Thursday, 31 August 2017

BEASTMAKER ~ COVEN BORN ..... review


Touring can be an expensive business, you often have to speculate to accumulate and the returns for that speculation are not always immediately forthcoming, it may be a while before you recoup on your investments with those returns often coming in the shape of album and merchandise sales something that cannot be usually gauged until the tour is over. With the slow demise of the "traditional" record companies it is now often the band/artist who has to find the means to fund, not only, the initial layout for touring but also for recording and releasing their material.
Fresno's Beastmaker are planning to tour Europe and in order to help fund this excursion the band are, with a little help from Rise Above Records and Branca Studio, releasing an EP of tunes that for one reason or another didn't quite make the cut for their "Lusus Naturae" album (2016). The EP "Coven Born" will only be available digitally and only for a short period of time.


The first thing that hits the listener about the four songs that make up "Coven Born" is the quality of both the songwriting and their sonic impact, these are not songs left off an album because they were not good enough these are strong, powerful tunes that may have missed the cut only for the fact other songs that did were, at the time, deemed just that bit stronger.
Title track "Coven Born" opens with keyboards playing an eerie horror film inspired motif before Trevor William Church announces his arrival with a similarly eerie guitar refrain backed by John Tucker's huge grizzled bass and Andres Alejandro Saldate's punchy drums. Church, who also provides vocals, is right up front in the mix his clean, slightly gothic tinted, tones combining with his undeniably deft guitar skills to give the song an epic doom feel that leans more towards the altar and grave outpourings of Candlemass than the usual Sabbath comparisons that are often thrown the band's way.
"Killing Spree" follows a similar path to Sabbath's iconic song "Black Sabbath" in that the songs narrator is visited by an apparition while lying in his bed only this time the perpetrator of this visitation is a female with intentions a little more gruesome than just pointing a finger. Nicely paced with a chugging groove interspersed with clever little hooks it is hard to understand why this has never saw the light of day before now.
Tolling bells herald the next track "Amongst The Buried" the song again utilising a bedrock of  gnarly distorted bass and pulverising percussion for Church to decorate with his distinctive vocal tones and fret melting guitar pyrotechnics.
"Whitewood" closes the EP and finds Beastmaker still working within their chosen field of horror inspired grooviness but  shaking those grooves up with little touches of lysergic colourings and textures as well as throwing in a few well chosen soundbytes lifted from classic horror movies Church also lays down some truly incendiary neo-classical shredding expertly backed up by Tucker and Saldate.


Beastmaker have stated that as soon as their proposed European tour is over "Coven Born" will no longer be available to the general public so do yourself a huge favour and snag it now before its too late, you will not regret it!
Check it out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

THE STONE EYE ~ THE MEADOW ..... review


The Stone Eye, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, certainly know how to make a tuneful and  very powerful noise ,especially when you consider there are just two guys in the band. Jeremiah Bertin (drums) and Stephen Burdick (vocals, guitar, bass, keyboard) are The Stone Eye two guys who take their rock influences from a broad spectrum that stretches from Dinosaur Jr. through to Ghost.
The band are about to release their third full length album "The Meadow" ( September 02) and its one that sits very nicely on the ears.


The Stone Eye throw all their influences and inspirations into one big melting pot, alt/grunge, stoner and hard rock can all be found juicily bubbling next to elements of psych and post-rock in one big gumbo of groove made even more palatable by Burdick's slightly slurred, slightly gothic tinted vocal tones. Burdick's warm clean voice, tinged with world weariness, dominates the twelve songs that make up The Stone Eye's new opus "The Meadow". the vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist conveying a myriad of emotions and moods in his delivery without having the need to go overboard into vocal pyrotechnics, his voice and his instrumental prowess both pushed hard and benefiting from Bertin's sympathetic and, at times startlingly intricate and complex rhythmic patterns.


The alt/grunge tag mentioned earlier is probably the one closest to describing what The Stone Eye bring to the table musically but that is not to say that there is not more to be found here if you bother to dig a little deeper and "The Meadow" is an album well worth digging into, from the stoner-ish hard/classic rock of "Farewell Lady" through to the wah drenched loud/quiet/loud aesthetics of "The Heathen" listeners will find more than enough hooks to hang their respective tags/labels/descriptions on. Desert Psychlist's advice however would be to be stick "The Meadow" on a sound system of your choice and just bathe in the brilliance of it's strong songwriting and addictive catchy hooks and  grooves.
Check it out ...


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 25 August 2017

NIGHT GOAT ~ CHICKEN EP & EGG EP ..reviews


This is a first for Desert Psychlist, reviewing two simultaneously released EP's from the same band on the same page! The band in question are a vocal (Kat), drum (David) and guitar (Brad) trio from Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia going by name of Night Goat, the EP's in question released under the cryptic titles "Chicken" and "Egg" (Lint Music) and as the band say on their Bandcamp page " it is up to you to decide which one came first"




