Friday, 31 March 2017
Italy, is a country that trades heavily on all things "retro", Italian movies, fashion, art, motorbikes and cars are all delivered with an eye for the future but with a foot planted firmly in the past, so it comes as no surprise that this trend for making "old" the new "new" extends into the Italian underground music scene too.
Vortical Minds, a trio from Rome consisting of Vule Rodic (bass & vocals), Gianluca Paladino (guitar/backing vocals) and Gianluca Ortu (drums/backing vocals),take their lead from the proto-metal/ hard rock of the likes of Grand Funk Railroad, Beck, Bogart &Appice and Cactus and bring it up to date with the addition of a little 90's fuzz and 00's psych colouring, creating a groove that is both old and new in equal measure, something that becomes glaring obvious when listening to the trio's debut EP "The Orange Box"
"Maybe But Not Today" opens with what can only be described as a "vintage" guitar sound Paladino evoking, through his choice of notes, feel and effects, memories of such six string luminaries as Free's Paul Kossoff and early era Jeff Beck as well as a smattering of those of leser known mortals Buffalo's John Baxter and Blue Cheer's Leigh Stephens. Ortu and Rodic underpin this tsunami of warmly fuzzed riffage with a masterclass in pummelling rhythm, Ortu's thunderous drums dictating the beat while Rodic handles the low end with big booming bass runs and fills as well as providing cool, perfectly delivered vocals.
"I Bought Myself" follows and takes a detour into psychedelic blues country with Paladino chopping out crunching stoner blues refrains then laying out on reverb soaked guitar arpeggios that shimmer and shake over and around Ortu and Rodic's sympathetic jazz tinted psych grooves, the resulting sound recalling, at times, "Hogwash" era Groundhogs. Rodic pours over this heady mix of acid drenched groove a vocal that includes the line "I think I'll buy myself a gun, I think i'll shoot you just for fun" delivering his lyrics in a wonderful mix of whispered, falsetto and cleanly growled vocal tones.
"My Game" sees Vortical Minds going full tilt lysergic with Rodic telling of "walking in the sun, looking for some fun" over a backdrop of liquid bassitude and pounding percussion taken to another level by Paladino's off-kilter slide guitar and clever use of effects.
Final track "Ticking Time" begins with a gnarly Rodic bass motif that is then joined by Ortu's solid pounding drums while in the background Paladino's guitar howls with feral feedback all three then coming together on a grizzly stoner/hard rock groove with Rodic telling us he's "gotta find a doctor, gonna find a cure". before the whole mood shifts and the band take the song to it's conclusion on a wave of gloriously hazy psychedelic instrumental groove.
Hazy, crazy and dripping with lysergic induced imagery "The Orange Box" is full of delights... open it now and check it out....
Thursday, 30 March 2017
Mountains, David Jupp (guitar/vocals), Chris Randall (bass) and Josh Hussey (drums) are a trio from London, UK dealing in riff heavy psych salted with elements borrowed from both the prog metal and stoner ends of the underground rock spectrum.
The band, formed in 2014, have just released their first full length album "Dust In The Glare"
The first thing you notice while perusing "Dust In The Glare's" eight song track listing is the brevity of each track, with only one song exceeding the four minute mark, this however does not detract from the albums overall impact in fact it adds to it. From the heavily fuzzed first bars of opening song "Everglades" to the gloriously schizophrenic title track "Dust In The Glare" that closes proceedings there is a flow to this debut, both lyrically and musically, that some, more seasoned bands, struggle to achieve after numerous releases. Jupp's voice dominates the album his tone clean, smooth and very "English" as he sings of " a harvest that withers in the shade" (Lonely Cities) and" the weight that tips the crooked mask" (Fortress) and he even mixes it up with a little throaty sludge roaring on the aforementioned title track. Randell and Hussey support Jupp's vocal outpourings and mix of gentle guitar arpeggios, scorching solo's and fuzz soaked riffs with a wonderful array of rhythmic dynamics laying out with liquid low end and shimmering percussion when the song calls for it, going hell for leather when the tempo dictates, a musical unity that is never better exemplified than on the albums two instrumentals "Towards The Woods" and "Ithaca".
"Dust In The Glare" is not your archetypical "underground" rock album it crosses back and forth between genres touching base with prog, stoner, metal and even a little grunge in places but it is this diversity of styles that makes this album stand out from the crowd and makes this an album you should definitely check out ....
Monday, 27 March 2017
Oshkosh, Wisconsin riffmeisters Attala's self titled debut album holds a special place in Desert Psychlist's heart, its big sounding metallic grooves were an almost constant soundtrack to daily life when it was released in 2014 and although its been over two years since it surfaced "Attalla" still remains a go-to when wanting something to blow away the dust of a hard day.
Attalla have not been idling in those two years, the quartet of Cody Stieg (lead guitar/vocal)
Brian Hinckley (rhythm guitar), Bryan Kunde (bass) and James Slater (drums), have been honing their chops on the live circuit as well as writing new material for their new album "Glacial Rules" which releases today (March 24, 2017).
