Monday 30 April 2018


The UK's underground rock scene is currently a seething hot bed of musical activity with bands like Desert Storm, Sergeant Thunderhoof, Green Lung and Witch Tripper all releasing albums that are not only being lauded here, on this little island we Brits call home, but also internationally. Whether Surrey trio, Trevor's Head, Aaron Strachan (bass, vocals, percussion, gliss), Matt Ainsworth (drums, vocals, keys & synths, flute, percussion) and Roger Atkins (guitar, vocals, percussion), have quite reached that level of global recognition is debatable but if their latest release "Soma Holiday" (APF Records) is anything to go by then it won't be too long. 

A band citing among their influences the mid to late 70's punk of Black Flag, the grainy desert dabbling of Kyuss and the proto-sludge of the Melvins may fool someone reading this into thinking that Trevor's Head would have a very American sound but although there are American elements to be found within the bands sound there is also an undeniable and overriding quirky sense of Englishness to be found here too
First thing you will notice about "Soma Holiday" is how big it is, thirteen tracks big to be precise, fear not though as boredom thresholds will not be a reached here as the band never hang around in one genre, style or groove long enough for that to occur. "Lung" opens "Soma Holiday", a short intro piece with the sound of someone inhaling and exhaling being slowly replaced with a swathe of keyboard colouring and synthesised sound  that then slams into "Sleepstate" a raucous rip-roaring groove fest that hurtles along at 100 mph with vocals trading back and forth over a backdrop of insistent rhythm and growling fuzz broken only by a mid -section of swirling lysergic grooviness. "Did you ever go to war" screams the lyric to next track "Verbal Hygiene" a full on angsty punk fuelled workout that explodes out of the traps like Usain Bolt on steroids. "Billion Dollar Fart" follows a similar punkish path but this time with its tongue placed firmly in its cheek. "Ghost" finds the band putting aside their punkish leanings for a second or two and diving headlong into more restrained waters with Atkins teasing a myriad of colours from his fretboard over an absolutely delicious Strachan bass line superbly supported by Ainsworth's busy and solid drum work. What sets Trevor's Head apart from their contemporary's is their clever use of vocal interplay, not so much in harmonising (though they do this well too) but in utilising the different vocal tones available to them and playing those tones off against one another resulting in a delightful call and response type scenario, something that works extremely well here. "Harvest Ritual" finds Trevor's Head hitting a more traditional stoner/desert groove while "Clerical Error" has a more grunge/alternative dynamic. The band briefly visit hardcore territory with "Writers Block" before taking off into the hard rock/stoner/progressive mixture that is "I Can't Believe It's Not Better" where mid -song Ainsworth pulls a rabbit from his hat with a stunning flute contribution that is sudden, delightful and totally unexpected. "Departed" finds us sitting around the campfire while the band entertain us with a charming mixture of lead and harmonised vocals over a backdrop of acoustic guitar interplay and eastern tinted hand percussion while "Boomeranxiety" sounds not unlike something that missed the cut on The Rocky Horror Show's soundtrack, all quirky vocals and off- kilter rhythms. "Bomb" is up next and sails along on a more traditional heavy rock/stoner groove but this being Trevor's Head it is not long before you start noticing little deviations appearing here and there, this is a band who do not like to play by the rules. The band finish things up with "Welcome (The Unburdening)" an eclectic tome that toys with elements of complex prog, dense sludginess and heavy rock bluster before fading out on a wave of laid back ambience, do not hit hat play/pause/stop button just yet though as after a long period of silence a hidden track suddenly surfaces which Desert Psychlist will not review here as some surprises need to be just that .....surprising!

Quirkiness has not always been the property of Josh Homme and his Queens of the Stone Age and Desert Sessions projects, we Brits have always toyed with the off-kilter and left of centre in our musical history, The Who, Queen and even Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath would often throw in a few left turns to confuse and confound their fan bases, Trevor's Head continue that tradition with "Soma Holiday" an eclectic mix of styles and grooves that revels in it own diversities and eccentricities .
Check it out .....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday 29 April 2018


Let It Breathe a trio from North Mankato, Minnesota are no strangers to Desert Psychlist the band having came to our attention four years ago via their debut EP "River Wizard", a decent well paced debut that, had its production been a little more polished and thicker sounding, may well have squeezed its way on to some of that years best of lists. Four years later with a slew of gigs under their belts, a little more knowledge of how to refine their sound in a studio environment and the backing of a very good record label the band return with their first full length album "Let It Breathe" (STB Records).

