Thursday 13 June 2024

DUNERIDER ~ LONG TRIP .... review

 

Those who follow these pages will know that when informing our readers of a bands line-up we usually write a musician’s name followed by the instrument/instruments he/she plays contained in brackets, well if we were to do that for today’s release we would have to write; Fred Dupré (everything) and that is because Fred Dupré IS Dunerider and Dunerider IS Fred Dupré. If you are a fan of music drenched in swathes of filthy fuzz and distortion then you are probably already familiar with Mr Dupré and his love of a fuzz pedal thanks to his previous Dunerider releases "RUIN" and "ASCEND TO THE VOID" but if you are not then new album "Long Trip" would be an excellent starting point to work your way back from.


Partly buried vocals sung over lashings of fuzz and distortion in doom like settings is not a new phenomenon, Electric Wizard built their career around very much similar dynamics and if you are (like us) fans of the Italian acid doom/scuzz scene, where you are judged as much on the quality of your effects pedals as the strength of your grooves, then the fuzzed to the max sound Dupré brings to the table with his Dunerider projects latest release “Long Trip”  will be very much to your liking. There is however a major difference between those bands just mentioned and Dunerider and that is in the way Dupré will sometimes vary and temper his sonic onslaughts by bringing in, on songs like "Ride Eternity", "Long Way Get High" and "Wizard Valley", elements that are a somewhat trippier and slightly more spacious than those of his Italian counterparts. It must be said though that it is the full on doomic fuzz'n'roll of songs like "Death Trip", "Stone Rider and "Hoping Quicksand" that really get the adrenaline flowing and make this album such a fuzzilicious listening experience.

Nasty guitar tones and thunderous punchy rhythms supporting clean slightly buried vocal tones is what to expect when hitting play on this ridiculously raucous collection of tunes, and hitting play on "Long Trip" is something you will want to do again and again and again

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 11 June 2024

WYNDRIDER ~ REVIVAL ..... review

For many of us the emergence of WyndRider as a musical force came as a bit of a surprise, one minute the band’s debut album "WyndRider" was just another new release in a list of hundreds of new releases on Bandcamp and the next it was being lauded across the underground scene's media outlets as some sort of new coming. The reason "WyndRider" garnered the attention it did was not due to some clever marketing or PR campaign it was because the sound the band made on that album resonated with all those who took a chance and pushed play. For us at Desert Psychlist its appeal stemmed from the fact that it took us back to a time in our scene’s history when bands like Witch Mountain, Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth and The Devil's Blood were releasing one great album after another while also attempting to shatter the outdated notion that the female voice had no place in rock music (sadly a notion still not completely eradicated). Having released such a well-received debut the pressure was now on WyndRider to show the world that the recent praise heaped upon them was justified praise and that they were not just a one album wonder destined to soon disappear back into obscurity and the best way to do that was head straight back into the studio and make another album. That album is now out and if you bought into the bluesy proto-doom of “WyndRider" you are going to love "Revival" (Electric Valley Records).

WyndRider kick off their latest collection of occult themed musical imagery with "Forked Tongue Revival" a song that sits firmly in the canon of doom but also carries in its gait a very pleasing element of laid back bluesiness, a bluesiness that not only comes from singer Chloe Gould's powerful and slightly smoky vocal tones but also from the triumvirate of Robbie Willis (guitar), Joshuwah Herald (bass) and Josh Brock (drums) who when not laying down crunching proto flavoured riffs and rhythms are not too shabby at getting a little down-home and rootsy. If ever a song was destined to become a fan favourite then it has got to be "Motorcycle Witches" its 70's flavoured heavy rock refrains, driving rhythms and swinging vocal melodies are manna from heaven for anyone (like us) brought up on a diet of Black Sabbath, Budgie, May Blitz and others of that ilk. Third track "Judas" finds WyndRider successfully mixing low slow and heavy stoner with proto metal and more traditional doom to create a groove that feels like it is in constant flux yet in truth is fairly one dimensional, a feeling enhanced by Gould's vocal delivery which is pitched ever so slightly monotonic. The vocal bluesiness that tinted the albums opening track returns for "Devil's Den" and is twinned this time with blustering heavy'n'hard rock while the appropriately titled "Remember the Sabbath" ensures that we do by jamming a sedate and atmospheric groove that has Iommi, Butler and Ward written large all over it and sees Gould channelling a smoky and seductive version of Ozzy in her vocal. There is a touch of off-centred psych brought to bear on next track "Under the Influence" with Brock and Herald laying down a solid bedrock of thunderous rhythms for Willis to decorate with crunching riffs and searing solos, Gould ably filling the spaces in-between with a strong and distinctive vocal performance. Final song "The Wheel" retains the elements of psych utilized in the previous track but this time sets them in a more sedate and lumbering setting and adds into the mix a slurred vocal delivery and spoken prose to ramp up the atmospherics to the legendary eleven mark, well that is until the final third when out of the blue things take a strident turn and the band set off on a race to the finish line on a wave of chugging proto-doom.


Wyndrider's debut showed a band with the potential to go the whole way and become major players in this thing we call the "underground", their new album, "Revival", tells us they already are.
Check it out.....
 
© 2024 Frazer Jones

Sunday 9 June 2024

HUNTSMEN ~ THE DRY LAND ..... review


There cannot be many bands out there who can claim to be associated with as many genre descriptions as Chicago, Illinois' Huntsmen, Marc Stranger-Najjar (bass/vocals); Ray Knipe (drums); Kirill Orlov (guitars); Chris Kang (guitars/vocals) and Aimee Bueno (vocals). In Desert Psychlist's research we have seen their music described as a post-metal, progressive sludge, metallic Americana, doom and even blackened folk metal and as strange as it might seem none of those descriptions are that wide of the mark, yet at the same time none are truly representative of the music this band make together. Huntsmen have, since day one of their existence, strived to make music that cannot be conveniently placed in a box or be given a label, a typical Huntsmen song (if such a thing exists) is one that can one minute be skirting around the edges of metallic extremism and the next be dipping its toes in rural and tranquil backwaters. The band’s latest album, "The Dry Land" (Prosthetic Records), continues along much the same convoluted and diverse musical paths its excellent full length predecessor, "Mandala of Fear" did, with fey and lilting passages of serenity vying for attention with passages of brutal intensity and prog(ish) complexity, only this time upgraded and with added levels.

Furious drumming and slightly blackened post-metal flavoured riffage introduces first track "This, Our Gospel" which is then replaced by a slightly less aggressive and sedate prog(ish) groove over which clean harmonies hold sway, the dominance of those harmonies being shared evenly between the three participants except in the songs slightly hazy and psychedelic mid-section where Bueno's fey and lilting tones become the main focus. "Cruelly Dawns" follows its ringing guitar motifs heralding in vocal trade-offs reminiscent of early British folk music before things start to move in a more prog -like direction and things get intricate and complex with jig and reel like guitar motifs vying for space with convoluted chord progressions and driving, almost mechanical, rhythms. The acoustic guitars come out for "Lean Times" the song boasting a 90's Americana meets 70's West Coast feel in its initial stages but then moving towards a more torch-like dynamic in its final moments. Gnarly thrumming sludge -like guitar tones growling bass and thunderous drums are the dynamics used to interrupt passages of swooning folk tinted prog on next track "In Time, All Things" while "Rain" sees Huntsmen becoming bluesmen, albeit bluesmen with a penchant for mixing sweeping clean vocal leads and harmonies with throat tearing harshness. Finally, we arrive at "Herbsight" a stunning opus that ties together all the various musical threads that makes up Huntsmen's sound and weaves them into one song, complex prog, textured post-metal, shades of Americana and folk all sharing the same space with elements sitting at the more extreme ends of the metal spectrum, an astounding finale to an outstanding album.


Huntsmen are a totally unique and totally original band, you cannot point a finger at these guys and accuse them of jumping on bandwagons or following trends as they are their own bandwagon, their own trend. In an ideal world an album as exciting and as vital as "The Dry Land" would be deservedly nominated for a Grammy or a Mercury Music Prize, unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world so until there is a shift in musical values Huntsmen are just going to have to settle for old hacks like Desert Psychlist, and others like us, to sing their praises.
Check 'em out ....

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 7 June 2024

WEEDEVIL ~ PROFANE SMOKE RITUAL ..... review


Flavio Cavichioli (drums); Poison (vocals); Jimmy Olden (guitar); Henrique Bittencourt (guitar) and Claudio HC Funari (bass) are Weedevil a Brazilian outfit from São Paulo who number among their influences Black Sabbath, Windhand, Acid King and Lucifer. The band have gone through quite a number of line-up changes since their formation, but their sound has remained pretty much anchored in the genres/sub-genres of doom, heavy metal and occult rock. Latest album, "Profane Smoke Ritual" (DHU Records), continues much in the same vein as the bands previous releases, dank dark riffage and thundering rhythms coated in soaring clean vocals, only this time with a little more emphasis on melody and a harder leaning towards a more traditional heavy metal sound.