"Butte Des Mortes" kicks off "Glacial Rule" with slow, low crushing guitar riffage supported by crashing pounding drums and crashing cymbals, with the occasional squealing lick thrown in before shifting into a choppy Sabbath-esque refrain over which strong clean vocals are roared with bellowed passion. If your planning to make an album you need something to grab the listeners attention straight away dragging them into your musical vision, making them want more, and "Butte Des Mortes" ticks all the boxes in that department.
"Ice Harvest" is up next and jams a tar thick stoner doom groove laid down over a barrage of tumultuous percussion into which are injected pyrotechnic, swirling guitar solo's, licks and fills. It is almost three minutes before the songs vocals appear, clean and powerful, and only two minutes before they disappear again, the song taken to it's conclusion on a wave of glorious instrumental heaviness with guitars screaming and howling over a bedrock of thrumming riffage and pulverising rhythm.
"Valdaran" opens with a distortion drenched two guitar motif before the drums and bass bring the hammer down and the band merge into the main riff together. There is a deep underlying blues feel to the songs groove, it's not a glaringly obvious one but there is a certain feel to how the song is structured both vocally, dynamically and atmospherically that combined with its scorching guitar solo's gives it a doomy delta presence.
"Black Wolf Ritual" takes the riff from the famous Birmingham fours "Black Sabbath" slightly alters it and extends it a couple of bars before shifting into a throbbing, but nonetheless Sabbath-esque, proto-doom groove replete with screaming Iommi inspired solo's over which lyrics telling of "sacrificial rites" and "dying embers" are sung. It's heavy, gloriously atmospheric and has a groove that will stay with you long after you've finished listening
"Devil's Lake" comes at the listener from a slightly different angle from the albums previous tracks by muddying up the waters with a touch of heavy sludge colouring and heavier more visceral vocal attack albeit tinted with elements of old school hard rock and heavy metal, especially in it's searing hot guitar solo's. It's a little different in its approach but still damn good nevertheless.
"Glacial Rule" closes the album with the band jamming on a low, slow doom groove that though still leaning heavily on the bands love of everything Sabbathian (the band cannot resist throwing in a few Iommi-eaque fills and licks) nods its head to the more grizzled stonerized doom of Goya and Spelljammer.
It is hard to describe what Attalla do without mentioning Black Sabbath and I apologise to both the band and to their fans (Desert Psychlist is one) for the many references to that band in this review but the influence Sabbath has had on this band, though not as obvious as on some, is there nonetheless,, not in a worshipful, tribute sort of way but as an underlying influence that although informs their sound does not define it.
Check 'em out .....
Friday, 24 March 2017
London, UK, this humble reviewers birthplace and home of legendary stoner/doom and psych event Desertfest is, when compared to places like Portland, USA, Malmo, Sweden and Athens, Greece, not the hotbed of "underground" rock some might think it should be. There are plenty of bands from around the UK's capital ploughing a stonerized furrow through the scenes fuzz soaked fields but not that many claiming to be an actual "London" band so it's with a gladdened heart that Desert Psychlist introduces you to London's Kujara, Joe Flaherty (bass & vocals), Will Milne (guitars) and Steve Wood (drums), and their brand new EP "Three Days".
"Three Days" begins with "Intro" a brief montage of string hits, pedal effects and shimmering percussion that builds to a noisy crescendo before segueing into the next track..
"Dead Behind The Eyes" opens with Flaherty laying down a deliciously distorted bass motif that is then joined by Wood's insistent drums and Milne's heavily fuzzed guitar. The songs shifting mix of heavy staccato riffs and stuttering rhythms are perfectly augmented by Milne's blend of palm muted and openly chopped chords, the guitarists warmly fuzzed tones combining with Wood's titanic percussion, Flaherty's grizzled bass and clean slightly alt/grunge vocals to create a groove that is both delicious and highly addictive.
"Tryptych" starts life all "Pablo Honey/The Bends" era Radiohead before shifting into a groove sitting somewhere between the alt/grunge of Stone Temple Pilots and the desert fuelled stoner/psych of Kyuss. managing to find a sound that incorporates elements of each into their groove yet still managing to create something fresh, exciting and totally their own.
"Pitfall" sees Kujara blending into their heavily psyched stoner refrains touches of Alice In Chains-like alt- rock atmospherics and vocal melodies, the band mixing it up between passages of dark moody grunge and raucous stonerized hard rock, utilizing quiet/loud/quiet aesthetics both vocally and musically to ramp up the songs dark seductiveness.
Title track "Three Days" closes the EP and finds Milne laying down sparse gently sweeping licks and arpeggios over Wood's lightly brushed percussion and Flaherty's low booming bass. The tempo slowly increases with the trio locking into a slightly lysergic groove before the bassist/vocalist enters. his smooth clean voice, mellow and relaxed at first, becoming louder.stronger and more strident as the groove develops. Suddenly, without any warning, we are thrown into a riff heavy doom tinted stoner jam with Milne and Flaherty chopping out their now familiar stuttering riffs superbly supported by Wood's thunderous drumming, the three musicians taking things to a gloriously noisy and fuzzed out conclusion!
