Sunday, 19 August 2018

CIRCLE OF THE SUN ~ JAMS OF INNER PERCEPTION .... review


All hail the electric guitar! Who back in the day would of thought that a piece of wood with various sized metal cables strung over a minimum of electrical components could make a sound that runs the spectrum of emotive and beautiful through to ugly and brutal. In the right hands an electric guitar can pull at the heartstrings or fuel passions like anger and frustration and Cosmic Fall's drummer Daniel Sax has those hands and shows on his first solo album "Jams of Inner Perception" that not only can he beat a mean skin he can also shred like an axe god.


Daniel Sax is a talented man, not only does he deliver all of the technicolour six-string colouring throughout "Jams of Inner Perception" he also plays all the bass and drum parts and does this under the nom de plume of Circle of the Sun. One man projects can sometimes be hit and miss affairs with the protagonists often overcompensating on one instrument for the skills they lack on others, thankfully that is not the case here with Sax as adept on both four strings and six strings as he is at playing the drums he is known for with his main band . I guess it would be fair to say that the six instrumental pieces that make up "Jams...." could be described as falling into the realms of heavy psych but that doesn't mean to say that there isn't a whole lot more going on here, Sax incorporates into his jams elements from a wide range of influences, genres and styles with jazzy chord progressions, exotic eastern motifs and scorching bluesy forays into the stratosphere all finding a home to call their own in Sax's diverse and delightful compositions. The fact that he does this without falling into the trap of over indulgent technical noodling and manages to keep a firm grip on that all important feel factor says not only a lot about Sax as a musician but also the strengths of his skills as both a composer and arranger.


If the guitar heavy instrumental experiments of bands like the USA's Earthless, Australia's Comacozer and of course Sax's other band Cosmic Fall are what rocks your particular instrumental boat then you are going to adore Circle of the Sun's "Jams of Inner Perception"
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 16 August 2018

SUPERSEED ~ SUPERSEED ....review


Today Desert Psychlist takes a slight detour from those well trodden paths of stoner/desert, doom and psych we have slowly been building our reputation on and wander into territories that are not so familiar, territories that are sometimes known as post punk or melodic pop rock. Ove the years a lot of damage has been done in these two areas of music,bands like Blink 182, Green Day and The Offspring may have begun their careers with all the best intentions but with their success in building bridges between raucous punk and melodic pop they also unwittingly paved the way for whole slew of bandwagon jumpers hoping to get their zany videos on MTV. However there is still hope left for those that like their mayhem married to melody and that hope comes in the shape of a quintet from Bristol, UK going by the name of Superseed, a band who aim to restore the status quo with the release of their self titled debut "Superseed",


If you want sing along pop orientated punk Superseed can supply it but there is so much more to this band than just that, there is a stonerish desert undercurrent running through each and every song on this album, it is not a glaringly obvious one but one that is there nonetheless. The band are also not averse to harking back to earlier times either utilising aspects of 60's psych and garage rock to flesh out their fuzz fuelled forays and they coat those forays in a mixture of Beatle-esque harmonies and Monkee-ish pop melodies, the band coming over at times  like a modern day Spirit (Late 60's, early 70's cult psych pop/rock band led by the late Randy California).


Before you, the regular perusers of Desert Psychlist's pages, start angrily throwing your battle jackets and band badges in our direction for deigning to a review an album with pop punk connotations, take a moment to listen through the seventeen short sharp jabs of punchy fuzz driven pop and rock on offer and if you fail to find something to hang your hat on well then, and only then, let the throwing commence.
Check it out ….. 

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

DEMONAUTA ~ TEMAUKEL, THE SPIRIT BEFORE TIME .... review


As discussed on these pages many times before Chile is a country cranking out some of the finest doom, stoner and psych in the Southern Hemisphere with bands like Kayros, Sotano and Pies de Plomo making a splash not only in their own backyard but also internationally. However there is one Chilean band that, for Desert Psychlist, stands head and shoulders above the rest and that band is Santiago's Demonauta. DemonautaDavid Véliz (guitar/vox,) Miguel Quezada (bass) and Ale Sanhueza (drums/percussion), have that something extra, that little bit special and magical within their sound that just seems to hit that all important sweet spot and in doing so renders it almost impossible to listen to them without feeling a shudder of delight run through your body. The band return, this year, to once again bring tremors to your spinal columns with their latest offering "Temaukel, The Spirit Before Time" (Kozmic Artifactz)


It is hard to explain in words the sonic impact of of Demonauta's grooves on "Temaukel, The Spirit Before Time" except to say that this is an album that will live in the memory long after the last note has faded into the ether, Desert Psychlist could just tell you to skip this review and just go straight to the link and revel in the albums majestic blend of heavy psych, doomic darkness and stoner fuzz but that would be too much of a cop out and so we will try to impart, in words, why you should invite this stunning collection into your lives and why Demonauta are about to become your favourite band.
Balance is the key to Demonauta's unique and highly addictive sound, the band cleverly utilising aspects from a wide range of metal genres and rock styles but without ever leaning too heavily on any one ,weaving elements of the blues, hard rock and good old heavy metal into a tapestry sown together with fuzz and distortion that shifts through dynamics like a racing driver shifts through gears. Moments of lysergic tranquillity and space like ambience, offset by monolithic riffage and pummelling rhythms, are the order of the day throughout "Temaukel's" seven songs with no one song ever standing still long enough to ever become staid or stale, the band taking off into stratospheric cosmic heights one minute diving into deep doomic depths the next.