Let's start with "Chicken"..
"Romanes Eunt Domus" opens "Chicken" with shimmering guitar arpeggios swept over solid and intricate drum patterns gradually growing in intensity until finally exploding into a heavy doom hued groove with those arpeggios making way for thick downtuned riffs and the drums taking on a heavier pounding approach. This sudden wave of heaviness then subsides to make way for the vocals and we, the listeners, get our first taste of what makes Night Goat tick and sets them apart from the usual doom drenched suspects. In a genre dominated by guttural howls and demonic harshness Kat's vocals come as a revelation, her warm smoky tones with mellow jazz colourings  ooze and soar over Brad's dark doomic guitar tones and David's diverse rhythmic patterns floating majestically above them like dark glistening oil sitting on a stormy blue sea.
"16 Ounce World" ramps up the jazziness with Kat crooning heartfelt lyrics of pain and despair over a backdrop of gently picked guitar complimented by sympathetic and understated percussion. Intense, emotional and achingly beautiful it's only fault is in the brevity of its length.
"Norwegian Blues" begins with Brad chopping out a lone and darkly distorted blues tinted guitar refrain before being joined by David's drums, the pair taking off into a thrumming heavy blues groove that although having its roots in the delta has, courtesy of Kat's mellow dark vocals,Brad's low menacing guitar tones and David's powerful percussion,  at least some of it's branches dangling menacingly over the cemetery gates of doom. 

"Egg" is next...
"Egg" leans a little heavier towards the blues than "Chicken" with Brad and David bringing an element of swagger and strut to proceedings, albeit an element tinged with a large quantity of doomic darkness. This is most evident on opening song "How To Make Soap" where David opts for a guitar tone and delivery more akin to that of Led Zep's Jimmy Page in his darker moments than the Iommi-isms that are usually the norm when dealing with doom flavoured music. This bluesier approach pays off nicely when combined with David's Bonham-esque drumming, the pair coming together to lay a huge swathe of riffage and rhythm for Kat to counterbalance and decorate with her smoky jazz tinted vocal tones.
"Nebuchadnezzar Blues" continues the delta toned theme but this time approaches from a more "traditional" heavy blues direction and sees Kat briefly dropping her jazzy vocal inflections for a more straight ahead vocal styling. The song takes a turn towards the more metallic as it approaches its nadir with the Brad and David hitting a chugging stoner/doom groove to take things to a close.
"Have I Joined a Cult?" moves slightly away from the crossroads of Robert Johnson and finishes the EP with an atmospheric and moody jaunt that takes in elements of shimmering psych and moody doom  all coated in Kat's warm emotive vocals, the song bringing "Egg" to a close with style and finesse, leaving the listener with the unwavering feeling he/she has just heard something utterly unique and special.


Two EP's, three people, one great groove
Check 'em out.....



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 24 August 2017

THE ARATACA STONED FARMERS ~ TALES FROM ARATACA - CHAPT- 03 .... review


The Arataca Stoned Farmers met by happy accident and from that accident a friendship formed, not content with just being friends the four guys took their friendship  one step further by forming a band! Angelo Bracht (guitar), Fernando Schmitz (vocals), Arthur Luciano Gunther (bass) and Gustavo Hansen (drums) hail from Joinville, Brazil a  metropolitan region where many of the population are descended from European stock.
The band, who have previously released a couple of two track affairs titled "Tales from Arataca" and "Tales From Arataca - Chapt. 2" respectively, have this time  gone to the previously unprecedented lengths of releasing an EP with a whopping three tracks on it, an EP that flies under the, not so surprising, banner of  "Tales from Arataca - Chapt. 03"


Those European roots mentioned earlier raise their heads at the start of "Melting Paintings" the song introduced by what sounds to be a soundbyte lifted from a German movie (Desert Psychlist is no linguist so this could well be another language) before exploding into crunching, fuzz drenched stoner groove replete with grumbling bass and pounding percussion over which are roared gritty clean vocals. Vocalist, Schmitz,  although not the most powerful you'll ever hear, compensates for his lack of rock-god vocal pyrotechnics by delivering good clean tones  phrased with a throaty grittiness that sit nicely within the songs mix managing to make their presence felt without the need for vocal showboating. Bracht's dark downtuned guitar tones and palm muted refrains give the song an almost proto-doom feel, the guitarist utilising touches of Iommi-esque colouring in his solo's, neatly pulling them off yet managing to avoid the pitfall of dragging the song into the realms of Sabbath worship by adding his own twist on them..
"The Harvest" follows,  a gnarly assed short sharp hard rock/stoner outing laced with metallic undertones pushed hard by Hansens' insistent percussion and Gunther's grizzled bass lines. "Mother Nature was my giver" sings Schmitz against a backdrop of crunching riffage and pounding rhythms before manfully roaring "It's harvest time" the songs addictive call and response chorus.
"Bullfrog" closes "Tales From Arataca -Chapt.03" with a fuzz soaked desert/stoner groove played at almost thrash-like tempo with Gunther's bass booming and growling beneath Bracht's swirling bluesy guitar riffs, licks and solo's expertly supported by Hansen's titanic drums. Schmitz pitches his vocals a little higher to match the songs furious pace the singer telling his tale of the humble bullfrog with clean clear but grit tinted conviction.


It seems The Arataca Stoned Farmers idea of releasing their music in short sharp short, sharp jabs that hit their listeners fast and hard is one that works well for them, leaving their listeners battered , bruised and breathless, not sure what as just happened to them but desperate for the next chapter.
Check 'em out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

BLUES FUNERAL ~ AWAKENING .... review


Progressive rock exploded into life in the 1970's, the genre utilising influences from a broad spectrum of musical styles that included classical music, psychedelic rock, folk and hard rock, blending these styles into complex musical arrangements that had an almost orchestrated feel about them. Musicians who played this music were mostly highly skilled technicians who were masters of their chosen instruments and although this resulted in some of the most exciting music of its time it was also the downfall of the genre. By the late 70's and early 80's prog had become a bit of a joke, the complex arrangements had become overblown and overindulgent, with prog bands releasing confusing "concept" albums that often had no basis in any sort of reality, and with musicians who were often more interested in displaying their technical prowess than playing for the song. The genre was slowly losing it's audience and by the time punk exploded in 1976 it was almost all over for prog!

