lead guitar) and Bert Wynsberghe (bass), a band who seemingly appeared from nowhere and are now suddenly assailing the stoner/psych and doom communities with their stunning debut album "Viper Vixen Goddess Saint"


"Viper Vixen Goddess Saint" begins innocently enough with opener " El Viento del Desierto" (translation: The Desert Wind), a gentle acoustic number with a bluesy campfire swing before erupting  like a volcano into the psych drenched rock'n'roll of next track " Through Dust And Smoke" its heavily fuzzed groove coloured with touches of psych colouring and embellished with clean melodious grunge like vocals punctuated by a fist pumping vocal refrain of "Shut Up" shouted at the end of each verse. The rest of the album follows much the same course, hard fuzz drenched riffs that are pushed from beneath by complex percussive patterns and big booming funky bass lines and textured with scorching lead work that is then layered with moments of psychedelic tranquillity and ambiance giving the songs an hazy almost trippy feel. This feeling of hazy texturing and colour is never more evident than on the utterly mind-blowing "Universes Crumble", a slowly building melting pot of heavy psych and complex ambient space-rock salted with touches of desert grit and hard stoner fuzz and coated in hazy vocal harmonies, that tells an apocalyptic tale of impending cosmic disaster and is the perfect example of what Fire Down Below are all about both musically and lyrically. The band finish the album with "The Mammoth" an eleven minute plus opus that channels a little doomy darkness into, their up to now, quite brightly lit grooves. Heavier and a little more expansive than previous tracks the songs longer duration allows the band the freedom to stretch out and get a little loose and experimental using snatches of narrative to add atmosphere and filling out the crunching riffs with an array of heavily pedal effected guitar pyrotechnics, spine crumbling bass and pile driving percussion and in doing so finish a damn fine album in damn fine style.
Check 'em out ......

Sunday, 18 September 2016

THE RUINER ~ THE RUINER ...... review


Desert Psychlist has been inundated with requests from Australian bands of late, some good, some bad and some teetering in the middle but all with the same aim of trying to get their sounds out to a wider appreciative audience. One band to have come knocking at Desert Psychlist's chipped and battered door consist of five Melbourne guys plying their trade under  the collective name of The Ruiner.


The Ruiner, Jason V- Vocals, Ben Stokes- Drums, Adam Stokes- Guitar, Craig Westwood- Guitar and Jason PC- Bass had been playing together in one incarnation or another around Melbourne's live circuit for quite a while but it was not until 2012 that it was decided it was time to get serious and go out under the banner of The Ruiner. In 2013 the band released a couple of single tracks "The Bull" and "Cobalt Volcano" via Bandcamp but things went a bit quiet until the band announced this year (2016) the forthcoming release of  "The Ruiner" a self titled album available via Desert Highways.


The Ruiner come at you like a pack of rabid dogs slavering and drooling with manic wide eyed intent. Throat shredding vocals snap and snarl over a two guitar onslaught of distortion drenched crunching riffage and gnarly fuzz dripping solo's pushed into overdrive by bone shattering bass and thunderous drum patterns. On songs like "Hubble", "Fleshlight" and "The Bull" this sonic maelstrom of riff and rhythm takes on a sludgey EYEHATEGOD type vibe with the heavy grooves spliced with touches of deep southern swagger and swampy dark intensity but where things get really interesting is when the band step outside these grooves and get a little experimental as on the deliciously dark and atmospheric "In Dirt", a bluesy lament that mixes harsh and clean vocals together on a rollercoaster ride of differing musical dynamics and the schizophrenic "Volcano" with it's Edge (U2) type guitar intro. The band leave the best till last though with the mighty "Hanging", a doom drenched road trip through hell, it's thunderous groove leaning heavily towards the "epic" end of the doom spectrum that, apart from the larynx ripping vocals, has within its sludgey grooves a touch of Gates of Slumber and Pallbearer about it..
The Ruiner may not be quite the finished article yet but with this, their first album, they are most definitely on the right track.
Check 'em out ....