It would be pointless writing a rundown of each and every one of "Temaukel's" seven tracks here as there is not a song or instrumental on the album that, in Desert Psychlist's opinion ,falls beneath stunning. To say we love this release would be an understatement but see what you think.
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday, 13 August 2018

HAAN ~ BY THE GRACE OF BLOOD AND GUTS ...review




"New York, New York so good they named it twice" go the words of the song, well if that's the case the collective of  Chuck Berrett (vocals), Jordan Melkin (guitar), Dave Maffei (bass/percussion) and Chris Enriquez (drums/percussion ) should maybe of called themselves HAAN, HAAN!
HAAN are quartet from Brooklyn, NY who were birthed in the winter of 2012 and describe what they do as "guitars, drums, the whole bit" and the band execute that "whole bit" to great effect on their debut album "By the Grace of Blood and Guts"


It has been stated elsewhere by a few of our esteemed blogging and journalistic colleagues that there are elements of both Clutch and The Melvins about how HAAN go about their noisy business and Desert Psychlist has to concede that there are moments on "By the Grace of Blood and Guts" where Chuck Berrett's vocal tones do wander into Neil Fallon-like lay preacher territory and that there are moments where the band fleetingly hit a groove not unlike that of King Buzzo's raucous combo, on the whole though it has to be said that HAAN are strictly their own kind of animal. HAAN emerged from the remnants of post-punk outfit No Way and this fact alone goes a long way to explaining the bands current sound, HAAN have retained the undercurrent of aggression that informed No Way's sound but have added to it a modicum of doomic dynamics, a smattering of sludge metal swampy crunch and a large helping of quirky noise rock. What makes "By the Grace of Blood and Guts" stand head and shoulders above many of this years albums however is the fact that no two songs on their latest opus share any common ground other than they are performed by the same band, each song having its own unique identity and groove. From the full on metal attack of "Thy Tongues" through the jerky, twitching "It Smells Like Gas", the intense and furious "Hangdog" to the schizophrenic alt.metal/post rock of final track "Funeral Song" not a quaver or clef is wasted, every note and drumbeat on every song having its reason for being there and integral to the impact of each individual song.


Intense, powerful with a quirky sometimes off-kilter attack "By the Grace of Blood and Guts" is a album that delivers in all areas and one that Desert Psychlist would not be surprised to see hitting many of those end of year best of lists we are all so fond of.
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 12 August 2018

PIES DE PLOMO ~ CRIATURA INFERNAL ....... review



First things first, Desert Psychlist would like to give our thanks to fellow Doom Charts contributor and Red House/La Habitación 235 master of ceremonies Roberto Fuentes for pointing us in the direction of Pies De Plomo, the Chilean promoter and podcaster has been instrumental in bringing to the attention of the wider world not only artists from his homeland of Chile but also those from the whole of the South and Central American continents, we salute you sir.
Pies De Plomo are MP (guitar/fx), Peter (vox,/drums/fx) and Charly (bass/vox/fx), three guys from Santiago, Chile with a wide spectrum of musical influences stretching from psych through to dub. The band have (unbeknown to Desert Psychlist) been releasing a slow but steady stream of singles and EP's since their 2014 formation the latest of which is "Criatura de Plomo"


Sadly Desert Psychlist does not speak or read Spanish but thanks to the magic of the interweb we can tell you that Pies de Plomo sing and perform songs telling tales of confusion, loneliness and frustration against backdrops painted in a mixture of slow/low and mid tempo growling fuzz that is pushed and driven by an array of diverse and delightful rhythmic pulses. Despite Desert Psychlist's lack of linguistic skills it is Pies de Plomo's vocals that really clinched the deal with "Criatura Infernal",  the vocal leads and harmonies that feature on songs like "Rey de Copas", "Nada Mas Que Perder" and title track "Criatura Infernal" are an enthralling blend of clean melodies, punkish aggression and stoner growl that sit easy on the ear no matter their language or dynamic. The band are not averse to taking off into stratospheric flights of fancy either as they prove on the nerve tingling and infectious three part "Suite de Plomo" a superb trilogy of lysergic instrumental experimentation and grizzled heavy psych songcraft that sits centre place, glistening like a diamond in the sunlight, on what is a stunning jewel of an EP.