Not quite though, there will always be musicians who strive for more in their playing, and so a new breed of musicians evolved, musicians who wanted to stretch themselves musically but at the same time keep at least one foot in the mosh pit, finding a balance between complexity and groove without compromising their ideals.
One such band to walk the line between hard rocking swagger and cerebral musicality are Texas quartet Blues FuneralJan Kimmel (guitar, Nord, vocals), Maurice Eggenschwiler (guitar, vocals), Cory Cousins (drums) and Gabriel Katz (bass), four guys with a penchant for complexity and metallic bluster who, last year (2016) caused a small tsunami of  appreciation to ebb their way with the release of their debut album "The Search". a wonderful blend of prog, hard rock and stonerized blues rock, This year (2017) the band follow up that album, striking while the iron is still hot, with a new opus "The Awakening"


From the opening bars of first track "Shadow of the Snake" it's fairly obvious that Blues Funeral take their muse from a time far removed from the harshness of today's doom and stoner scene, the songs classic rock groove. driven by Cousins and Katz's sterling drums and bass work. is wrapped in swathes of swirling Deep Purple-esque keyboard colouring, courtesy of Kimmel, and enhanced by Eggenschwiler's crunching riffage, soaring solo's, Kimmel and Eggenschwiler sharing  vocal duties, both distinctive and powerful. This one song, on it's own, tells you everything you need to know about what Blues Funeral bring to the table, the band injecting a freshness and vitality into a genre of music, that those of us old enough to remember, thought had lost its lustre.
A mythical tale told in a mix of lone and harmonized vocals, title track "Awakening" sees Kimmel and Eggenschwiler trading off solo's and riffs around a crunching hard rock groove with Kimmel providing occasional tasteful keyboard flourishes while Katz and Cousins keep things tight and solid beneath.
"Illusion of Reality" finds Blues Funeral adding a touch of pop sensibility and hard rock swing into their groove. Easy on the ear and boasting killer guitar solos and an absolutely infectious singalong chorus the song shows this band are as quite capable of reaching a more mainstream audience as they are of pleasing those of a more discerning underground bias.
"Firedrake" heads back into classic/prog rock territory with Kimmel's keyboards pushed to the fore touching on classical themes and motifs along the way. There is an underlying doom-ish feel to the proceedings here, not in a modern brutal way but in a more traditional prog orientated direction, a feeling made even more prevalent by its lyrical content...  "Do you envy the dead? Gods cry when even Death feels sorrow".
"Casimir" sees the band exploring eastern themes and motifs over an ever shifting rhythmic backdrop, excellently provided by  Katz and Cousins, with Kimmel and Eggenschwiler trading melodies and harmonies both on guitar and vocals.
"Gathering Dust" ramps up the bands prog factor to eleven and sees the band switching seamlessly between differing time signatures and dynamics while at the same time retaining those doomish-hues hinted at in previous track "Firedrake". Atmospheric and emotive it is a fitting finale to a fine collection of songs.


Prog is alive and well, it maybe not as you remember it back in the days of capes and dry ice but Blues Funeral, with "Awakening", have shown that you don't have to be overblown and overwhelming to show off your musical chops and that "there is still life in the old prog yet"
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 20 August 2017

THE NECROMANCERS ~ SERVANTS OF THE SALEM GIRL ... review


Tom Cornière (Vocals, Guitar), Robin Genais (Lead Guitar), Simon Evariste (Bass Guitar) and Benjamin Rousseau (Drums) are collectively known as The Necromancers, a quartet from
Poitiers, France with a penchant for progressive tinted metal grooves sprinkled with a modicum of hard rock/stoner fuzz and a soupcon of psych and post-rock texturing. The band recently signed with those arbiters of good taste and all things fuzz shaped, Ripple Music, and have just released their debut album "Servants of the Salem Girl"


