Saturday, 24 July 2021
Thursday, 22 July 2021
Treading a line between what has gone before and what is of the now can be hard trick for a band to pull off , the balance of old school values like melody and songcraft with the swagger bite and full on attack of more modern era rock is precarious, too far one way and you start to fall into retro/mainstream territory too far the other way and you start to look and sound like your trying too hard to be something you are not completely comfortable with being. Kevin McNamara (vocals); Michael DiDonato (guitars); Scott Frassetto (drums and percussion) and William Miller (bass), the guys that make up Philadelphian quartet The Age Of Truth, do not have that problem they are a band who will readily admit they draw from the past but will also tell you that they do so in order to make music that is relevant to the here and now, something they demonstrate to great effect on their second full length album "Resolute".
Soulful, bluesy and melodic are all words you could use to describe The Age Of Truth's sonic onslaught but you could easily just as well use words like heavy, blustering and metallic as a description because The Age Of Truth are that band who bring it all to the table. This is a band who will appeal not only to the stoners and doomers who frequent the underbelly of the rock scene but also those mainstreamers above ground sporting their Greta Van Fleet tees and those still stuck in a time warp who never listen to anything that came out after 1978. In other words The Age Of Truth are all things to all men and women and anyone in this day and age who might fall between. On songs with titles like "Palace of Rain", ""A Promise of Nothing", "Salome" and "Return to the Ships" the band bring not only the crunching refrains and thunderous rhythms of the underground rock scene, in all its various guises, but also the sort of dynamics that many might consider to be of a "classic rock" flavour, combining these elements behind a vocal that in its upper register has a howling rock god type timbre and at its lower end has a touching weary soulfulness.
Friday, 16 July 2021
Thursday, 15 July 2021
Monday, 12 July 2021
Think California and you will probably immediately think of blue skies and sunshine but for two Californian residents blue skies and sunshine are light years away from where their heads are at. For Donny Browne (guitar/vocals) and Alex Gerber (drums/percussion), the two guys who make up The Holy Corrupt, it is the darker side of life that holds sway they are a band whose musical themes are informed not by muscle cars, bikini clad beauties and the warmth of the sun's glow but by ornate horse drawn hearses, black clad hex casting crones and impenetrable mist covered landscapes, these themes delivered in grooves the band describe as being "heavy, sleazy, trippy, & slow", dynamics they use to great effect throughout the seven songs that make up their self-titled debut album "The Holy Corrupt" (Dead Sun Records).
THC have an agenda and that agenda is to make " heavy, sleazy, doomy tunes to get stoned to" and it would be foolish to say they do not succeed in this endeavour, if there was ever a music that was better suited to taking a hit/lighting one up to then we at Desert Psychlist are yet to hear it. This is a band who play doom of the slow and low variety that has a hazy lysergic undercurrent perfectly suited to those of you out there who might enjoy smoking the occasional exotic cigarette, however please don't despair if you are not a fully paid up member of the Society of Weedians because there is still much to enjoy here. "The Witch Is Coming" kicks things off slow. low and heavy and for the most part stays that way for its duration, Browne crunching out thick reverberating and distorted power chords that seems to hang in the air for an age before he brings his pick down on the strings to execute another while Gerber adds touches of resounding thunder to the proceedings via his deliberate but nevertheless busy drumming. By now you are probably making comparisons with stoner doom/desert legends Sleep but THC's grooves are so sedate, so unhurried they almost make Matt Pike's boys look like a thrash band and Sleep certainly didn't have a vocalist of Browne's quality fronting their sonic onslaught. "I Want To Touch You" follows and despite its rather romantic sounding title is another slice of dank dark crushing doom decorated in gnarly fuzz and distortion driven by the sort of punishing percussion that makes you think of industrial machinery rather than one man with a couple of sticks hitting animal skins. The song also boasts a great vocal, Browne's clean strong baritone, edged with longing and melancholy soars majestically above the mayhem being despatched beneath it and in doing so adds a very pleasing degree of gravitas to what is basically a love song. "Backwoods Banshee" ups the tempo from stoner doom to something more akin to "proto" pace but we are not talking a Sabbath-esque gallop across the fields here more a laboured preamble through thorny undergrowth. The band do however pepper things up with a few spicy curveballs along the way with Browne briefly reverting to a more demonic vocal approach mid song as well as the duo making a nicely executed side step into heavy psych territory that finds Gerber doing his best Bonham impersonation and Browne discovering is inner guitar hero .Up next is "Spacer" which is basically a chance to catch your breath, it is an experimental piece that unfortunately does nothing to enhance the bands reputation but then does nothing to diminish it either. The heavy psych aspects of the bands sound, briefly hinted at on "Backwards Banshee," are given free rein on instrumental "Earthed" while "Inflicter of Karma" finds the band back in low, slow and heavy stoner doom territory but this time with Browne's vocals laid a little further back in the mix. Final track, the epic "Come To Dying" could be the heaviest, most doomic heavy psych tome committed to tape in the history of psychedelic doom metal, it is a song with a wickedly dank and dark demeanour made even more dank and dark by Browne's guitar tones , his amps emitting a dark thrumming sound awash with gritty fuzz and distortion that when combined with Gerber's earth-shaking rhythms and the guitarists own powerful vocals creates a brooding atmospheric that has an almost gothic quality.
