Monday, 27 February 2017
ELECTRIC VALLEY ~ TWO REALITIES AT WAR ... review
Madrid Spain was once known as "Ursaria" which, as those with a degree in Latin will know, translates as "land of the bears" due to the amount of the large furry, and often bad tempered, mammals that were once found in its surrounding forests. The sound of roaring bears might have gone now but there is still plenty of growling coming out of the region courtesy of the grizzly riffage and rhythms created by Spanish groovsters Electric Valley.
The trio of Mario Garcia (guitars), Charlie Sanchez (drums) and Miky Simon (bass/vocals) have this year followed up on the interest garnered for their excellent 2015 album "Multiverse" with the release of another slice of Mediterranean flavoured, space themed, stonerized hard rock flying under the flag of " Two Realities at War" ( nooirax producciones).
Thick, chunky powerchords, scorching guitar solo's, fills and motifs combined with bone-shaking bass and pulverising percussion coated in big throaty clean vocals are the hallmarks of Electric Valley's brand of sonic attack, The band use these tools to great effect on songs such as "The First Contact", "War of Cosmos" and " Robotsun" but there's more to Electric Valley than just gnarly riffage and pounding rhythm, this band know a thing or two about musical dynamics and structure too. The songs that make up "Two Realities at War" are put together with an element of light and shade texturing with less abrasive passages of psychedelic rock sitting comfortably next to those of gritty hard/stoner bluster giving songs like "Galactus" and "Lost In Eternity" a fuller and more rounded sound, that many other bands of their ilk struggle to achieve, with well written and arranged songs that ebb and flow between heavy and gentle with a delicious and consummate ease.
"Multiverse" was a spectacular explosion of stoner/psych brilliance that it seemed would be a hard act to follow but Electric Valley have with "Two Realities at War" not only matched that brilliance but outshone it.
Check it out .....
Sunday, 26 February 2017
ODDHUMS ~ INCEPTION ... review
Missed by Desert Psychlist on its release "Inception"(Third I Rex) from Spanish trio Oddhums is an album that is both intriguing and unsettling, intriguing because its hard to believe the enormous amount of gritty groove Freg (guitar); Keke (drums) and Will (bass & vocals) manage to create within the confines of their trio format and unsettling because its so damn hard to pin a tag on these guys due to broad range of genres Oddhums dip their toes into over the breadth of just four songs. Throughout "Inception" elements of ambient psych and post-rock texturing mix quite amicably with those of growling, fuzz heavy sludge and dark atmospheric doom with Keke's underlying rhythms shifting from a shimmering whisper to a pounding whirlwind of percussion in the blink of an eye. Add into this equation Freg's massive sounding guitar tones,Will's spine crumbling bass and mix of bellowed sludgey roars and clean mellow vocals and you arrive at a sound that combined with the excellent production is so much more than the sum of its parts.
Check it out ....
Friday, 24 February 2017
EXIST AMONG ~ EXIST AMONG ... review
The words "old school doom" may strike fear in the hearts of those who like their dark and dismal grooves leaning more towards the blacker, more extreme edges of the genre but for us who were schooled on the proto-doom of Black Sabbath through the fledgling traditional doom of Candlemass and Count Raven to the sounds of today's Pallbearer, Dopelord and their ilk it is manna from heaven (or on reflection .. hell).
Exist Among, a trio from New York consisting of Kaiser -Guitar/Vocals, Mojo -Drums and Casey-bass, re kindle those heavy grooves of dark melodic intensity from the past, mixing them with elements of today's gnarlier modern doom and present them, to us the faithful, laid out on the altar of their debut self-titled album "Exist Among".
"Exist Among" is an album that pulls together all the threads of doom's many genres and sub-genres and weaves them into a tapestry of groove that is very much of the present but one that also acknowledges its past.The band, over the span of the seven songs that make up "Exist Among", call into play all those "old school" values of atmosphere and melody and blend them in with the grizzlier, harder elements of "modern" metal and doom to create a sound that will appeal to fans of both "schools" . Exist Among readily admit to being influenced by the past masters of doom but also cite the likes of alt/grunge rockers Alice In Chains and thrash monsters Slayer as integral in shaping their overall sound. Whether these influences are obvious ones is debatable but on songs like "Final Out" and "World In Shit" and the excellent "Walking Zone" there can be found touches of other genre colouring and texture bubbling latently under the surface, not obvious but there all the same.