Saturday, 17 September 2016

CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC ~ DAWN OF THE SATANIC AGE .... review


Doom, a genre fragmented into a myriad of sub-genres.... traditional, epic, stoner, blackened and funeral are just a few of the differing styles vying for attention under its dark moody banner.
Massive,heavy, slow to mid-tempo grooves with incessant riffage are usually the norm to be found at the root of the music with often only the styling and delivery of the vocals the difference between one sub-genre and another. Using this analogy it could be argued that New York doomsters Clouds Taste Satanic should be categorised as pure doom as the band eschew the luxury of a vocalist and just concentrate on nailing down the groove.


Clouds Taste Satanic first came on to Desert Psychlist's radar via their 2014 "To Sleep Beyond The Earth" album, a two track affair containing forty four minutes plus of scintillating instrumental doom. The band followed this up the following year with "Your Doom Has Come" eight songs of doom drenched jams of  shorter duration but with equal levels of dark intensity. The band have recently been in the studio recording a new album " Dawn Of The Satanic Age" due for release Sept. 27th (2016).


Clouds Taste Satanic, Sean Bay ( bass), Christy Davis (drums), Steven Scavuzzo (guitar) and David Weintraub (guitar), have with "Dawn Of The Satanic Age" managed to sidestep the criticisms, levelled at them by some quarters of the internet press, for the sameness of their output by adding elements of light and shade into their titanic tomes of doom. Although still as heavy as tanker carrying a shipment of mercury and as dense as a desert night "Dawn Of The Satanic Age" sees CTS allowing little rays of light come shining through the doom, Where a song like "Retribution" would of once upon a time started off dark and gloomy and then slowly got darker and gloomier the band lighten up the mood by the addition of up-tempo eastern themed prog grooves into the mix, ok its still not puppy dogs and kittens but it does break up the despair and despondency and allows the listener a breath of air before diving back into mire.  Prog-ish and post-rock elements seeps into every song on "Dawn Of The Satanic Age"  with songs like "Just Another Animal", We Die We Live" and closer "Demon Among The Stars" all carrying a musicality and maturity that was, in places,maybe a little mislaid on previous outings.  There is a rumour that CTS started out as a post-rock band and then later moved into the heavy arena burying their original sound under a wave of  doom on the way, well on the evidence of "Dawn Of The Satanic Age" those post-rock leanings were never too far away and are once again starting to surface .... and that 'aint no bad thing!
Check 'it out ....

Friday, 16 September 2016

LORD VAPOUR ~ MILL STREET BLUES ... review


Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel that geographically is nearer to France than it is to its mother country England, is not a place you would readily associate with the heavy riff orientated music of the stoner/psych and doom scene but the fact is there are a lot of ass-kicking good grooves to be found on and around this little speck in the sea.


Guernsey stonernauts Lord Vapour started out life in 2014 as the side project of Brunt drummer Chris Mariess, the percussionist wanted to do something a little different from his usual gig so with the addition of two friends Henry Fears - guitar/backing vocals and Joe Le Long - bass/vocals Lord Vapour was born. The same year the trio released a self-titled EP "Lord Vapour" consisting of three songs of  deliciously palatable psych drenched rock'n'roll salted with elements of desert grooviness and hard rock attitude. Two years later and with a string of live gigs under their respective belts the band returned to the studio to record "Mill Street Blues" their debut full length album.


"Mill Street Blues" is one of those albums you will never get tired of hearing, one of those albums that you will come back to time after time, hearing it fresh, as if it was your first listen all over again.
Songs like "Psychedelic Trousers", "Island Man" and "Crossroads" possess a classic quality that sticks in the mind long after the last note has faded into the distance. Brimming over with hazy lysergic grooves of musical excellence the albums nine songs burrow into the deep recesses of the memory and take up residence there, refusing to leave. Whether the band are ripping through a slow blues like "Bong Song" or going into full desert mode as on the very Kyuss-like "Knowledge Through Colour" Lord Vapour never deliver below 100%, Mariess pounds every inch of his kit to pulp in a dazzling display of percussive dexterity while Le Long's titanic bass lines boom and thrum like an earthquake, Fears meanwhile tears through this rhythmic tour de force with scintillating ease his guitar howling and wailing like a wounded animal one minute then crunching out fuzzed to the max heavy riffage the next. Over and around this seething wall of heavy psyched out madness Le Long, with occasional help from Fears, delivers strong clean vocals that although not possessing the finesse of a Plant or a Coverdale have a rough charm that sits perfectly within the dynamic of the music surrounding them, a dynamic that makes this album something to savour and keep returning to.
Check it out .....