"Salem Girl Pt.I" opens innocently enough with Cornière laying down  a lone slow, low doom-ish guitar motif which, with a few minor alterations, is mirrored by Genais' cleaner six-string tones. This innocence and post-rock serenity is shattered when without warning when Evariste's grumbling bass and Rousseau's powerhouse drums join the party and the song explodes into a strident metallic stoner groove overlaid with a mixture of Maiden/Priest-esque guitar harmonies and crunching stoner riffage pushed hard by the aforementioned drummer and bassist.. Over and around this maelstrom of galloping NWOBHM and stoner/hard rock bluster are wrapped Cornière's powerful vocal tones, the singer's throaty mixture of bear-like roars and gritty clean croons taking the songs intensity and the bands sonic impact to a whole new level.
"Lucifer's Kin" is up next and sees Rousseau utilising all sorts of percussive tricks and effects to create a hellish atmosphere beneath which Evariste lays a slow, achingly sinister, bass motif that is then joined by Genais and Cornière's guitars in a groove that has a distinctive epic/traditional doom feel. The song then takes a left turn into Sabbath-esque proto doom territory with Cornière crooning tales of the horned one over swathes of grainy cantering riffage, the song swinging back and forth between these two dynamics of doomitude broken only by a short lysergic section where Genais lets loose with some truly scorching lead work before diving back into the traditional/proto groove to take the song to its screeching guitar fuelled epic finale.
"Black Marble House" opens with a palm muted guitar riff beneath chiming arpeggios then, after a brief moment of lone drumming, segues into deliciously addictive stoner/hard rock groove replete with little catchy guitar and vocal hooks. Cornière's vocals  here take on a more melodic vocal tone. slowly growing in graininess and grittiness as the song progresses, roaring like a wounded bear by the time the song reaches it's noisy pummelling climax. It's truly difficult to convey in words how damn good this tune is!
"Necromancers" is one of those tunes that despite its dark subject matter and chorus of "Hey Lucifer" has an undeniable feel good factor that will have the listener smiling like a demon with a new possession well before it reaches its sudden full stop. It's party time in Hades everyone, grab a pitchfork and boogie on down!
"Grand Orbiter" explodes straight out of the speakers on a wave of caustic wah drenched riffage and pulverising rhythm coated in melodic vocal harmonies then shifts down the gears into a slightly less abrasive groove with chiming arpeggios echoing over bone crumbling bass and intricate percussion with Cornière adjusting his vocal tones accordingly. The song moves through a series of shifting time signatures and rhythmic patterns without once losing its focus and finds Evariste and Rousseau laying down solid backdrops of diverse rhythmic groove for Genais and Cornière to embellish with superb guitar texturing and vocal colouring.
"Salem Girl Pt. II" ramps up the bands doom factor to eleven by opening with a low, slow and heavy refrain that sees Genais and Cornière crunching out heavily distorted riffs over a backdrop of titanic drumming and earth shaking bass. Not a band who like to overstay their welcome on one groove it is not long before The Necromancers move things along and take off on a tangent. raising both the tempo and temperature by heading into a more stoner metal direction fragmented by moments of post-rock/prog texturing. Cornière roars like an angry bull on the more aggressive sections dropping to a clean melodic tone in the songs quieter moments, his diversity of vocal styles matched by his equally diverse array of rhythmic guitar tones, but it is Genais' scorching lead work that is the cherry on this particular cake, the guitarist excelling in his choice of notes and chord progressions, exploiting spaces within the music to unleash searing guitar solo's that tear through the songs darkened groove like lightening tearing through a night sky, breathtaking at times.


There has been some talk of late along the lines that the stoner/hard rock/psych and doom scene is  getting a little stale and old hat, saturated by an influx of similar sounding bands with a lack of originality all vying for the attention of what is essentially still a relatively small fan base. There may be some truth in that train of thought but while there are still bands seemingly appearing from nowhere to assail our ears with albums as good and as exciting as The Necromancers " Servants of the Salem Girl" then we shouldn't worry too much.quite yet!
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 18 August 2017

TURBOBOBCAT ~ PENTASTAR ROCKET RIDE ... review


Turbobobcat, a quartet from Catania, Sicily consisting of Federico 'SaturnFaun' Indelicato (vocals/rhythm guitar), Davide 'Mr. White' Guardo (lead guitar), Martino 'Mr. Firebird' Razza (bass guitar) and Pietro 'Pyt' Leanza (drums) were formed as recently as 2016 but immediately gelled as a musical force, the four musicians finding  common ground in their love of Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Motorhead and Orange Goblin, the band fusing elements of their heroes into their  own sound,  a sound soaked in a profusion of rhythmic bluster, heavy fuzz and devastating  distortion. Turbobobcat, not wanting the grass to grow too fast under their feet wasted no time in formulating their ideas into songs and were soon committing those songs onto tape, the result being this their debut EP "Pentastar Rocket Ride"


"Pentastar" erupts into being with wave of circular guitar riffage and howling feedback then explodes into a bruising desert/stoner groove with Leanza's powerful drum beats the anchor around which Indelicato's rhythm guitar and Razza's bass lay down a swathe overdriven groove. Indelicato as well as his rhythm guitar duties also supplies vocals, his clean, edgy tones roaring tongue in cheek lyrics telling of "smoking shitty rays of light" amid "stoned distorsion, engine combustion" and " Weedian spacecrafts". Around these tales of cannabis tinted space and time Guardo adds dark swathes of gritty guitar colouring, filling in the spaces the others leave behind with scorching solo's, spacey licks and clever fills, the lead guitarists contributions the icing on a very tasty cake.
"TURBOBOCAT" follows, a song that can be perceived either as a story of a bunch of desperado's robbing their way across the country or as a not-so veiled celebration of being in that ultimate of gangs...a band. Born out of one of those rolling refrains that early stoners Fu Manchu were famous for the song has a distinctive 90's desert feel, a feel further enhanced by its heavily fuzzed chainsaw guitar tones and its furiously driven bass and drum groove.
"Bigfoot (Ruler of the Shire)" opens with the voice of a park guide welcoming you to Yellowstone Park and to "Walk in line, hold tight onto your cameras" before we are thrown into a chugging rhythmic guitar refrain supported by solid drums and bass over which Guardo adds deft touches of fuzz drenched six-string colouring. Over this gamut of blues tinted groove and fuzz soaked riffage Indelicato takes on the role of narrator and principle character lifting his voice into powerful rock god mode for the former and dropping down into guttural growling for the latter shifting between the two styles with consummate ease and giving the song an almost cinematic feel and closing the EP on a strong and very enjoyable high.