Saturday, 10 July 2021
If there is one complaint Desert Psychlist has about Desert Druid and the Acid Caravan's debut release it is that it is an EP as opposed to being a full length album, as the last note fades on these four songs you will soon find yourself hoping for just one more song, and we are sure if another song did miraculously appear you would be then wishing for yet one more, such is the impact and appeal of this Brazilian bands music. We suppose you could label what DDatAC do as proto-doomic as much like the aforementioned Black Sabbath there is an air of bluesy swagger in what they do but there is also something else going on here. The four songs that make up this little gem of an EP, "The VVitch", "Total Madness", "Mistress of Black Heart" and "Witching Hour" are not complex or convoluted, in fact they are fairly simplistic in construction just a blend of crunching downtuned riffs and thunderous rhythms coated in clean, not overly powerful, vocals however it is this simplistic approach and the way the band combine those riffs, rhythms and vocals with well chosen movie soundbytes and the occasional sound effect that makes this release stand out a little taller and prouder than others of a similar sonic attack.
Thursday, 8 July 2021
Most of you reading this probably came to this whole stoner rock/ doom/heavy psych scene via Kyuss, Fu Manchu and bands of that ilk but Desert Psychlist came to this scene from a slightly different route, we arrived at this destination thanks to discovering a little label called Tee Pee Records and their roster of artists, a roster that included bands like Assembled Heads In Sunburst Sound, NAAM and Mirror Queen, only discovering the joys of Kyuss etc. later on. One Tee Pee band in particular stood out for us head and shoulders above the rest and that band were Canadian psychonauts Quest For Fire, the band only made two albums before calling it a day but those two albums still, to this day, get regular spins on our decks at Stonerking Towers. So why should we mention this here on a review of an album from a completely different band, the reason my friends is that the shiver up the spine we got from hearing Quest From Fire's two albums of hazy, slightly indie flavoured, slightly shoegaze grooves returned today when we pushed play on French trio MONAS' self titled debut "Monas"
The strong psychedelic element that was so integral to Quest For Fire's sonic attack can also be found on MONAS' debut but is tempered by textures that are a little danker and darker than those executed by the Canadian outfit, not so dark and dank that they could be considered doomic but certainly edging towards that dynamic. Opening track " Lone Warrior" demonstrates this perfectly by beginning with a deeply distorted bass motif, accompanied by drums, that is then joined by guitar on a groove that is not so much thundering as raucous and crunching but then dissipates slightly when the harmonised vocals enter, delivered clean and slightly hazy. Suddenly and surprisingly the haziness of the vocals is replaced by a few bars of sludge like roaring before things return back to normal and the song plunges headlong towards its finale. "Fallen Astronaut" follows and eases a little back on the raucousness by replacing it with some nicely gritted fuzziness and decorating that fuzziness with a clean perfectly pitched vocal that alternates between being up front of the mix and buried slightly within it. Next track "Anguish Pipe" mixes its shoegaze and heavy psych up with touches of Sabbath-esque proto-doom while final track "Mindroad" starts its life by going in completely the other direction, it's initial groove having a liquidity and lightness of touch far removed from that which has gone before, this respite does not last long however and suddenly the groove explodes into a glorious heaviness, not a brutal one dimensional heaviness but one flecked with bright psychedelic colours and lysergic textures over which a lilting hazy vocal holds precedence.