Mesmerising and metallic in equal measure "Criatura Infernal" is an EP that dazzles and delights on every level, whether you speak Spanish or not you should make the effort to give this superb collection of songs a listen, Desert Psychlist promises you that the word disappointment is something that will not enter on your feelings radar,
Check it out …..

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 9 August 2018

RIVERS OF GORE ~ RIVERS OF GORE ....review


So what do you get when you combine three Mexican musicians with a CV that includes Vinum Sabbathi, Bloodwitch and Powertrip? Well the answer is some white hot stonerized grooves, that along the way take in aspects of doom, hard rock, psych and proto-metal , all squeezed and compacted into three tracks of searing heavy rock music delivered under the banner of "Rivers of Gore" by a band with the same name.


Rivers of Gore are Samuel López (drums), Daniel García (bass) and Rolo Riemer (guitar/vocals), three guys, with a wealth of experience between them, who came together just to jam and lay down some riffs and soon discovered they had tapped into something a little special. The band call "Rivers of Gore" "an album full of fantasy and perfect to listen to while you violently cut your enemies into little pieces with a heavy rotten axe". Now that might suggest to the casual reader that this is some death metal tome full of harsh demonic vocals or even some swords and sorcery type power metal but the truth is this a collection of truly memorable stoner flavoured heavy rock with its roots sucking up nutrients from the pools of both doom and psych. Swirling guitar solo's , growling bass and punishing percussion permeate each of the three songs that make up "Rivers of Gore", with all three songs coated in low pitched and throaty vocal tones that tell evocative tales of anger, violence and bloodshed. The band utilise everything from lysergic acid laced proto-metal to doomic low and slow dynamics to decorate their grooves yet, by either luck or good judgement, manage to avoid falling into any one genre classification, the band routinely shifting up and down through the gears to keep things fresh, focused and on point.



Only three songs but "River of Gore" will take you on an uncompromising, unswerving and unapologetic journey through the darker recesses of a world that we all try to deny is there but all have to deal with on a day to day basis.
Check it out.....

© 2018 Frazer jones

Monday, 6 August 2018

HOUND ~ SETTLE YOUR SCORES .... review


The Hammond Organ has graced albums from a diverse array of musical genres, from gospel all the way through to death metal but it is its use in 70's classic rock that it will probably be remembered for the most. Back in the golden age of rock the not so humble Hammond was utilised by some of that decades biggest hitters to fill out their grooves and in some of those bands was actually on an even par with, that most rock of instruments, the electric guitar. Most notable of the Hammond/guitar combinations was that of Deep Purple's Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore but there has also been many others who have reaped rewards form this combination of frets and keys like Uriah Heep's Ken Hensley and Mick Box, and of course, Blind Faith's short lived pairing of Steve Windwood and Eric Clapton.
Germany's Hound, Wanja Neite (vocals), Nando Grujic (guitar), Jonas Gehlen (organ), Yannick Aderb (bass) and John Senft (drums), are a band who well understand the importance of keys in capturing that authentic 70's sound as can be witnessed on their Hammond soaked new album "Settle Your Scores".


Hound (not be confused with the Philadelphian hard rockers of the same name) make no bones about the fact that their sound is rooted in the classic rock of the early to mid seventies, to tell these guys that they have a similar sound to any of the bands mentioned above would no doubt elicit broad grins and much mutual backslapping and it is this honesty, in what they do, that actually works for them. Hound are not a retro band in the sense that they are trying to recreate a sound that came from a bygone age (although that is what is happening), what Hound are doing here is more about celebrating that sound and reinvigorating it for a new audience while at the same time putting their own spin on things. There is a real  feeling of satisfaction and joy running through each and every song on "Settle Your Scores" it almost feels at times as if these guys cannot believe that they are actually pulling this whole classic rock thing off and doing it with such ease and aplomb. Grujic's scorching lead work and crunching chords are more than matched by Gehelen's swirling,parping Hammond and with Aderb's. liquid/growling bass and Senft's powerful percussion driving them on the pair make the most of the freedoms their rhythm section affords them by trading off and duelling around Niete's vocals, sometimes in tandem, sometimes in opposition. Niete's authentic classic rock tones are the crowning glory of Hound's overall groove his voice ,a mixture of fragility and power ,soars over the swirling backdrops behind them, an easy on the ear mixture of Jon Anderson (Yes) like soprano sweetness and Burke Shelley (Budgie) like countertenor gruffness, combining with the pulsating classic rock beneath them to create a sound and groove that although is unashamedly rooted in the past has a vitality very much of today.

If the sound of a Hammond Organ swirling through a rotating Leslie speaker, trading off licks and solos with a screaming guitar, is your worst nightmare then "Settle Your Scores" is not the album for you, if however the keys and strings forays of Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and Atomic Rooster are what makes you get out of bed in the morning then hold on to your hat, your going to love this.
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones