With instrumentation that, along with the usual bass, guitars and vocals, includes organ and synthesisers you might expect German quartet Hammada to jam grooves that lean towards the progressive end of the rock spectrum, however, apart from a few swirling embellishments and the occasional orchestral sounding passage Hammada are probably closer to Kyuss than they are Can, more Yawning Man than they are YES.
The Saxony four piece of Kristian Schulze (vocals/organ), Christian Döring (guitar/synths), Lenz Fiedler (bass) and Sönke Tautorus (drums) describe themselves as a "heavy psych/stoner rock quartet" who bring to the table "desert vibes and atmospheric riffs", something their debut album "Atmos" more than testifies to.
Those proggish embellishments, spoken about earlier, make their presence felt right from the off with swirling keyboard motifs, backed by throbbing bass, heralding the arrival of first track "Occasus" but as stated this is an introduction and it is not long before Hammada show their true colours and take off on a storming desert flavoured groove underscored with lysergic textures and colours that are then overlayered with strong, clean and distinctive vocal tones. "Occasus" is the perfect opener that tells you all you need to know about the band in one song, it showcases not only the bands psych credentials but also their ability to groove on a riff, a band as adept at laying out chilled and relaxed as they are nailing it down hard and heavy. We have already mentioned Yawning Man and Kyuss as markers in trying to describe Hammada's blend of psychedelic meanderings and heavy stoner crunch but as songs like "Heliokratia", "Ether", "Azimut" and the excellent "Domizil" waft over us, in waves that range from tranquil to crashing, Desert Psychlist begins to hear influences stemming more from the bands native Europe than they do America with Colour Haze(ish) and Causa Sui-like textures and colours sitting side by side with the bands more Americanized desert bluster, and it is this blend of dynamics, merged together from two distinct and different continents, that makes listening to "Atmos" such a rewarding and enjoyable experience.
"Atmos" is not one of those albums that smacks you around the head and demands you immediately fall in love with it, it is instead an album that uses stealth to achieve its goals, an album that slowly creeps up on you, song by song, gradually breaking you down with its mix of undulating grooves and thundering riffs until it finally becomes that go to album you never want to be without.
Check it out ….
© 2020 Frazer Jones