Opening song "Serpent's Gaze" begins life metallic and crunchy but then subsides into a throbbing proto-doom groove when Poison's soaring slightly smoky vocals join the fray, her voice punching through the miasma of heaviness surrounding it like a sunbeam through a dungeon window, the moments between her impassioned tones filled by Olden and Bittencourt laying down a mixture of thrumming dank guitar riffage and soaring solo's ably supported by Cavichioli's solid tight drumming and Funari's growling bass lines. The sound of chirping insects and bird calls introduces next track "Chronic Abyss of Bane" followed by a sedate doom groove accompanied by a male voice narrating a speech referencing Lucifer and Satan before Poison enters stage right with a lilting, but not quite ethereal, vocal telling us of a place where "mushrooms unfurl" and "illusions persist" her voice only really going up a gear in the songs psych tinted and proto flavoured middle section. Title track "Profane Smoke Ritual" begins with Cavichioli beating out a solid drum tattoo accompanied by an effect heavy Funari bass motif, the pair are then joined by Bittencourt and Olden's guitars in a thrusting and swaggering metallic groove that boasts a blending of crunching chord progressions and palm- muted refrains, Poison's soaring swooping vocal the icing on the cake. "Veil of Enchanted Shadows" sees Olden and Bittercourt trading chords over doomic rhythms with Poison channelling a little Candlemass type dramatics in her vocal performance while "Necrotic Elegy" finds the band mixing Iron Maiden like gallop with Sabbath-esque chug to frame what is probably Desert Psychlist's favourite vocal on the album, a mixture of stoner smokiness and heavy metal holler. Lastly comes "Serenade of Baphomet" a song that shifts from off-kilter and bluesy to strident and face melting before returning to bluesy again and then signing out on a wave of droning noise.


Weedevil's "Profane Smoke Ritual" is undoubtedly a sum of the band’s influences, it is hard not to hear aspects of both Windhand and Lucifer in what these Brazilians bring to the table and there is no denying that Sabbath's shadow looms large over many of the album’s songs but there is much more going on here too. Although "Profane Smoke Ritual" sits predominately in the canon of doom/occult rock there are also elements to be heard on this album that have their roots in early heavy metal and proto-metal, which only enhances its appeal. 
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Thursday 6 June 2024

CATAPULT THE SUN ~ DARK SUN FESTIVITIES .... review


Some music is created to entertain its listeners while some music is created to challenge its listeners, the album we are reviewing today kind of falls into the cracks between the two, a dark somewhat dank feeling collection of songs that sport a droning almost funereal dynamic. The band behind this release go by the name Catapult the Sun and hail from Athens, Greece and have, over a fairly short period of time, built a reputation for delivering thrumming grooves of a sedate and heavy nature. The release we speak of today goes by the title "Dark Sun Festivities" an opus much in the same slow low and heavy vein as its predecessors "Human Empire Falls" and "CATHODE", but this time with a darker cinematic quality.

"Dark Sun Festivities" begins with "Queen of Solstice" the songs intro, a hotch-potch of sparse percussion, droning guitar noise and feedback, leads us to the sound of sampled laughter slowly turning to screams which then serves as a signal for the band to dive deep into the achingly slow low doomic groove that holds sway throughout the songs duration. This is a piece of music that is bleak dank and repetitive, its intentional monotony only lifted by its swirling guitar textures, but for all its repetition and monotony it also possesses a hypnotic quality that sucks you in as a listener and refuses to let go until its last note fades into the ether. We spoke of this album having a cinematic quality and that is no more evident than on next tome "Dystopiate Haze" its dark droning textures. thundering percussion and ringing guitar motifs giving the songs extended intro and almost space-like dynamic that would not sound out of place as the soundtrack to some sort of "Event Horizon" or "Pandorum" type sci-fi horror movie. The song does eventually morph into a thrumming slowed down Sabbathian groove in its later stages but by then the damage is done and you will have already switched on all the lights around your listening station just to make sure there are no stitched together psychopaths lurking in the shadows. The worryingly titled "Our Pigs Will Drink Your King's Blood" is up next an off-centred jam built around a heavily slurred guitar refrain that in places sounds like the riff from Alice In Chains "Check My Brain" being played at half speed, again the song is heavily repetitive but again, thanks in parts to its soaring dark guitar textures, proves totally mesmerising. "A Shrine of Salt" follows, a pulsating tome that sees Catapult the Sun bringing just a tad more diversity to their attack, albeit more in its subtle use of loud/quiet/loud dynamics, dynamics which see the songs groove routinely swelling and dissipating. Final song " Slowly We Drone" is less a title and more a statement of the bands intent for what they wanted to bring to the table with this song, the band utilising deep reverberating bass lines and slow deliberate drumming to form a dank dark bedrock for sustained guitar notes that hang in the air until they slowly fall away to be replaced by others.