Italians are well known for their stylish fashion sense and exquisite food, what they are less known for is their hard rock/stoner riffage and raucous rhythms but that might all change once the world catches an earful of Turbobobcat's  "Pentastar Rocket Ride"
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 17 August 2017

KYBEROX ~ GO SLOW ... review


"We are here to soothe your ears with atomic waves of swirling cosmic heat" are the words with which Kyberox, a four piece band from Tacoma, Washington, introduce themselves. The band, Ashley de Choudens on vocals, Dave Marseillan on drums, Travis Pellegrini on guitar, and Chad Baker on bass, cite their influences as Kyuss, Acid King and The Sword and it would be foolish no to recognise elements of those bands grooves surfacing within the bands sonic cannon but that would only be half the story as becomes evident when giving their debut EP "Go Slow" a listen.


"Broken Will" is the first song to raise its head above the parapet, Pellegrini's fuzz drenched guitar circling around de Choudens' sweet but smoky vocals like a shark looking for its next meal before falling away and leaving Baker to take up the slack, his thrumming bass laying down a deliciously seductive groove which is expertly supported by Marseillan's deft percussive chops. Doom-ish but with a heavy leaning towards the occult rock end of the doomic spectrum the songs blend of atmosphere and swagger makes for the perfect introduction to what this band are all about.
"Strawberry Wizard" begins with Pellegrini chopping out a sparse palm muted guitar motif and is then joined by the rest of the band in a bluesy sabbathian groove underpinned by Baker's grumbling bass and Marseillan's busy, solid percussion with de Choudens voice soaring majestically above the maelstrom, her sweet powerful. slightly grainy tones a perfect foil for the equally powerful grooves surrounding them.
"Dathomir" opens with a seductive Baker bass motif that is then joined by Pellegrini's guitar in a bluesy psychedelic groove with Marseillan sitting just beneath adding sympathetic and intricate percussion and de Choudens crooning chanteuse- like over the top. The song then bursts into a heavy stoner doom refrain with de Choudens shifting through her vocal gears and wailing like a banshee over crunching guitar riffage and thunderous rhythm, The song swings back and forth between these two dynamics before, around the three quarter mark, taking off into and finishing on a raucous doom-ish desert groove.
"Blast" closes "Go Slow" and sees Kyberox running up the doom flag and waving it loud and proud for all to see. Dark swathes of grizzled fuzz, throbbing distortion and pulverising percussion are the bedrock over which de Chouden majestically wails, whispers and croons her tales of loss and longing her voice conveying a myriad of moods and emotions along the way.


"Go Slow" is stunning EP that teeters between fragility and brutality without going overboard in either direction, Kyberox finding a balance between the two extremes whereby grooves that sit easy on the ear also retain a gritty raucousness, a raucousness that will please those of a more visceral bias.
Check 'em out ....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

HOWLING GIANT ~ BLACK HOLE SPACE WIZARD: PT 2


When a band makes an album that ticks all the right boxes both musically and vocally and tags on to that albums title the legend "Pt: 1" you can't help but hope that "Pt:2" arrives soon and that when it does it does not disappoint. This was the case with Nashville's Howling Giant, the band released their second EP " Black Hole Space Wizard: Pt. 1" last year (2016) to great acclaim and whetted the appetites, of all who heard it, for the next instalment filling those listeners with a hope that "Black Hole Space Wizard: Pt 2" would be just as good ,if not better, than its predecessor. Well that time has finally arrived and " Black Hole Space Wizard; Pt 2" is finally getting released (August 25) so now you can judge for yourselves if the wait was worth it.


As the droning feedback intro of "Henry Tate"pulls you gradually in to a world of swirling space themed groove and crunching hard rock bluster it becomes glaringly apparent that Howling Giant have not fumbled the cosmos shaped ball they were carrying when creating "Pt 1"and that for this band it's onward and upward towards the multiverse and beyond. Doom, rock (both stoner and hard), psych, heavy metal and prog are all touched upon as the band take you on  journeys both musical and metaphysical, telling their tales of time and space, cause and effect against a backdrop of deliriously diverse soundscapes all delivered superbly by Tom Polzine (guitar and vocals), Roger Marks (bass and vocals) and Zach Wheeler (drums and vocals).
 It would be wrong to pick out individual songs for special mention as each and every song on "Pt: 2"  is an integral piece in a bigger picture, "Henry Tate", "The Pioneer", "Visions", "The Forest Speaks", "Circle of Druids" and "Earth Wizard" all have their own individual merits and highpoints and all are key components in the telling of "The Black Hole Space Wizard" story/saga, a story/saga you the listener will want to return to time and time again.


Do yourself a favour and give "Black Hole Space Wizard: Pt.2" a spin but before you do you might want to play "Pt.1" again first, just to refresh your memories.
Can't wait for Pt.3 now...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 12 August 2017

POSEIDON ~ PROLOGUE .... review


Seems Ripple Music are getting a little adventurous and heavy with their choices of  whom to sign to their iconic label, the label have been releasing an increasingly diverse array of  albums of late, albums that criss-cross across the undergrounds many genres and sub-genres and range from heavy stoner doom to intricate post rock. Latest band to get the Ripple treatment are Poseidon a four piece from the mean streets of East London whose blend of post-rock nuances, progressive complexity and doom flavoured darkness can be heard on their Ripple Music debut album "Prologue".