If your a doom fan looking for an album that walks a fine line between the old and the new then you cannot go far wrong by giving "Exist Among " a listen.
Check it out .....
Thursday, 23 February 2017
BLOOD MIST ~ BLOOD MIST ... review
Question: What do you get when you stick five guys, from Baltimore, Maryland, with a penchant for heavy metallic music, weed, magic and dragons, in a studio together?
Answer: "Blood Mist" (Grimoire Records)...one kick-ass EP packed to the brim with grizzly riffage, scorching bluesy solo's, pummelling heavy rhythms and cool, clean massive vocals!
Blood Mist are John de Campos (drums), Matthew Casella (vocals), Nick Jewett (guitar), Kevin Considine (guitar), and Scott Brenner (bass), a band of hairy desperados intent on melting faces, destroying villages and scorching the earth (their words) with their brand of gnarly doom tinted stonerized metal.
Dio-esque lyrics of mythical landscapes and combat are powerfully roared over a backdrop of doom-like dynamics enhanced by a mixture of crunching riffage, twin guitar harmonies and searing guitar pyrotechnics all underpinned by a skilfully solid and extraordinarily adept rhythmic base. The bands blend of old and new school heavy metal and doom inform each and every one of the five tunes on "Blood Mist" giving songs like "Burn The Trees" and "As the Crow" a feeling of familiarity yet at the same time maintaining a freshness and vitality that confirms they are very much of today.
Check 'em out .....
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
CUSTOM BLACK ~ SMOKE SHALL RISE .... review
There are times in a bloggers life when he think he's got everything mapped out, he sets out a plan on what album/EP he's gonna review next, the one after that and so on, smug in the knowledge that he's got everything covered.... then along comes an album/EP so good all those plans go up in smoke and he knows this album has to be reviewed right here, right now! Custom Black's debut "Smoke Shall Rise" is one such album!
Coming from somewhere between the proto-doom of UK's Black Sabbath and the stonerized classic hard rock of Sweden's Spiritual Beggars ,with a touch of Grand Magus style heavy metal thrown in for good measure, "Smoke Shall Rise" is an album that'll unite stoners, doomsters and metalheads together under one banner. Custom Black, Josh Acosta (guitar/vocals), Glenn Hall (bass) and Brian Burchfield (drums), create a sound and groove gritty enough for those that like their music a little dirty and fuzzy but one that is also grim and gnarly enough to please those with a penchant for the darker side. From the opening bars of first track "She Rides" the listener is taken on a roller-coaster ride of crunching guitar riffage, scorching solo's, grizzly bassitude and pulverising percussion coated in strong powerful clean vocal tones, that dips and rises through a variety of tempo's and dynamics before reaching its final destination on the deliciously metallic, totally essential grooves of title and closing track "Smoke Shall Rise".
If you like your music a touch gritty, a touch doomy and a whole lot metallic with a groove deeper than the Mariana Trench then "Smoke Shall Rise" is an album you just must check out......
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
CARSON ~ DROWN THE WITNESS ...review
Strange how things seem to go in the life of a music blogger, three hours after discovering Swiss groovsters Carson's new album on Bandcamp and spreading the news all over social media sites I get a message from a friend that the band have decided to call it a day due to their singer and guitarist emigrating to New Zealand. Oh well if your gonna call it quits at least go out on a high and that's exactly what the band have done with their first (and last) full album "Drown The Witness".
Title track "Drown The Witness" burst into life on a heavily fuzz soaked circular refrain, that recalls those early desert rock grooves coming out of the Palm Desert area in the early 90's, with the songs sonic attack leaning more towards the harder edged riffage of Dozer than the sandier psychedelic tinged grooves of Kyuss. Guitarist and vocalist Kieran Mortimer-Jones chops out gritty powerchords and curly little licks over which he delivers gritty clean vocals that are superbly bolstered by a hurricane of rhythmic might supplied by the engine room of Jan Kurmann (drums) and Elina Willener (bass). Gritty, dirty with a totally addictive groove it sets the tone for the rest of the album with songs like "Divided", "Chicken" and "Amber" following similar paths of warmly fuzzed desert grooviness played hard fast and deliciously dirty. The band do though have other strings to their bow like on "And His Bone" with its gnarly grungey/alt-rock groove, "Mold" with its lysergic intro and funky psych interludes and the bluesy desert vibes running through "Pissing In The Wind" enhanced by quiet/loud/quiet dynamics.
Overall Carson have with "Drown The Witness" made an album that should appeal to both those who like their grooves down and dirty and those who like their music a little more cerebral, its just a damn shame it has to be their swansong.
Check it out ....
Sunday, 19 February 2017
SUPER SNAKE ~ LEAP OF LOVE ... review
"Four tracks of the sleaziest,dirtiest in your face rock'n'roll since Axl & co reared their dirty faces.Wonderful! "...These were the words Desert Psychlist wrote on the bands profile page back in 2012 after hearing the bands debut EP "Summer Girls", a raucous, almost glam metal, brand of grind and sleaze that recalled those heady late 80's/early 90's days of big hair, spandex and eyeliner. Five years have passed since the release of that EP and although there are still elements of that Sunset Strip sound to be found within Super Snake's grooves the bands latest release "Leap of Love" proves to be a whole different animal.
Whether the band have been mixing with musicians from the more extreme edges of the music scene or its just a natural progression but there is a darker edge to the grooves that make up "Leap of Love" and its an edge that sits easily on the ears. The swagger and cock-sure arrogance that was the staple of the bands previous releases still rears its head on songs like "Hot Pavement", "Get Lost, Be Mine","Dreamcoated" and "Big Seize" but are tempered by elements of psychedelic texturing and hazy vocal melodies. Where Super Snake really show a new found maturity though is on those songs where the band step slightly outside of themselves and take a leap into newer more experimental territories such as on the reggae tinted "Spirit Cave" the occult-lite " Lavish Sum of Dread" and the psych drenched and slightly doom-ish "Take My Breath" pulling elements of other genres into their gritty sleaze drenched grooves and stamping their own identity on them.
There is always room for a bit sleaze and glamour in rock music and Super Snake deliver that in spades on "Leap of Love" but they also show they are more than just a raucous rock'n'roll band ...they are also intelligent and an innovative one too.
Check 'em out ....
Friday, 17 February 2017
STONERROR ~ STONERROR ... review
Stonerror pushed all the right buttons with the release of their debut EP "Rattlesnake Moan" prompting Desert Psychlist to describe it, within these very pages, as "an exciting debut that although a little raw in places nevertheless promises great things for the future". The band, Jarosław Daniel - guitar , Jacek Malczewski - bass, (voice on "Misbegotten"), Łukasz Mazur - vocals and Maciej Ołownia - drums, with a little help from Maciej Cieślak - guitars, keyboards, and percussion and Marcin Lisak - guitar on "Blues for the Red Sea"
have now delivered on the potential shown on that EP with the release of their first full length album "Stonerror".
Those raw edges found on "Rattlesnake Moan" have on "Stonerror" been sanded down a touch but have been done so without compromising any of the edgy grittiness that made that EP such joyous and essential listen for those fans of the stoner/desert persuasion. The Kyuss/QOTSA - like grooves, that were an integral part of the bands sound on the debut EP, are still there in abundance but are tempered with elements of psych, blues, alt/grunge and old school hard rock textures. combining to give the album a far more interesting and diverse feel. Songs like "Red Track", "Misbegotten" and "The Wolf" continue the bands tradition of jamming dusty desert grooves coated in clean melodic vocals over hard driven rhythms but it is when the band step outside of the restraints of their desert/stoner roots that things start to get really interesting. On "Los Hermanos" the band experiment with elements of mood and atmosphere utilising a slow burning Colour Haze-esque groove over which hushed ,almost whispered, vocals are delivered, the song undulating between quiet passages of eerie otherworldliness and heavy stoner groove before finally finishing on a lone guitar motif and fading to silence.Not content with this the band even throw a little folky colouring into the mix with the delightfully sublime and eclectic "The Ride" pouring Wishbone Ash -like vocal melodies over a mix of acoustic and electric grooviness The psych drenched final track "Blues for the Red Sea" sees Stonerror exploring their lysergic side, the bands initial stoner/desert groove, populated with driving rhythms and reverb soaked vocals, suddenly taking off into full on instrumental mode with swirling Hawkwind-esque keyboard effects swooping back and forth over a backdrop of tumultuous drumming, boneshaking bass and acid tainted guitar colouring before finishing on a wave of glorious swirling, swooping noise.