Kujara have, with "Three Days", made an EP that will not only please those of us from their grey concrete hometown of London but one that will be appreciated internationally too.
Check it out .....
Monday, 20 March 2017
If your a fan of gritty underground rock music then no matter where your searches take you, be it the rainforests of Brazil or the neon lit streets of the USA, there is a high probability that your search for a gnarly groove will eventually bring you to Sweden. Whether it's dark dismal doom, raucous stoner, hard driving blues, swirling psych/space or growling black/death metal Sweden has a band that can deliver it.
Swedish doomsters Alastor cherrypick from these various underground genres and sub-genres, taking what they can use and discarding what they can't, blending what they've accumulated in a swirling assemblage of grizzly riffage and acid-laced groove that is wholly their own, as can be experienced on the bands debut EP "Black Magic" (Twin Earth Records).
"Enemy" is the first of the three songs that make up "Black Magic" and creeps menacingly out of the speakers on slow low wave of heavily distorted riffage supported by pulverising pounding percussion interspersed with occasional squealing guitar licks. The track slowly builds until the hazy, slightly distant and ethereal vocals appear, their haunting tones bringing an air of mysticism to the proceedings. The songs dark monolithic groove hardly deviates from it's meandering slow doom path throughout its eleven minutes (plus) span but this works to its advantage giving the song a feeling of impending danger and growing terror, akin to being chased in some 50's horror movie by a dishevelled monster, a leaden leg dragging behind it, that no matter how fast you try to run is still there lumbering malevolently just behind you.
"Nothing To Fear" lightens the atmosphere a shade and sees the band jamming a gnarly proto-doom groove replete with wah drenched guitar pyrotechnics and reverb soaked vocals. Those feeling of menace and foreboding experienced on the first track still remains but are ever so slightly diluted by the faster tempos and lightened but still effective sonic attack.
"Black Magic", a massive doom drenched opus stretched over fourteen minutes, blends elements of the two previous tracks and adds into those elements touches of swirling acid colouring. Basically a song of two halves "Black Magic" begins on a deliciously grizzled, mid-tempo, proto-doom groove over which hazy clean vocals are delivered, the singer smoothly stretching his vocal register to hit the songs higher notes, then segues, via a slow psych drenched passage of growling low bass and intricate percussion, into a pounding doom refrain with dark shards of guitar colouring reverberating with sustain around a repeated vocal mantra before finishing on a wave of screaming guitar and thunderous rhythm.
Heavy, hazy and humongous "Black Magic" is a stunning debut that will leave listeners hungrily begging for more.
Check it out ....
Sunday, 19 March 2017
When Lafayette, Louisiana architects of groove Forming The Void released their debut album "Skyward" in 2015 it was wondered if the band may have raised the bar too high, such was the magnitude of their heavy sludged slightly prog-ish , stoner doom refrains it was hard to see how they could possibly follow up something so intense and powerfull!
Thankfully these reservations have proven to be unfounded as just one listen to the bands brand new album "Relic" (Argonauta Records) will bear witness.
Forming The Void have taken things to the next level with their new album “Relic” filling every nook and cranny of its eight songs with a dark, and at times mouth dropping. array of deliciously dank lysergic groove all furnished in swathes of slow, low distorted guitar riffage, brutal thrumming bass and earthshaking percussion. Over this humungous tsunami of raw progressive tinted stoner metal are floated powerful cryptic and mystical lyrics sang with strength and passion, slightly monotone but clean, and delivered with a power to match the tumultuous heavy grooves surrounding them. Songs like "Bialozar", "Plumes" and title track "Relic" are filled with swathes upon swathes of swirling atmospheric texture and colouring these elements combing with the heavy metallic grooves and lyrical content to take listeners on heady psychedelic tours through smoke filled landscapes populated by mystical creatures spreading leathery wings over towering stone mountains All this and an absolutely barnstorming version of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir”, what more could a discerning stoner doom fan possibly ask for.
Check it out ....
Also available on other digital outlets through Black Bow Records.
Check it out ....
Also available on other digital outlets through Black Bow Records.
Saturday, 18 March 2017
There's been a lot of expectation surrounding the release of Dallas stonernauts Mothership's new album especially after the release of the trio's storming 2016 live release " Live Over Freak Valley" (Ripple Music), a tour-de force of thundering stoner/hard rock perfectly executed in a live environment. The trouble with expectation is there is always a chance of disappointment when the long awaited product finally arrives, luckily this is not the case with the bands third album "High Strangeness"(Heavy Psych Sounds Europe/ Ripple Music USA).