The muddy-ish production that held back Let It Breathe's debut EP "River Wizard" has been well and truly addressed on "Let It Breathe" and it was something that needed to be done, especially for a band whose greatest asset is the clear, clean shoegaze-ish vocal melodies and harmonies they like to counterbalance their fuzz drenched riffs and distortion dipped grooves with. Here the production is big, crisp and clear accentuating those vocals and putting an extra element of oomph into those raucous refrains and punchy, pummelling rhythms. This is nevermore evident than on first track "Bucket of Bullheads" an infectious, swirling affair, built around a pulsating bass motif backed by incredibly impressive drumming and coated in crunching chordal guitar colouring and swirling lead work. Over this bone rattling display of pure groove and in fact the rest of the album are laid clean melodious vocals and it is these vocals that set Let It Breathe apart from others plying their trade within the stoner/doom scene. If your looking for whiskey ravaged throaty tones or cookie monster growls well I'm afraid your out of luck here because what this band bring to the table throughout their first album are honeyed harmonies, mellow melodies and perfected polyphony all set against a background of gnarly riffage and pounding percussion.

So if you want some thing a little less abrasive than the usual stoner, sludge and doom fare but you still hanker for something that's still got plenty of balls and fire then look no further you've just found it in "Let It Breathe"
Check it out ... 

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 27 April 2018


Detroit's Small Stone Records have had their problems in the past, especially when in 2014 a flood almost wiped out their offices and nearly destroyed their whole operation, but the label that has over the years introduced us to such underground luminaries as Sasquatch, Wo Fat, Roadsaw and Greenleaf are nothing if not resilient and slowly but surely the label has fought its way back and with their mantra of releasing quality over quantity are now clawing their way back to the top.
The latest band to be given the "Small Stone" treatment are a trio from Oviedo, Northern Spain with a penchant for old school hard rock/proto-metal grooves with a well defined stoner edge who go by the name Green Desert Water. The band, Juan Arias Garcia (bass), Kike Sanchis (guitar/vocals) and Miguel Alverez (drums/backing vocals), first came to Desert Psychlist's attention with their hard rocking and bluesy debut EP "Green Desert Water" which we described on their Bandcamp page as "Smooth and classy blues rock", the band return now with their latest offering "Solar Plexus" (Small Stone Records) and we have no intention of changing that opinion.

As connoisseurs of 70s classic/hard rock will already know the music of that period was birthed in the UK ,a place far removed from its blues based roots in the USA, with bands like Led Zeppelin, The Jeff beck Group and early Peter Green led Fleetwood Mac taking what was an overlooked musical medium, amplifying it to earsplitting proportions and effectively reselling it back to its original owners. However it wasn't long before American bands cottoned on and started to experiment with the blues themselves but as the USA contains a huge diversity of people and cultures it wasn't long before some of those cultures started seeping into the music they were creating and moulding a new sound entirely. Two of these cultures to ingrain itself into the music were from the country/folk music of the southern states  and the soulful R'n'B of the inner cities with bands like the Allman Brothers Band, Grand Funk Railroad, and Mountain, among others, incorporating these influences into their grooves some of which were glaringly obvious some of which were latent and underlying . It is from this pool that Green Desert Water draw their sound, filling their fuzz drenched bluesy grooves and proto-metal ramblings with an undercurrent of southern country strut  and soulful swagger that although doesn't smack you around the face with a cowhide glove are nevertheless still there. "Open Your Wings" kicks things off nicely, a barnstorming proto flavoured workout that struts and swaggers towards its climax on a wave of crunching riffage and pounding percussion, lightened only by Sanchis' soulfully executed clean, powerful vocals and swirling solos's . "Chaman" and "The Deepest Sea" follow and both are notable for their fuzz drenched circular refrains, pushed hard by Alverez busy solid percussion and Garcia's grizzled fuzz drenched bass, both songs taken to another level by Sanchis distinctive and  delightful vocals. Sanchis voice although bereft of any vestige of southern "twang" to match the southern edge of the grooves surrounding it is nonetheless a thing of wonder, his vocal may not have the soulful timbre and all out power of a Steve Marriott or a Glenn Hughes but he more than matches them for weary gravitas and undiluted passion. Those vocals are used to great effect on the albums next track "Souls of the Woodland" a brooding and atmospheric number with a loose blues core that is not only the perfect showcase for Sanchis' incredible voice but also highlights his prowess as a guitarist, his solo's and riffs taking on a life of their own as they swoop and soar above Alverez and Garcia's tight rhythmic undertones. "Mother Moon" is up next and begins with the band crunching through the gears on a wave of rasping riffage and rhythm then suddenly laying out for Sanchis voice and Alverez's  bass drum to carry the song, then just as suddenly exploding again. The song carrying on in this vein until segueing into a storming instrumental mid section that showcases each members individual skills before finishing the way it started in an explosion of gloriously grainy proto groove. Final song and title track "Solar Plexus" rounds things off nicely with an undulating slice of distortion dipped proto madness that dips and soars in equal measure while at the same time visiting a myriad of styles along the way, styles that include lysergic funkiness, southern bluesiness and good old fashioned hard rocking fuzziness.