"Rattlesnake Moan" was an EP made by a band trying to find their feet in a scene populated by giants, "Stonerror" sees that band standing on those feet and now staring those giants square in the eye
Check 'em out .....
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
WHEEL OF SMOKE ~ MINDLESS MASS ... review
Time to catch up on a release from a band Desert Psychlist has been following since the arrival of their debut "In Sense"(2011). The band in question are Wheel of Smoke, Erik Heyns (guitar,/keys), Filip Remans (guitar,/vocals,) Tristan Michiels (bass,?vocals) and Jouk Op De Beeck (drums? percussion), four guys from Belgium with a penchant for 70's hard rock grooves spliced with elements of psych, prog and grungy stoner grit. The release is the bands third full length album and flies under the banner of "Mindless Mass".
From the opening hard rock salvo of "Degeneration", with it's stoneresque grooves coated in throaty garage/punk style vocals interspersed with moments of prog-like colouring and textures, through to the grungy psychedelic journey that is "Feral" Wheel of Smoke deliver a tour-de-force of groove that has the potential to take off in any given direction at any given time. Gifted musicians of the highest calibre Wheel of Smoke are not a band to be confined to one genre or one time signature filling songs like "Bad Shepherd", "Unnamed" and "Synchronicity" with a myriad of differing grooves and textures that at times can leave the listener slack jawed and in a state of awe inspired wundernent
Check 'em out ....
Sunday, 12 February 2017
STINKING LIZAVETA ~ JOURNEY TO THE UNDERWORLD ... review
Yanni Papadopoulos (guitar), Alexi Papadopoulos (bass) and Cheshire Agusta (drums) are Stinking Lizaveta an instrumental band from Philadelphia who have been plying their trade around the venues of the world since their formation in 1994 gaining a reputation as a solid live unit as well as during that time releasing seven well received albums. The band have been described as playing a form of stonerized heavy instrumental rock that some have referred to as "doom jazz", the trio laying down heavy grooves of intense metallic rhythmic bluster coated in a mix of complex and prog-like guitar pyrotechnics. This year (2017) the trio release their eighth album "Journey To The Underworld" (Translation Loss Records)
The first thing that hits the listener when listening to "Journey To The Underworld "is the high levels of musicianship that Stinking Lizaveta bring to the table, Cheshire Agusta's incredible drumming is the base on which Stinking Lizaveta build their grooves, jazzy and intricate with the lightest of touches one minute a whirling dervish of crushing percussive might the next shifting seamlessly between the two dynamics without missing a beat. Alexi Papadopoulus meanwhile holds down the bottom end with some stunningly deep and intricate bass playing, whether locking in with Agusta, to lay down swathes of complex rhythm or filling in the spaces left by the guitarist with exquisite booming liquid bass lines the bassist is never less than brilliant. Guitarist Yanni Papadopoulus pours into this heady rhythmic brew a mixture of finger blurring neo-classical shredding, gently picked arpeggios, crunching powerchords, djent -like riffage and jazzy chord progressions managing to avoid the trap of overindulgent noodling by playing inside the songs rather than over them. It's hard to pick favourites from "Journey To The Underworld" as each of the nine songs that make up the album have something about them to savour and enjoy but if pushed Desert Psychlist would have to plump for either the schizophrenic "Witches and Pigs" or the prog metal-ish "Six Fangs" but others will have their own opinions.Check it out ......