Kicking off with title track "High Strangeness", a delightful instrumental underpinned by a hazy psychedelic drum and bass groove, perfectly executed by Judge Smith (drums) and
Next up is "Ride The Sun" a song that sees Mothership hitting a more familiar stoner/hard rock groove replete with hard driving rhythmic pulses that push the guitarist to match them with swathes of crunching riffage and searing fretwork. Vocals are delivered over this maelstrom of riff'n'rhythm clean, melodic and clear, a perfect foil for the raucousness beneath them.
A touch of darkness creeps into the equation with next track "Midnight Express" and sees the band hitting a heavier doom tinted groove with the two Juett's trading vocal licks on the verses and harmonising on the catchy sing-a-long chorus.
"Crown of Lies" continues the darker vibe of the previous track but this time mixes in a little heavy metal swagger into the proceedings with Kyle Juett's clean slightly snarled vocals and Maiden-esque galloping bass lines combining with Smith's tumultuous array of pounding percussion to create a base for Kelley Juett to launch into finger burning guitar solo's.
Mothership move the listener away from the dark recesses of the previous two tracks and into the bright sunlit landscapes of the desert with next track "Helter Skelter". a heavily fuzzed Kyuss- like groove that'll have moshpits at all their future gigs going absolutely apeshit!
"Eternal Trip" takes a left turn into ambiance with Kelley Juett laying soaring Gilmour-esque guitar colouring over a backdrop of gently picked arpeggios, serene and soothing.
"Wise Man" jams a chugging hard/stoner rock groove beneath lyrics that tell of regret and a life misspent, although probably the weakest track on the album it has its moments and well deserves it place.
"Speed Dealer" sees guitarist Kelley Juett take over lead vocal duties and blends the spirits of AC/DC and Motorhead in a song that pulls all the threads of the blues, hard rock and metal together to deliver a masterclass in raw rock'n'roll.
If you were one of those getting a little twitchy with anticipation for this release then fear not "High Strangeness" delivers everything you would expect from a Mothership album and whole lot more
Check it out.....
Friday, 17 March 2017
Alex Baumann (guitar/vocals), Anthony Dreyer (drums) are Telekinetic Yeti a two piece stoner/sludge unit from Dubuque, Iowa who specialise in grizzly grooves of heavy guitar riffage layered over thunderous percussion as can be heard on the bands debut "Abominable"(Sump Pump Records).
First and title track "Abominable" begins with droning feedback before erupting into a fractured,stuttering guitar refrain supported by Anthony Dreyer's almost tribal percussive accompaniment over which Alex Baumann's gruff bear-like vocals are roared, the songs chugging riffage broken intermittently by Iommi-esque fills and solo's, the resulting sonic attack almost belying the fact that this is being played a duo!
"Electronaut", an instrumental, opens with Dreyer laying down a solid and tight percussive beat before Baumann comes in with a low crunching guitar motif interspersed with clever little fills and licks. The groove takes a dramatic turn about of a quarter of the way in with Baumann chopping out some fuzz drenched powerchords completely unaccompanied before Dreyer returns and the groove moves into more Sabbath-esque territory that sees the guitarist tearing some very tasty notes from his fretboard before the pair move the groove back into the songs initial refrain and take things to the close.
"Stoned and Feathered" has a more desert/stoner feel than the previous songs, it's fuzz drenched groove leaning more closer to likes of Mos Generator and Fu Manchu than the heavy Sabbath -like vibes of what has gone before. Baumann however does not compromise his vocals to reflect this slightly lighter approach, roaring his vocals with intensity and power as if he was standing in front of a five piece death metal band instead of the one man sitting on the drum stool beside him.
"Colossus",another instrumental, begins light and airy with a Celtic tinged guitar motif played over intricate and sympathetic percussion before suddenly taking a left turn and moving into heavier areas with Dreyer's tumultuous sticksmanship the foundation for a furious Baumann riff, the song then continuing to swing back and forth between these two dynamics before fading into silence.
"Lightbearer" finds Telekinetic Yeti jamming a heavy sludge groove driven by Dreyer's pounding drums and furnished by Baumann's gnarly riffage and bellowing vocal tones but as is what seems to be bands modus operandi it's not long before they change tact and finish the song on a swathe of swirling spacey guitar effects.
"Apophis" has the duo jamming a brief but delicious slow, heavily distorted, low tuned instrumental sludge/doom groove replete with pulverising percussion and gnarly riffage. Short, sharp and soaked in swampy sludge its a shame that its almost over before its started.
"Beneath The Black Sun" sees Telekinetic Yeti bringing a little psychedelic colouring into play weaving lysergic textures around slow deliberate sludge metal riffage, but as before the band cannot resist the urge to mix it up a little, sticking a thrash like passage into the songs mid section and finishing in a wash of gentle ambiance for the finale.
"Himalayan Hymn" closes the album, its hazy almost pastoral beginnings of gently sweeped arpeggios over shimmering percussion soon making way for a maelstrom of heavy stoner metal groove superbly driven by Dreyer's whirlwind drumming and enhanced by Baumann's gnarly low and heavy fretwork.