Droning feedback and noise heralds in first track "The Beginning ,The End, The Colony" and is gradually replaced by a crushing low, slow guitar riff supported  by deeply distorted bass and pummelling percussion with occasional shards of dark chordal guitar colouring fracturing the gloom, the song continuing along this path, building in atmosphere and mood, until clean clear, heavily phased vocals suddenly appear shining a little well needed light and much appreciated relief into the proceedings. This relief is short lived though and the band, Raza Khan (drums), Matt Norris (guitar), Matthew Bunkell (bass/vocals) and Jamie Starke (guitar) are soon taking off on another darkened tangent of crushing heaviness this time with Bunkell's vocals taking on a more visceral, animalistic tone beneath which Norris and Starke rip the air asunder with their riffs and licks and Bunkell and Khan shake the earth with their heavy rhythmic drum and bass grooves, the song finally reaching its climax almost as it began  with waves of thrumming noise and dark sustain fading into a deafening silence...breathtaking is to small a word for it!
In contrast the next track "Mother Mary Son of Scorn" is almost too pretty and nice to take in at first, it's gently strummed acoustic guitar backed by Khan's simple but effective percussion and enhanced with swirling six-string electric colouring, could almost be described as achingly beautiful if it was not for the morose lyrical content and the weary sadness of its vocal delivery.
Poseidon return to the crushing heaviness for "Chainbreaker", the song starting with a short soundbyte/narrative on the need to stop the endless grind of " the machine" a reference to the struggles we all deal with on a daily basis, living under the yoke of bosses and governments who have their own agendas. The song then explodes into a choppy stonerized doom groove, guitars crunching out fragmented powerchords that drip with fuzzy menace over a punishing backdrop of crashing percussion and grizzled bassitude with Bunkell mixing his vocal delivery between feral and clean.
"Omega" closes "Prologue" and begins with drone like effects groaning and growling like ships lost in a fog beneath another section of narrative which this time takes the shape of a religious sermon. The song then slowly gathers momentum with eerie dark guitar arpeggios gradually making way for slow throbbing riffage and pulverising percussion that then segues into a heavily fuzz drenched, slighty more aggressive doom refrain embellished with gravelly vocal tones and soaring guitar solo's. Epic, atmospheric and heavy it closes the album on a massive high.


Musical heaviness cannot be easily measured and can be a matter of a listeners perspective, one man's Neurosis can be another mans Monolord and vice-versa, but there is no getting away from the fact that what Poseidon bring to the table will probably cause that said tables legs to buckle and leave a Poseidon shaped indent on its surface, such is the enormity of their dark dank grooves.
Check 'em out ...



© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 11 August 2017

LA IGLESIA ATÓMICA - LA IGLESIA ATÓMICA ... review


 Twenty years is a damn long time in anyone's book but that was how long ago Puerto Rica's La Iglesia Atómica  (The Atomic Church) last played together. The band, whose line up has fluctuated quite drastically since their formation in 1990, were one of the leading lights of Puerto Rica's burgeoning rock scene and it could be argued were one of the early pioneers of today's stoner rock movement, their brand of fuzz soaked groove preceding the emergence of Kyuss and Sleep by a whole year. Agustin Criollo ( bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals) has been the one constant throughout La Iglesia Atómica's career and now with the recruitment of Martin Latimer (guitar) and Herb Pérez (drums) and the release of a new album "La Iglesia Atómica"( South American Sludge Records) the band are ready to ride again.


In the twenty years that have passed since La Iglesia Atómica last trod the boards of a live stage a lot has happened, a new dawn of psychedelic tinted rock has arisen in that time and permeated the fuzz'n.roll of the stoner/hard rock scene seeing bands like Wo Fat, Earthless and others stretching out their raucous grooves into extended jams and experimenting with lysergic textures and hues. This recent development has not been lost on La Iglesia Atómica, the band have always had a leaning towards the psychedelic and so have embraced these new freedoms filling out their grooves with a myriad of bright colours and darkened shades. This might not seem so evident on the albums opening track "Cadavar Exquisito" the songs low,slow and heavy groove, embellished with swathes of textured keyboard colouring beneath which slow pounding drums beat out a ponderous rhythm, is more akin to doom than it is psych but as the album progresses those lysergic elements gradually begin to take shape. "Resurrección" follows, built around Criollo's deliciously seductive bass line and Pérez jazzy percussive chops the song is taken to another level by Latimer's stunning guitar work, the guitarist laying down dark swathes of chordal sustain that hang momentarily in the air before being replaced by more, giving the song an almost Floydian feel. The band have not discarded their stoner/hard rock roots entirely though and on songs like "Superhombres", "Mala Semilla"" and "La Mala Viene" they revisit those roots with fuzz drenched riffage, thunderous rhythms and soaring guitar solo's the foundations over which clean vocals and harmonies are sung (in Spanish). It is however when the band cut loose that the true beauty of what La Iglesia Atómica do becomes apparent, the band taking off on tangents into uncharted territories, improvising around a theme or a motif as on the wonderfully diverse and bluesy "Algo Habitual" and the excellently manic "Stoner Ball", the three musicians playing off each other, losing themselves in the music before gathering the threads together again and falling back into the groove, freedom and focus in equal measure


Twenty years ago La Iglesia Atómica called it a day, packed up their gear and went on to other things but now they are back .. ready to blend those old school stoner grooves of  their past with those newer sounds they have picked up along the way, let's hope its not another twenty years before the next album!
Check 'em out ...