Friday, 10 February 2017
3 WHEELER BAND ~ SPACE TRIBE .... review
Sometimes no matter how diligent and finger-on- the- pulse Desert Psychlist tries to be some albums and EP's still manage to wriggle past unnoticed. "Space Tribe" by Mexican riff warriors 3Wheeler Band is one such release to dodge the net (the album was released at the ass end of December 2016) but thanks to an email from the band themselves this oversight has now been rectified.
Beginning with a brief intro of various effects cleverly called "Intro" "Space Tribe" then erupts into a series of gnarly stoner grooves populated by crunching guitar riffage and hard driving stonerized rock rhythms coated in larynx tearing vocals. Adrian G (vocals/ guitars), Davo C (bass) and Jose M (drums) lay down incendiary grooves that although being informed by a love of classic rock bands like Deep Purple, Cream and Zeppelin are just as heavily salted with the more recent desert/stoner sounds of the likes of Atomic BitchWax, Clutch and Red Fang. Songs like, the wah drenched title track "Space Tribe", "I Ride", with it's NWOBHM galloping bass line and the Captain Beefheart -ish "The Last Heavy Blues", borrow heavily from both the early and late 70's but are tempered with modern stoner/psych textures and colouring giving them a contemporary yet still very underground feel.
Check 'em out .....
Thursday, 9 February 2017
DDENT ~ آكتئاب
DDENT, an instrumental quartet from the "City of Love" Paris, France have been together as a working unit since their formation in 2013. The band, Louis (guitar, Marc (drums), Nico (bass) and Vinz (guitar), jam a groove that takes in elements of doom, prog and post-metal, blending these elements into a sound that is totally unique and totally their own and is one that can be witnessed on bands brand new album "آكتئاب"
Whether laying down grooves populated by post-rock texture and brutal doom-like riffage ("Arzel", "Kohol"), serving up huge ambient soundscapes ("Harbouz", "Julep") or just getting damn right proggish ( "Ghazel", "Azahar") DDENT do so with a confidence and musical skill that some bands don't achieve after a lifetime together. Each song on " آكتئاب" is layered with swathes of colour and texture, their grooves opening slowly like flowers to reveal a heart of fragile beauty then gradually closing as the darker edges of the bands sound draw in around them like a cold hard frost. Heavy, tender and intelligent in equal measure "آكتئاب" is an album that those toying with the idea of trying something from the cupboard of post-rock delights for the very first time should really check out.......
Tuesday, 7 February 2017
DOUBLE HORSE ~ DOUBLE HORSE ... review
Double Horse a three piece doom metal band from Valencia, Spain may not be high on the radars of many stoner/doom and psych devotees right now but the trio of Indio ( lead guitar and backing vocals), Pablosky (bass guitar and backing vocals) and Guille (lead vocals and drums) could soon be changing all that if the raw doom drenched grooves found on their self-titled debut " Double Horse" are anything to go by.
Uncompromising grooves of doom in their rawest form are the order of the day for Double Horse, the Spanish bands sonic attack of low/slow untamed riffage driven by thundering percussion and salted with elements of space and psych, are further enhanced by the addition of low monotonic vocals giving the bands overall sound an eerie occult feel. Songs like "The Seventh Seal", "Feudalism" and "The Other Side" although having a traditional stoner doom root probably veer nearer to the cosmic doom grooves of Ufomammut than they do that of Sabbath or Electric Wizard owing to the swirling spacey undercurrents laying beneath each songs surface.
Raw and a little naïve in places "Double Horse" is nonetheless a fine debut from a band we should all be keeping our eyes and ears on for the future.
Check 'em out ......