Two guys, sounding like more, making a hell of a racket with just six strings and some skins, you just got to check it out .....
Thursday, 16 March 2017
Ghastly Sound were formed by bassist TJ Maynard and drummer Ryan Lewis, two childhood friends whose vision of heaviness and groove did not include in its equation the addition of a gurning, headlight hogging six stringer. These bass fronted grooves backed up with pulverising percussion needed something though and so entered vocalist Tyler Gurwicz, his blend of classic rock and stoner/sludge tones combining with Maynard and Lewis' thunderous rhythms to create an overall sound the trio like to call "unforgiving", a sound they explore to great lengths on their debut EP "Ghastly Sound" (Magnetic Eye Records)
"Ghastly Sound" is an EP exploding with feral power, assaulting the senses with waves upon waves of distorted riffage and rhythm around which powerfully emotive vocals are screamed, growled and roared and more importantly sang!. Frontman Gurwicz mixes up extreme vocal stylings with perfectly clean and powerful classic rock tones, at times coming across like a demonically possessed madman and at others like a shape throwing rock god delivering tones that would not sound out of place on a best of 70's rock album.
The lack of a "traditional" guitarist, although slightly unusual, is never an issue throughout "Ghastly Sound"s four song span, in fact such is Maynard's prowess with his instrument that the listener hardly notices the absence of any six-string colouring. Maynard uses his instrument not so much as a lead instrument but as a means to inform and direct the musical ebb and flow of the tumultuous heavy grooves he and Lewis lay beneath Gurwicz's vocal outpourings, combining with the drummers tsunami of groundshaking percussion to create a sonic palette that has no space (or need) for further instrumentation.
Check 'em out .....
Monday, 13 March 2017
What happens when you put two bands together, from different ends of the stoner doom spectrum, give them a theme to work with and ask them to write and record something. The answer my friends is one bad-ass split!
Thorr-Axe and Archarus, both Indianapolis bands, have come together in one place to tell the story, through the medium of riffage, of the humble Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, and his "unexpected journey" through the mythical lands of Middle-Earth to aid a group of Dwarves reclaim their home..
Thorr-Axe open proceedings with "Good Morning" a gentle piece with acoustic instruments picking out baroque-like melodies that are then joined by their electric equivalent in a Floydian-like medieval groove. Soaring, tranquil and quite beautiful it in no way prepares you for what comes next.
"Dawn take You All" begins with a stuttering fuzz drenched stoner refrain before erupting like the fires of Mount Doom above the Plateau of Gorgorath in plumes of thrash like blackened doom with throaty harsh vocals screamed over a backdrop of gnarly heavy riffage and pulsating rhythm like the soundtrack to an Orc war party on the march.
"Foehammer" is up next and this time it's Archarus' turn to step up to plate with a tale telling of Gandalf' the Wizard's legendary weapon of mass destruction, his sword. Archarus here play Elrond to Thorr-Axe's Sauron their cleaner less abrasive classical/epic doom approach of powerful clean toned vocals and searing guitar solos over more traditional heavy metal grooves are seemingly used, within the albums concept, to portray values of glory and heroism against those of war, blood and battle which, in this recording, seem to be the territory of Thorr-Axe.
Thorr-Axe return for "Whispers In The Dark" it's serene and tranquil intro a smoke screen for the enormous grizzled doom grooves following behind. Sitting a little more lower and slower, initially, than their previous track and with a slightly less harsh but just as intense, vocal delivery it slowly grows in menace and tempo until fading in a whirlwind of thrash-like metallic splendour.
Archarus step into the spotlight for the next two songs "Flies & Spiders" and "Erebor".the former beginning with gently picked/strummed clean jazz-like guitar tones then shifting through the gears into a galloping Maiden-esque groove over which clear strong vocals and a mix of clean and fuzzed guitars soar and swoop. The latter is an ode to the stone walls of the mountain home the Dwarves are so desperate to regain and begins with a gnarly bass motif interspersed with flashes of chordal guitar colouring before segueing into pulverising proto-doom groove embellished with Celtic tinted guitar harmonies, that combined with the excellent vocal and lyrical content result in a groove that in places comes across like a meeting between Thin Lizzy and Dio.
Thorr-Axe close proceedings with "Battle of Five Armies" a song and theme perfectly suited to their brand of blackened doom and sludgey metal. Thorr-Axe bring into play elements of both epic doom and its sludgey stoner cousin in a groove dripping with atmosphere and emotion that sees throat tearing vocals roared over a backdrop of dramatically shifting grooves that perfectly match the ebb and flow of a battle, close your eyes and you can at times almost hear the clash of sword on shield.
Split albums can sometimes be risky affairs, throw a "concept" into the mix and that risk increases two-fold, fortunately by structuring the playlist so that the story is shared on the merits of it's musical dynamics, rather than the usual one band, one side structure, the two bands manage to pull it off with honours even and their reputations enhanced and intact.