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

ETERNAL BLACK ~ BLEED THE DAYS ...review


That renowned webzine of all things riff shaped, Metal Injection, recently ran an article pontificating on the rising popularity of the doom scene. The articles author, Matt Bacon, asked a number of the scenes leading lights the reasons why, for what  is essentially a sub-genre of a music that been around for a few decades, such an uptake in listeners as well as players has occurred in the last few years. Reasons were offered that ranged from people needing a soundtrack to a coming apocalypse through to a general boredom with fast metallic bluster and over technical guitar wizardry, Desert Psychlist offers another explanation however and its a simple one.... Doom is slow, low ,crushingly heavy and reaches that part of you other metal genres do not come close to touching, your darkened soul.
A bold statement you may say but if your not convinced then try giving New York's Eternal Black's latest offering "Bleed The Days" a listen, doom has never sounded so good!


"The Lost, The Forgotten and The Undying" opens "Bleed The Days" and almost, but not quite, blows Desert Psychlist's theory, outlined in this reviews opening paragraph, straight out of the water by slamming straight into a mid to up-tempo stoner doom groove. Guitarist/vocalist Ken Wohlrob sings of  "a killing floor" and "November souls" in grizzled clean vocal tones while locking into a gnarly rolling proto-doom refrain with bassist Hal Miller, their combined riffage, enhanced by Wohlrob's searing solo's, perfectly underpinned by Joe Wood's heavy swinging percussive beats.
"Snake Oil and Coffin Nails" initially follows a similar path to the previous track with Wood laying down a pacey percussive foundation for Miller and Wohlrob to wrap thick sludgey riffage around before suddenly shifting down into a deliciously dark plodding doom groove with Wohlrob waxing lyrical of "teeth grinding on coffin nails" in raw,throaty tones. The songs swings between these two differing dynamics before closing on a wave of pulverising doom'n'roll taken to another level by Wohlrob's scorchingly dark guitar solo.
"Sea of Graves" nails Eternal Black's doom flag to the mast and finds the trio delving deeper into the mire with a menacing, and quite spine-tingling doom groove that owes, in its initial stages, more than a nod of its horned head to Ozzy, Tony, Bill and Geezer's iconic song " Black Sabbath", The song then takes off on a journey through dark psychedelic hues taking off on a myriad of different musical tangents and dynamics with Wohlrob, Miller and Wood effortlessly shifting through time signatures and tempos before the song signs off on a wave of dark sustain.
"Into Nothing", a haunting and strangely relaxing instrumental made up of banshee-like guitar effects over glistening arpeggios and intricate percussion shows Eternal Black's progressive leanings and serves as a brief respite from the more visceral aspects of their music. It is both charming and unsettling in equal measure.
"Stained Eyes On A Setting Sun" is up next and for this listener encapsulates in 7:20 seconds everything that a doom song should aspire to be, heavy but not brutal, monolithic but not monochrome, bleak but never bland. Miller holds down the bottom end with superb dexterity his deeply distorted  bass tone the anchor around which Wohlrob weaves his dark fuzzed guitar colouring and under which Wood lays a barrage of pounding skins and shimmering cymbals. Bleak lyrics telling of "Men drowned in drink" while "Women claw at the soil" are roared sermon like, preached rather than sang giving the song an almost prophetic feel.
Title track "Bleed The Days" begins with Wohlrob and Miller laying down an undulating fuzz soaked refrain with Wood filling in the spaces with solid and industrious percussion before the trio take things to the next level by combining in a thick reverberating mire of proto-doom- ish groove. Wohlrob sings "Bury me in cold black mud, Where all my brothers lay" his gravel thick tones a perfect match for swamp thick riffs and rhythms beneath them.
"All Gods Fall" closes the album with an epic tome stretched over almost eleven minutes. Dense, thick refrains of reverberating guitar and bass soar and momentarily hang over powerful pounding percussion around which morose and reflective lyrics tell of the futility of religion and worship ,the song briefly shifting into Sabbath-esque territory before plummeting back into the depths of despair and finally coming to a climax.


Doom is a genre on the rise slowly but surely making its ominous presence felt, maybe not so much in the mainstream but most certainly amongst those who prefer their grooves of a more metallic flavour, and if bands like Eternal Black keep making albums as good as "Bleed The Days" then who knows where this genre could lead us in years to come
Check it out .....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 5 August 2017

GREENBEARD ~ LÖDARÖDBÖL ..review


The people in charge of  the water for Austin, Texas must be adding something a little special to their supplies as this is the second album from the Lone Star States capital city to earn itself a review on Desert Psychlist's pages this month.
Texas trio Greenbeard wowed devotees of raucous riffage and psych drenched jams with their self titled album "Greenbeard" back in November 2014, which this writer dubbed, in his Bandcamp mini review, as "six tracks of glorious laid back desert rock that just kills!". The band followed this up, in July 2016, with "Stoned At The Throne" a release that saw the band moving up to a quartet and adding into their sandy desert sound an element of psych tinted doomy darkness , the resulting grooves garnering plaudits and praise from all who heard it. Two years on and the band, after a bit of  a reshuffle, are back as a threesome, Chance Parker (guitar/vocals), Dan Alvarez (bass), and Buddy Hachar (drums), ready to rock our world and blow our minds with their third and latest release "Lòdaròdbòl".