Sunday, 5 February 2017
MARS ~ PRECESSION OF THE EQUINOXES ...review
Mars a three piece stoner doom band from New Orleans, Louisiana are, on the evidence of their second album "Precession of the Equinoxes", going to find it hard not to be compared to those iconic stoner riffmeisters Sleep. The two bands both utilise slowed down, heavily fuzzed and downtuned Sabbath-esque riffage driven by big growling bass lines and pounding heavy percussion and both are trio's. Where Mars differ from their Californian counter parts is in the diversity of their attack adding touches of psychedelic colouring and gentle ambient textures in and around their mammoth low/slow grooves. First and title track "Precession of the Equinoxes" is a prime example of this, the songs slow plodding doom riff is overlaid with Gregorian like chanted vocals creating a dirge like groove that leans towards the funereal but is saved by the band adding elements of light and shade into the equation via gentle guitar arpeggios and shimmering percussion. As the song approaches its last quarter the band shrug off their cloaks of doom and explode into a blistering heavy metal groove replete with scorching blues infused guitar solo's shredded over a tumultuous rhythmic backdrop before finishing on a wave of Celtic tinted blackened doom coated in harsh throaty vocals.
"Shadowbuilder" lurches out of the speakers leviathan like, its achingly slow groove drenched in distortion and fuzz crawls along for a few bars then suddenly erupts into a heavy sludge groove with wide eyed maniacal vocals screamed over it. Apart from a brief respite of quiet moody ambiance the songs dynamic of majestic slow doom and grinding heavy sludge carries it through until its high droning close
"Empress" begins with bassist Mark Woods laying down a grizzly bass motif that is joined after a few bars by Matt Mars' drums the two laying down a slow and atmospheric rhythmic groove that is then shattered to pieces with the arrival of Andy Soda's crunching heavy guitar and throat tearing vocals taking the songs groove into more blackened territory before collapsing down into a stoner doom groove for the finale.
"The Mountain" sees a brief return to those Gregorian-like vocals, albeit mixed with those of a harsher nature, chanted and roared over and around a tumultuous backdrop of grinding bass and thundering drums overlaid with heavily distorted guitar. The second half of the song sees the band exploring more Sabbathian grooves than previously heard but mixing them with elements of psych and space, something Desert Psychlist hopes the band expand on in the future.
"Alpha Draconis" closes proceedings and is at 4:30 the shortest track on the album. More a brooding backdrop for a heavy smoking session than an actual song it consists of an array of effects swirling and swooping over a slow and deliberate drum and bass groove, nice but not essential Desert Psychlist would much rather of seen the album go out on a blistering heavy high than a soundtrack for one... but that's just our opinion.
Sabbathian but not Black Sabbath, Weedian but not Sleep Mars are their own band with their own sound, a sound that although nods its head towards the grooves created by those iconic legends does not seek to replicate them.
Check 'em out ......
Friday, 3 February 2017
DOPELORD ~ CHILDREN OF THE HAZE ... review
Dopelord are Grzegorz Pawłowski (guitar), Piotr Zin (bass/vocals), Paweł Mioduchowski (guitar/vocals) and Tomasz Walczak (drums), four guys from Poland who in their own words like to " tune low and play slow."
The band were formed in Lublin. Poland back in 2010.. releasing their first album "Magick Rites" in 2012 following this up in 2014 with Black Arts, Riff Worship & Weed Cult" As seems to be the norm with Dopelord the band have again allowed a roughly two year gap before releasing this their latest opus "Children Of The Haze".
Dopelord have with "Children Of The Haze" found a way to combine the doom laden heaviness of their previous albums with a newly acquired element of subtleness and lightness of touch. This is not to say that these Polish stonernauts have mellowed or compromised their sound in anyway , the heaviness and brutality of their slow/low riffage and rhythms are still very much in evidence throughout with songs like title track "Children Of The Haze", "Scum Priest"and album closer "Reptile Sun" really pushing those elements of the bands sound to the fore. It is however on songs like the slow burning and atmospheric "Navigator" and the brief but totally mesmerising "Skulls and Candles" that the band really start to show their evolvement as songwriters and arrangers adding into both the music and the vocals elements of harmony and melody. On penultimate track "Dead Inside (I&II)" the band even combine these elements with a touch of bluesy torch like swagger, pouring scorching hot guitar solo's over a pounding backdrop of heavy riff''n'rhythm coated in superbly delivered clean vocals.
"Children Of The Haze" is Dopelord's third album and in Desert Psychlist's opinion their best so far and is one that sees the band subtly shifting their sound into new and exciting musical spaces and territories yet remaining true to their heavy riff fuelled stoner doom roots.
Check it out .....
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