Check it out ....
Saturday, 11 March 2017
Denver's Cloud Catcher have been burning up oxygen with their brand of riff fuelled cosmic groove since their formation in 2013 and as those lucky enough to have heard the bands 2015 debut "Enlightened Beyond Existence" will tell you, these guys know how to rock a riff or two.
The band, Rory Rummings (guitar/vocals), Kameron Wentworth (bass) and Jared Soloman Handman (drums), recently signed with Totem Cat Records, a move culminating in the release of their second album "Trails of Kozmic Dust"
Driven by the the influences of heavy blues laced 70's hard rock bands like (early) Grand Funk Railroad, Cream and Mountain and salted with touches of Hendrix-esque guitar pyrotechnics "Trails of Kozmic Dust" is very much an album born of the past but existing in the present. Cloud Catcher are no retro band trying to recapture an age however, these guys bring into their heavy rocking 70's grooves elements of todays doom, psych and stoner, blending them with those of yesterday and creating a sound that although having its roots firmly planted in the past still manages to sound fresh, exiting and in the now. From the Mountain-esque grooves of opener"Astral Warlord" to the Budgie -like riffs and motif's of final track "Righteous Ruler" Cloud Catcher pay homage and tribute to those that have gone before and those that may yet come, the trio laying down fuzz drenched stoner/hard rock grooves packed with swirling bluesy guitar solo's, spine crumbling bass and tight solid percussion. Add the grainy, powerful blues drenched vocal tones of Rummings into this maelstrom of stonerized heavy blues drenched groove and you arrive at an album that you not only should but must check out .....
Friday, 10 March 2017
Taunton, a town snuggled in the county of Somerset, UK ,once famous for it's cider production, is also the home of prog/sludge groovsters Sail (formally Husk) a band who cite among their influences the writers HP Lovecraft and Terry Pratchett (as well as of course cider). The band, who as Husk previously released one album "Seven Pyramids" and a split "Upon His Mountain", (with fellow West Country sludgsters Striga ) have just released their first album, "Slumbersong", under their new name
Sail employ, into their sound, elements of textured post-rock and complex progressive metal and combine those elements with thick swathes of swampy sludge drenched guitar riffery and raw throaty vocals, then confuse matters further by weaving in to those heady mixes touches of 70's rock and shoegaze/alt-rock vocal melodies. Songs like "Praise and Hatred", "Righteous" and "Old Tom" are hammered out on waves of crunching riffage, pushed hard by a thunderous rhythm section, over which raw bellowed vocals play "catch me" with dark swirling guitar solo's, the resulting whirlwind of groove coming across like Baroness meeting Mastodon at a Boss Keloid gig. Now this alone would be enough to sell "Slumbersong" to most metalheads/stoners but Sail have more up their sleeves than just a roar and a riff, these guys can mix it up too. On "Ghosts" the band create post-rock structured soundscapes enhanced by a combination of reverb drenched and swirling bluesy guitar colourings coated in shoegaze-ish vocal tones, while on "House" the band almost get a little psychedelic and at times Celtic, these two songs combined with the beautiful title track shining a whole new light on what Sail are all about both musically and dynamically.
Sail, Tom Coles (drums), Kynan Scott (bass), Charlie Dowzell (guitars/vocals) and Tim Kazer (guitars/vocals) have with "Slumbersong" created somewhat of a rod for their own backs in the that after hearing an album so perfectly balanced in songwriting, arrangement and execution its hard to see how they could ever better it ...but let's hope they try.
Check it out .....
Tuesday, 7 March 2017
South America is on fire these days, there doesn't seem a day goes by without some kick-ass band playing kick-ass grooves makes it way onto the music littered desk of Desert Psychlist. Grooves coming from places like Chile. Brazil, Peru and others are becoming as anticipated as those from the USA and European big hitters Greece and Sweden.
The latest band from South America to assail Desert Psychlist's senses with their gnarly refrains is Mondo Dromo, a quartet from Buenos Aires, Argentina courtesy of their new EP "Solipsimo"( Venado Records).
For those not familiar with listening to music coming from the South American continent. or any other non-English speaking nation/continent for that matter, the secret is not to translate every syllable via some internet translator but to allow the melodies and general flow of the vocals to wash over you as if you were listening to another instrument. This works especially well with the vocal deliveries on "Solipsismo", where the gritty tonal qualities of vocalist/guitarist Andrés Gargiulo are slightly buried within the mix allowing the immense stoner/psych grooves, which are the bands stock-in -trade, to dominate proceedings. Having said this those tonal qualities remain an integral component in Mondo Dromo's overall sonic attack.
Musically Mondo Dromo are a tour-de-force of gnarly fuzzed riffage and hard driving rhythms enhanced by scorching guitar solo's and psychedelic arpeggios. Gargiulo and second guitarist Francisco Badano lay down swathes of fuzz soaked guitar driven hard by Sebastián Romani's powerful percussion and Martín Tarifeño's bone rattling bass lines, all coloured by Gargiulo's powerful gritty/clean vocals.