"Swing", a song split into two distinct halves ,kicks off "Lòdaròdbòl".  The first half sees Greenbeard hitting a Kyuss flavoured groove driven by Parker's crunching, palm muted, fuzz drenched guitar riff, beneath which Alvarez's bass and  Hachar's drums create a whirlwind of  insistent desert groove. The second half a calmer, slower more measured groove with the addition of keyboards (courtesy of guest musician Matt Bayles) giving the song a slightly heavier feel, both parts coated in Parker's clean, warm and totally effective vocal tones.
"Lanesplitter" finds Greenbeard in alt/grunge territory, Alvarez's slurred bass lines and Parker's warm clean vocals, swooping guitar fills and solo's are complimented by Hachar's loose but solid percussion, the trio creating a groove  that in places recalls those  of Seattle's Alice In Chains . Not a band content to hang on to one groove for too long the trio then take the song into the stratosphere by going into an extended psych drenched jam given extra depth by (Bayles) Deep Purple-esque keyboard flourishes and Parker's soaring solo's.
"Young Concussion" revisits the desert sound the band made their name with on earlier albums and hits one of those quirky, off-kilter grooves that would not of sounded out of place had it been found on one of Ex-Kyuss/QOTSA man Josh Homme's "Desert Sessions" albums.
"Battleweed" is up next an ode to the smoking of pre-battle exotic tobacco. The songs proto-metal vibe, tempered with elements of hard rock and blues, explodes out of the speakers on a wave of grizzled six and four string riffage pushed by pulverising percussion with Parker urging us all to "Grab your sword and shield and smoke your battleweed".
"Love Has Passed Me By" uses a chugging bluesy hard rock refrain to make it's point, Parker ruefully crooning of missed opportunity and regret his vocals pitched slightly lower than previous tracks giving the song an almost 80's gothic feel.
"Wyrm" finds Greenbeard experimenting with progressive rock hues while still maintaining a firm grip on the stoner/desert credentials that we the public first fell in love with them for. The songs backbone of crunching guitar, distorted bass and pounding percussion is superbly enhanced by the clever use of keyboards and synthesisers (Bayles and Jackson Webster ) these extra layers of instrumentation, combined with Parker's superb vocals and deft guitar solo's, giving the song an extra level of depth and focus.


When Greenbeard first appeared on the scene it was hard not to  make comparisons with Kyuss and QOTSA and although there are still similarities to be found with those two iconic Josh Homme bands, an air of off kilter swagger and quirky rhythmic bluster, Greenbeard have, with "Lòdaròdbòl", found their own niche, their own sound and it's one you should all hear.
Check 'em out...


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

DESTROYER OF LIGHT ~ CHAMBER OF HORRORS .... review


When a band describe their interests as "Warping the space/time fabric with sonic rituals, obliterating minds, crushing the sunlight" you know you need to take those guys seriously. Austin, Texas stoner doomanauts Destroyer of LightSteve Colca (guitar/vocals), Keegan Kjeldsen (guitar), Penny Turner (drums) and Jeff Klein (bass), are the band in question and on the evidence of their latest offering "Chamber of Horrors" ( Heavy Friends Records) it would seem those words have more than a ring of truth to them.
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A huge metallic crash followed by various other metallic noises introduces " Whispers Into The Threshold" a song that could be described as an instrumental if it were not for the unintelligible and unsettling mumblings sitting just beneath the songs dark and achingly low, slow doom drenched two guitar refrain. This refrain, underpinned by thrumming bass lines, thundering percussion and embellished with  shards of scintillating guitar colouring, reverberates with a dark mournful menace before slowly gathering pace and suddenly coming to an end on a wave of stuttering riffage.
"Into The Smoke" follows, cleverly rearranging the previous tracks stuttering finale as the basis of it's intro before segueing into a fuzz drenched circular riff overlaid by Colca's bear like roar the guitarist/vocalist telling a subterranean tale of  being "paralyzed and suffocated" and "enslaved by the cave-thing" against a backdrop of pounding percussion, distorted bass and sludge thick riffery, the band finally bringing things to a close on a wave of soaring guitar solo's and howling feedback.
Next up is "The Virgin" an astonishing tale of sacrificial murder told in a mix of clean and growled tones over a menacing low doom groove replete with screaming movie soundbytes, Like an Italian horror movie set to a soundtrack of heavy sludge the song meanders menacingly through a series of differing dynamics and tempos, dragging in it's atmospheric wake elements of doom, sludge and even a little prog-like complexity.
"Twilight Procession" eases down on the throttle and finds the band exploring aspects of serenity and tranquillity in an instrumental piece that has an almost post-rock feel to it. Strangely beautiful and a complete contrast to the doom and sludge that has gone before ,the song serves as a brief respite before we dive headlong back into the swampy doom and sludge of the next track.
"Lux Crusher" finds Destroyer of Light taking a slightly more traditional stoner doom approach to things with Colca utilising a mixture of clean and guttural tones as he once again tells the story of ritual sacrificial  but this time from a victims perspective.
"Prisoner of Eternity" takes much the same "traditional" doom path visited on the previous track but this time with a little gothic colouring added to the mix. Heavy, pulverising riffage pushed by grizzled bass and powerful percussion is enhanced by a series of absolutely scorching blues tinted guitar solo's as well as a superb and powerful vocal delivery
"Buried Alive", a massive tome of atmospheric doom that builds layer by glorious layer closes "Chamber of Horrors" with not so much of a bang  more the sound of coffin lid slowly closing,.Low slow and extremely heavy, it's unnerving, superbly dark and macabre tale of  living interment is superbly delivered both vocally and musically by all involved.


 Themes based around  horror and the macabre are often the norm when it comes to the doom genre but rarely are those themes so well told or as vividly imagined as they are on the seven songs that make up  Destroyer of Light's latest opus. So roll up, roll up, visit your darkest fears and nightmares in the "Chamber of Horrors" and be prepared to be afraid .....very afraid!

© 2017 Frazer Jones