Let's face it if you are planning a riotous party Catapult the Sun's latest album is not the sort of music you are going to be choosing to get bums off seats and onto dancefloors, if on the other hand you are on the lookout for some musical accompaniment to a murderous weekend of sacrifice and demon summoning then "Dark Sun Festivitiesis a go to.
Check it out.... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

MARY THE ELEPHANT ~ MARY THE ELEPHANT ..... review

Was a time when you just could not check out a stoner, doom or heavy psych fans Bandcamp collection or Spotify playlist without there being at least six or seven Swedish bands/artistes featured, things have slowed down a bit since those days but seeing the word "Sweden" associated with a release in those genres still carries a lot of weight when checking out new albums and EP's. To be honest seeing an album entitled "Mary The Elephant" by a band of the same name while perusing a list of new releases did not really fill us here at Desert Psychlist with the same sense of excitement we might have had if the band had sported a more doomic or stoner like name, however hidden away in the corner of the bands Bandcamp page we saw the word "Sweden" so we thought let’s give it a shot. What we found when hitting play was an EP that not only upheld Sweden's reputation for churning out great bands but was also an EP that was so much more than just a collection of raucous rhythms and ripping riffs.

Things kick off in proto-doomic style with opener "My King" the songs main riff sporting an Iommi-esque quality, however any thoughts that you may have stumbled on another one of those bands worshipping at the altar of Black Sabbath are soon shattered when vocalist Hami Malek enters front and centre with a world wearied vocal that is as bluesy as it is soulful. For next song "The Haze" guitarist Isaac Ingelsbo, bassist Johan Fogelberg and drummer Doe step away from the Sabbathian flavoured sound of the opening song and instead combine on a groove that is fuzzy hybrid of classic and southern rock, a groove that is the perfect fit for Malek's gritty lived in vocal. So far Mary the Elephant have given us proto doomic bluster and classic/southern rock swagger but for third track "A Dying Sun" the band opt for hazy moodiness and languid ambient atmospherics, the song a beautiful laid back instrumental piece with an almost caressing quality. Its back to the rock for penultimate song "In the Dark" a mixture of stoner and classic rock decorated with another great vocal performance and shot through with an endearing bluesiness. Things come to a close with "The Crows Will Fall" the band returning to their Sabbathesque ways but this time taking their inspiration from Sabbath's psychedelic curveball "Planet Caravan", Inglebo's phase heavy guitar tones, Fogelberg's low fuzzy bass lines and Doe's laid-back rhythms creating a hazy framework for Malek to hang a suitably slurred vocal over, a truly tune in turn on and drop out moment.


Mary the Elephant's debut EP is not going to pin your ears back with waves upon waves of heaviness nor is it going to lull you into unconsciousness with its languidity, what it will do for you however is leave you with an ear to ear smile thankful in the knowledge that there are still bands out there making classic edged rock music of this calibre and quality. 
Check it out...
 
© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 31 May 2024

THE DEAD AT SEA ~ REEMERGENCE ... review

It is not as often as we would like that we get the chance to review an album from a band from Desert Psychlist's UK homeland, that's not to say that there are not some truly great bands/artistes making music in the British Isles its just that British bands and artistes tend not to be quite as prolific as their overseas cousins when it comes to releasing albums. Why this is we do not know, maybe it’s the way the music scene works here, but it does seem that British artistes tend to spread their releases out over longer periods of time. The Dead At Sea are a prime example of this tendency for spreading output out over extended durations, the band’s debut album "TDAS" was released in 2016 and it is only now (2024) that we get to hear its follow up "Reemergence". Has it been worth the wait you may ask, the answer to that is yes, yes and thrice yes.

There must be some sort of maritime history connection going on with The Dead At Sea as how else could you explain why a band from the land locked city of Birmingham UK would have themed both their debut and this their new album around maritime matters. Whatever the story is behind the band’s fixation with ships and sea there is no getting away from the fact that these guys know how to lay down good tunes, tunes that given the lack of vocals could be transcribed to any form of travel be it on water or through air. So, what do you get for your pound/euro/buck with "Reemergence", well what you get is five sprawling instrumentals, with a penchant to take off in any direction at any given time, plus one brief song, "Phantom Ship", that has an ambient post metal feel. Of the sprawling jams the two stand outs for Desert Psychlist are the sometimes heavy sometimes soaring title track "Reemergence" and the deeply atmospheric "The Northwest Passage" a song that possesses an undulating dynamic totally in keeping with the changeable nature of the infamous sea lane it musically portrays. In truth though there are no mediocre tracks to be found on this stunning release, each song is a journey, and each journey is one you would not want to miss.


"Reemergence" is a stunning collection of instrumental jams with the ability to take the listener outside of themselves and experience music on an almost transcendental level, the term "journey" is often overused regarding music but not here my friends, not here.
Check it out .....

© 2024 Frazer Jones