The EP consists of four songs, "Aquas Negras", a raucous mix of hard rock bluster and stoner/psych grit, "Solipsismo", a hard driven acid laced rocker with a deliciously addictive groove, "Lava" a riff fuelled romp though desert territory on a Kyuss shaped camel and "Broken", a nicely paced bluesy barnstormer that on its way to it's droning conclusion takes in elements of space, psych and blistering hard rock.
If you don't speak Spanish but like your grooves molten hot with a touch of heavy psych colouring and an element of dusty desert swagger then "Solipsismo" is an EP that you should hear, it could open a whole new world to you.
Check it out .....
Monday, 6 March 2017
Portland, (Maine) does not quite have the musical kudos of it's doom and stoner drenched North Western cousin of the same name but there is however a good, if smaller, stoner, doom and psych scene going on there with a number of good bands doing their best to get their grooves out there and noticed.
One of those bands Objet, Dan Paulsen (drums), Joshua MacVane (bass), Andy Beavis (guitar), Keith Hebert (guitar) and Kris Milo (vocals) have recently stepped out of the shadows of obscurity to throw their hat into the ring with the release of their three song debut EP " The Space That Binds Us".
First track " Bulletproof Renegade" starts life on a deep booming bass line underscored by intricate and understated drum patterns before being joined by the guitars, shards of chordal colouring filling every space. Over this slightly psychedelic, slightly prog-ish groove lyrics, telling of anger and regret, are delivered in huge clean, slightly gritted vocal tones that possess a classic rock/metal vibe perfectly suited to their surrounding heavy psych/prog grooves , Suddenly the chorus kicks in and the mood changes both vocally and musically, the guitars shifting into riff mode laying down a thick heavy stoner metal refrain while the vocals take on a gruffer, grittier and heavier delivery, Driven by pounding percussion and grizzly distorted bass and enhanced by short bursts of scorching solo guitar the song then falls back into line again for the next verse, the song toing and froing between these two dynamics until reaching a deliciously noisy metallic conclusion.
"Prophet of Nowhere" bursts from the traps on one of those stuttering heavy metal riffs we have all heard before but can't help loving to death, the songs slightly NWOBHM feel mixed with elements of prog-metal complexity although slightly generic in places is nevertheless highly enjoyable.
"The Space That Binds Us" sees Objet upping their game with a song that walks a line between subtle shades of progressive metal and its heavier stoner equivalent without committing to either, finding a balance between the two that sits nicely on the ears. The song shifts through differing tempos and time signatures without feeling forced or clichéd, moving between complex passages of dark prog texturing and heavy metallic bluster with unerring ease buoyed by a delicious ear-catching vocal melody.
Although not quite the finished article yet Objet are a band who with the right breaks and a willingness to work hard could have a bright future.
Check 'em out ...
Saturday, 4 March 2017
Ethereal and atmospheric are two words often bandied about when discussing music found within the genres and sub-genres of the doom scene but never have two words seemed so fitting as when applied to Californian doom rockers King Woman's new opus "Created In The Image of Suffering" (Relapse Records)
Dark and moody with a hazy psychedelic feel "Created In The Image of Suffering" is a startling atmospheric album full of dynamic twists and turns, telling tales of love, loss and longing over a backdrop of at times jarringly brutal, at times heart wrenchingly beautiful, dark velvet metallic tones of doom. Ethereal vocals, delivered in hauntingly sweet, breathy tones float over sweeping arpeggios and crunching riffage, built on a platform of intricate and complex drum and bass patterns.
Kristina Esfandiari's vocal delivery throughout "Created In The Image of Suffering" is a revelation and a shining example of how less can sometimes be more, her hushed. slightly droned, tones bringing a deep emotional gravitas to lyrics like "I'd wash your feet with my dirty hair, and you know I love you with all my heart"("Deny") and "All I ever wanted to be, you strip a sense of self from me"("Worn") filling them with a sense of melancholy and regret that is both touching and beautiful. Combine this with the stunning and breath-taking levels of musicianship, that are the canvas on which these lyrics are painted upon, and you have an album that not only can make you bang your head but may also make you cry.
Check it out ......
Friday, 3 March 2017
Phoenix Arizona's Goya emerge from the "Valley of the Sun" once again to assail our senses with four slices of monolithic groove delivered under the mighty banner of "Harvester of Bongloads" (Opoponax Records)
"Harvester of Bongloads" begins with that old chestnut of the 70's a conceptual piece, a twenty minute plus opus that lyrically pays homage to the "sweetest leaf" as well as lamenting the state of the world we live in, and is entitled "Omen". Split into three movements, " Strange Geometry", "Fade Away" and "Life Disintegrates", "Omen" shifts through a series of differing dynamics from tribalistic drums and backward sounding vocal effects through guitar wailing jamming to a full on monolithic, riff laden sludge/stoner doom finale Nick Lose (drums) lays down tumultuous barrages of rhythmic thunder superbly complimented by Sonny DeCarto's big gnarly overdriven bass lines, the pair laying the perfect foundations for Jeff Owens to build his fuzz drenched riffs and solo's over as well as adding his deep powerfully booming and slightly monotonic vocals to.
"Germination" follows and is a short yet totally enjoyable slab of plodding doom coated in scorching guitar that descends into white noise and feedback before re-emerging as.....
"Misanthropy On High" is Goya doing what Goya does best, laying down thick grooves of devastating sludge tinted doom around lyrical diatribes against humankind. Owens delivers a superb vocal performance over DeCanto and Lose's backdrop of thrumming bass and pulverising percussion, at the same time tearing scintillating and molten hot riffs, licks and solo's from his fretboard. The three musicians come together like pieces of a jigsaw complimenting each others contributions and combining to create a whole that is as heavy as it is addictive.
"Disease" sees Goya paying homage to their Sabbathian roots with the trio raising the tempo slightly and hitting a groove that although owing a large debt to Ozzy and Co. also carries within its deeply dark hard rock grooves a touch of North Dakota stoners Egypt's sonic assault.
"Harvester of Bongloads" is an album of superb new grooves and in Desert Psychlist's considered opinion is Goya's finest hour to date
Check it out .....
Thursday, 2 March 2017
Simon Smith (vocals), Jay Cowley (guitar, backing vocals), Jonathan South (guitar, backing vocals), Gavin Treliving (bass, backing vocals) and Kez Whelan (drums) are Damn Craters a raw and ready stoner/hard rock (although they prefer to call it "Gravity Rock") band from the home of Robin Hood and Raleigh Bikes, Nottingham.
The band, whose influences range from Pink Floyd to Soundgarden, have just released their first self-titled three song EP "Damn Craters".
"Bin Money" bursts intro-less from the speakers, like an alien erupting from John Hurt's chest, on a wave of grizzled impassioned vocals and fuzz soaked riff'n'rhythm, pinning the listener to the floor with the ferocity of its attack. Smith spits out lyrics telling of being "nurtured in the womb of a gitane" (gypsy woman) over a backdrop of heavy stoner groove, his snarling anger laced voice the perfect match for the gnarly distorted riffage all around it.
"Monomyth" is next and sees Damn Craters mixing into their gritty stoner grooves shades of dank doom colouring and textured psych that sees Smith slightly tailoring his vocals to compliment the darkness while Cowley and South lay down a dense variety of crunching riffage and swirling guitar solo's superbly backed by Treliving's throbbing bass and Whelan's pulverising drums.
"Fighting In The Caves of Drach" takes both the doom and psych aspects of the previous track and expands on them, weaving them in and around the songs intoxicating groove, the music's dynamics constantly shifting through the gears with Cowley and South swooping off into the stratosphere on glorious tangents of six string majesty that are only anchored to the ground by Treliving's delicious bass lines and Whelan's mix of intricate and pounding percussion. Smith's voice meanwhile moves from a hushed whisper to a raging torrent in a heartbeat, living inside the lyrics, feeling them, breathing them, when he sings the lines "the universe created these molecules, now you think you own this earth, well I can tell you, you fucking don't" you know he means it!
"Damn Craters" is a superb EP that uses that old showbiz adage of "always leave 'em wanting more" to great effect...because you will!
Check it out......
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Never has anyone deserved a credit on more albums, EP's and singles than that old fallen angel Satan, it's no wonder they call rock and blues music "the devils work" the dark one has his hoofprints stamped all across it. Nowhere can these satanic influences be more witnessed than on those sounds emanating from the doom, metal and occult scenes, and no one does heavy doom and occult metal better than Strange Broue. If you think that's an overstatement then wait until you hear the bands new opus "Séance -The Satanic Sounds of Strange Broue".
Like a documentary on occultism "Séance" is an album split between heavy grooves of dark, dark doom/occult riffage, ritual chanting and samples of narrative, taken from a variety of sources, telling a potted history of Satanism and the dark arts. Like sitting through the best tutorial you've ever attended it is sometimes easy to forget you are listening to a music album but when those grooves do pop their heads above the altar table they soon make their presence felt by the sheer force of their dark and unsettling intensity. Thick slabs of gnarly, grinding riffage render the air with hurricane force underneath which a tornado of percussion is deployed, pounding and crashing like a poltergeist trying to make its presence felt. Over this demonic barrage of malevolence vocals are delivered in a variety of demonic tones telling of " Satan's slaves" and "Candles burning" sometimes sang, sometimes chanted and sometimes howled, combining with the music to create a sound that is unnerving and just pure evil.
"Séance is not an album you can easily cherry pick your favourites from, this is an album you really need to immerse yourself in, live with, to appreciate it's full glory/horror....but not alone!!!!!!
Check it out .....