"Mill Street Blues" is available at Bandcamp (digital and CD), a vinyl release (with a digital option) through No Slip Records and mastered by Mos Generator's Tony Reed will follow later in the year.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

BRANT BJORK ~ TAO OF THE DEVIL .... review




Brant Bjork, what can you say about a man with such a great pedigree, whether solo or as part of a band the drummer/guitarist.bassist and vocalist's name has always been associated with good music.
Kyuss, Fu ManchuMondo Generator and Vista Chino have all benefited from having the Palm Desert multi-instrumentalist within their ranks but its as a solo artist that Bjork really comes into his own as can be witnessed on his latest audio outing "Tao of The Devil".


Its always interesting when approaching a Brant Bjork album to find exactly which Brant Bjork your actually going to get, given his background of chameleon-like diversity a new Brant Bjork project could go any number of ways. "Tao Of The Devil" however sees Bjork embracing the blues, not in a delta "My baby done left me" type of way but in more of a UK " Red Lebanese makes you weak at the knees" soulful hard rock way, in other words you get a feeling Bjork has been listening to quite a bit of  70's classic rock of late.
"Gree Heen" kicks things off with Bjork's soulful voice singing "we have everything we need, we got the gree heen", alone but for a bluesy guitar motif.  The rest of the band then come in and the song falls into loose but perfectly executed heavy blues groove that  apart from its lysergic middle section, recalls Maryland's Clutch in their more bluesy moments and sets the tone for the rest of the album.
"Humble Pie" is the perfect title for a song that would not have sounded out of place on any of the 70's band with the same name's iconic albums. Dave Dinsmore – Bass, Ryan Goode - Drums and Bubba Dupree – Guitar. together with Bjork perfectly capture the soulful blues and hard rock of Steve Marriott's four piece yet save the song from veering into the realms of pastiche by injecting into those familiar grooves elements of outlaw country and southern rock swagger and in doing so stamp their own identity all over them.
"Stackt" sees Bjork falling back into old habits with the ex-Kyuss man soulfully vocalising over a stuttering mid -tempo desert groove replete with fuzz drenched guitar, powerful percussion and booming heavy bass.
"Luvin'"s stop start refrain is both delicious and addictive and is the base around which Bjork wraps a perfectly pitched vocal that has a slightly mellower tone than employed on the albums previous tracks and is complimented by some superb musicianship from all involved.
"Biker No.2" finds Bjork diving once again into the southern end of rocks spectrum albeit with a nice dose of psychedelic texturing. Bjork sings the songs lyrical melody with a slightly laid back delivery over a heavily fuzzed desert groove that to Desert Psychlists battered ears has a touch of Johnny Van Zant era Lynyrd Skynyrd about it.
"Dave's War" explodes into life with the sort of dirty fuzzed groove Brant Bjork built his reputation on and initially sees the curly-haired one ditching his usually soul edged vocals for a more in your face stoner approach, that is until about a quarter of the way in when things start to get a little lysergic and funky. Bjork and the band slip into a psych drenched groove that explores both Far and Middle-Eastern themes while still keeping one Cuban heeled boot frmly in the blues. Beautifully structured and executed to perfection by musicians at the top of their game it almost seems a shame when it comes to its fuzzy tripped out conclusion.
Title track "Tao Of The Devil" closes the album, a deeply atmospheric blues lament whose last line "I've got the blues deep in my bones" sums the albums general vibe and theme better in eight words than Desert Psychlist could do with a thousand.
Check it out...



Tao Of The Devil will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Napalm Records from Sept 30th 2016.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

THE COMPANY CORVETTE ~ NEVER ENOUGH ....... review.


Trio's, I do not know why but some of rock's most intense and exciting music has been recorded and performed by the humble three piece, Cream, Hendrix's Experience, Robin Trower and Motorhead all created unbelievable grooves with just three members and the same can be said of some of todays bands like Wo Fat, Ufomammut and Egypt all of whom rock a three man format. Eric Clapton once said in an interview that working in the confines of a three-piece band meant every member had to work that bit harder, whether this is true or not is not for Desert Psychlist to say, you would have to ask the bands, but it is true the trio has played a big role in rock history.


Philadelphia,Pennsylvania's  The Company Corvette are a trio and although the line up of Alexei - guitars, Ross - bass, vocals and Peter - drums may not have yet played a big role in rock history, they have, with their third album "Never Enough", created something intense and exciting.


"Never Enough" opens with "Foot In Mouth" a big heavy groove monster surrounded by swirling effects and packed to the rafters with thundering percussion, big booming bass, crunching guitar riffs and incendiary solo's. Vocals weave in and out of this sonic maelstrom and are delivered with intense ferocity, the tone snarlingly and confrontational giving the songs sludge heavy grooves a touch of hardcore edginess.
"Devilwitch" follows, its doomy undercurrent enhanced with a jew's harp like effect that surrounds the songs sabbathian riff. The bassist/vocalist sings  the songs lyric  "I don't need no doctor, I don't need no pills" with manical, wide-eyed glee sounding like pills and a doctor is exactly what he might need.
"Sick" employs a gritty circular refrain into which the guitarist injects little touches of bluesy guitar colouring while the bassist holds his end up with big booming bottom end, his massive gnarly tones combining with the heavy pounding drums to create a thick wall of sludgey groove for the snarling, sneering vocals to pour over.
"Stomach" is up next. Slow and menacing, with a riff that nod's it's head toward the traditional doom of the 80's, its superb vocal is delivered with a clean but no less sinister tone than previous tracks that when combined with the music give the song a quite eerie and menacing feel.
"Burn Out" sees the TCC getting a little psychedelic, a little more "out there" and for Desert Psychlist is one of the highlights of the album. The songs initial hardrock /stoner groove is fragmented with moments of mellow psychedelic colouring built around a deeply effect ladened bass line. and is augmented by some seriously impressive guitar work, a good vocal and some mightily fine drumming.
"The Stuff" stays in the stoner territory of the previous track but keep things interesting with a little bluesy swagger added to the mix. Snarled  and slurred vocals are surrounded by a choppy almost punkish refrain before the band shift down a gear and move into a dark doom drenched groove layered with thundering percussion, massive bass and with a mix of bluesy pentatonic and neo-classical guitar solo's.to take it to the close.
"Pigeon" begins with wah drenched guitar howling over a rather laid back mid tempo groove coated in surprisingly clean and almost "straight" vocals. Things change at around  the three minute mark  and the groove shfts into a deliciously dark jam with the three members taking the music into the arenas of proggish complexity and heavy textured metallic psych, proving that this trio are not just three guys with varying degrees of facial hair who like to fool around in a band but are seriously good musicians with something to say
Check 'em out ......

Saturday, 10 September 2016

BLOOD DIAMOND ~ SAVIOURS ....review.


Blood diamond, political definition: A precious stone (or stones) usually mined from countries undergoing war or political strife and used to fund the purchase of arms or smoothly manipulate the process of political manoeuvring.
Blood Diamond, musical definition: Sludge/stoner band from Heemskerk, Netherlands specialising in kick-ass heavy riffage and pummeling rhythms whose sonic attack is as hard edged as the precious stones of the first definition.


Those of you who purchased Blood Diamond's first album "Death Valley Blues" will already be familiar with the bands modus operandi of raw edgey vocals over big twin guitar riffage and thunderous bass and drums and will be wanting and hoping for more of the same, and Blood Diamond's second album "Saviours" does not disappoint.


"Saviours" sees Blood Diamond infusing into their hard'n'heavy grooves a level of maturity that although not lacking on "Death Valley Blues" is on "Saviours" more evident. The quartet of Sven: Guitar/ Vocals, Tim: Guitar,  Bert: Bass and Mike: Drums have tightened up the looseness found in places on the first album and focused some, but not all, of their energy into working on arrangement and songwriting and trying to achieve this without compromising the raw edginess of their original sound. Songs like "The Heckler", "Sand & Stone" and "Never Confess" retain the anger, frustration and fury found on the first album, the bellowed vocals,pounding rhythms and hard'n'fast chainsaw riffage are all still there, but it is on  the songs like opener "Insanity Grows", "Burning Torch" and the excellent "Watch Me Flying" that the listener gets to experience the evolutionary path the band has taken from the previous album while also getting a glimpse of where this evolution might lead the band next.
Blood Diamond's next album will be what music journalists often dub "the difficult third album" but if the subtle progression from first album to second is anything to go by then the one from second to third should be a breeze.
Check 'em out .....
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Friday, 9 September 2016

DOMADORA ~ THE VIOLENT MYSTICAL SUKUMA ... review


The electric guitar must be one of the most emotive instruments on the planet, who would believe that six wires of varying thickness stretched over two pieces of wood with minimal  electrical wiring and a couple of magnets could, when plugged into a wooden box containing a ridged cone of paper and a few more magnets, some coils and more wiring, create so many colours, textures and sounds. Ok you DO need a human with a level of musical skill to achieve those sounds, but still.....


Domadora are a band from Paris, France who possess, amongst their number, one such human in the shape of the bands guitarist (and vocalist) Belwill, Belwill is one human who knows his way around a fretboard and he likes to play his guitar loud, proud and relentlessly as can be witnessed on the bands second album "The Violent Mystical Sukuma"


"The Violent Mystical Sukuma" is a heavily guitar orientated album so if your not a fan of screaming guitar solos, fuzz drenched riffage and deftly picked arpeggios played with passion at ear drum shattering volumes then stop reading NOW! If on the other hand you dig the sonic journeys of bands like Earthless, Tia Carrera and their like then you have just arrived at the destination of your dreams.
.From the blistering and quite epic "Hypnosis", with it's  screaming sonic journeys around the cosmos, to the heavy blues drenched psych'n'roll of "Jack Tripping", Domadora take the listener on a series of sonic journeys filled with  Hendrixian grooves ("Indian Depression"), lysergic heavy rock ("Rocking Crash Hero"),  wah drenched stoner ("Solarium") and  schizophrenic acid grooviness  ("Girl With A Pearl Earring"), all played by musicians of an unbelievable high calibre of skill and talent. Belwill, with the help of Gui Omm's bone rattling bass skills and backing vocals and the differing drumming styles of  Alexis Assaleix (tracks 2/6) and Karim Bouazza (tracks 1 / 3 / 4 / 5 ), fills every space made available to him with incendiary six-string majesty managing somehow never to repeat himself or to wander into the realms of over self-indulgence as well as at the same time pulling off some pretty good vocals when called upon.
Like previously stated, if guitar heavy jams are not the stuff that makes your heart beat faster and the hairs on your back stand to attention then "The Violent Mystcal Sukuma" is not for you.. but if it is ... man your in for a treat.
Check it out.....

Thursday, 8 September 2016

MAMMOTH WEED WIZARD BASTARD ~ Y PROFFWYD DWYLL .... review

Just nine months after the release of their debut album "Noeth AC AnoethWelsh cosmonauts Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard return with yet another slice of psych drenched, spaced out doom with second opus "Y Proffwyd Dwyll". on New Heavy Sounds


"Y Proffwyd Dwyll" is the second instalment in an ongoing trilogy of  theme-based albums and sees MWWB weaving into the space/doom fabrics of their sound elements of ambient psych and prog complexity, elements enhanced by the addition to their sonic cannon of  Moog synthesisers and cello. Those that are expecting something akin to the 30 minute plus jams of the first albums epic centrepiece " Nachthexen" may be disappointed to discover that the songs on "Y Proffwyd Dwyll" are of a much shorter length, but that disappointment will soon dissipate when realising that with the shorter running times comes a sharper focus on ideas and vision. Dominated by heavy guitar riffage and thundering rhythms surrounded by washes of Moog colouring , the six songs that make up "Y Proffwyd Dwyll" see the band fusing elements of Ufomammut-like heavy psych with swirling Hawkwind-esque space rock   Over these sonic grooves of substantial heaviness sit the haunting tones of vocalist/bassist Jessica Ball her haunting voice the polar opposite of the heavyweight grooves surrounding her, sweet and fragile they sit atop the doom laden metallic bluster beneath them like cream on a razor blades edge giving the album a balance of beauty and brutality that is truly startling.
Check 'em out....


Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard are: Paul Michael Davies, synth and guitar. Jessica Ball, bass, vocals, synth. Wez Leon, synth and guitar. James ‘Carrat’ Carrington, synth and drums.
"Y Proffwyd Dwyll " releases on all formats 30th September 2016 and can be purchased here