Seems to have been a while since Desert Psychlist was last extolling the virtues of the Greek stoner rock scene and the bands that populate it, maybe it's a result of the uncertainty of the Greek economy or the shock of Greek heavyweights Planet of Zeus moving in a more mellower crossover direction but there has definitely been a lull in raucous sludgey stoner rock coming out from that country of late.
Livadeia's Beyond This Earth redress the balance with the release of their debut album, an eight track riff fest crammed full of swampy southern sludge and swaggering bluesy hard rock flying under the banner of "Universal Fury"
First track "Showdown" does not so much explode out of the speakers as rip them to pieces with it's gritty fuzz drenched stoner refrain before proceeding to stomp them to splinters with its gnarly pounding rhythms. If the listener is not already dazed and confused by this sonic onslaught then Akris Daskalos compounds the felony by coating the resulting grooves with a vocal that starts somewhere deep in his chest before erupting from his mouth in a deep grizzled throaty roar.
"Rock'n'Riot" is up next and begins with Paris Gatsios laying down a solid drum pattern before screeching feedback introduces the guitars and the song moves into a chugging hard rock groove.
Daskalos pitches his voice slightly lower here, his tone a touch less abrasive and warmer and sitting perfectly between the twin guitar attack provided by Chris Soad and Vagelis Katsampekis and just above Vfur Valantis' big booming bass lines. "Dizzy Stow" follows, its mix of stuttering stoner riffage and classic rock structuring underpinned by deft bass and drum work is further enhanced by a superb Daskalos vocal, the front man mixing it up between raw stoner bellow and throaty southern melodic. "Burn" is a retrospective heavy blues drenched lament that lyrically looks back on a life filled with guilt and regret and musically is a tour-de-force of emotionally charged rock swathed in a heavy cloak of dark southern groove. "Liberty" is next and sees Soad and Katsampekis trading off tasteful arpeggios and chordal colourings before taking off on a Cult-like guitar motif that leads into a crunch packed stoner chug. The song swings back and forth between both dynamics beneath a strongly delivered melodic vocal before finishing in a hazy psych drenched mix of spacey ambience and bluesy hard rocking riffage. "The Martyr" has Beyond This Earth climbing back on the heavy stoner/sludge train they arrived on with a blistering mid tempo tune tempered with touches of swampy southern swagger. "The Fool" rocks a fuzz soaked atmospheric doom-lite groove that sees the band playing with elements of light and shade, Daskalos switching vocals dynamics over an atmospheric blend of chugging heavy riffage and ringing arpeggios driven by the excellent rhythms of Valantis and Gatsios's. The mood changes as the song approaches its conclusion with the band shifting through the gears and closing on a raucous wave of hi-octane rock'n'roll. Title track "Universal Fury" is a glorious blend of punkish sludge and psych drenched doom and is almost two different songs stitched cleverly together, the first half an up-tempo and in your face stoner/sludge romp that has Daskalos bellowing punkishly over a strident fuzz heavy groove, the second a hazy heavy psych wigout that sees Soad and Katsampekis laying a swathe of lysergic guitar colouring over a hazy rhythmic backdrop.
Beyond This Earth have, with "Universal Fury", not only created an absolutely essential slice of heavy southern tinged, sludge tinted stoner/hard rock but have proved that Greece is still an important stopping off point for those looking for good "underground" rock.
Check 'em out.....
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