It's a win, win situation for Desert Psychlist here, not only do we see Small Stone Records maintaining the levels of quality over quantity they are internationally renowned for but we also get an album from a band who's star is most definitely in the ascendancy. Green Desert Water and Small Stone Records, a match made in heaven.
Check 'em out .....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday 22 April 2018

US AS CARAVAN ~ BUILT ...... review

Those brave few who first began experimenting with hallucinogenic substances like LSD, psilocybin, mescaline and certain strains of wild mushrooms in the mid to late 60's may not have been aware at the time the effects their use would have on popular culture, especially when it came to music. With their minds expanded musicians started transposing their visual and auditory experiences into the sounds they were making, creating soundscapes with their music that had a certain freedom and an almost an almost transcendental quality. The reverberations from those early days of lysergic experimentation and musical exploration still abide to this day and nevermore so than in the music of today's underground rock scene where the word psychedelic may have been abbreviated to "psych" but is still as out there and experimental as the day it first came on to our radar.
One band embracing that spirit of musical adventure and bringing it up to date for a new generation are Chicago's Us As Caravan a three piece band who blend shoegaze(ish) texturing and  lysergic colourings with fuzz drenched riffage and thunderous rhythms, something that can be heard on their stunning new debut "Built".

As any vinyl/CD buying, or even digital buying, music fan will tell you, sometimes an albums artwork can tell you more about the music inside than a thousand words will and the startling yet simple water colour and crayon painting that adorns "Built" tells you to expect something a little different, a little off-kilter and fresh.
Things start off well straight from the off, a warm liquid bass motif, accompanied by gradually increasing fuzz and feedback, introduces first track "Wave Goodbye", the song then exploding  into a heavily tripped out and hazy blues groove. This however is not the sort of blues groove your gonna hear coming out of some back street blues club played by old men in well worn suits telling you how their baby done them wrong, no this is a heady, trippy blues groove driven by gnarly bass and pounding drums, coated in strong clean, slightly indie vocals then decorated with layers of dirty fuzz and crackling distortion, it is still the blues but with a twist. "Damn Sure" follows and this time the band propel us down more spacey hard rock corridors with guitarist/vocalist Alex dialling his six string settings to phased and his vocals to melodic indie. The song has a strong heavy psych vibe made stronger by drummer Luis' incessant and exemplary use of the more shimmering and crashing components of his kit and Jimmy's ever present booming, growling bass. Next up is "So Called Man" a song that sees the band running the psychedelic flag to the top of the pole and truly embracing their more lysergic leanings. Swirling and hazy with colourful fractured guitar chords vying for space with soaring solos and glistening harmonics it almost feels as though the two previous songs have been gradually leading up to this point and the band now feel ready to cut free and fly. And fly they do with next offering "Chew The Fat" a song that floats and punches in equal measure, its undulating groove visiting elements of  hard rock, spacey psych and hazy blues as it winds along it's merry but terminally stoned way. "Sunfalcon" closes "Built" with a hard driven, heavily fuzzed, phased and distorted psychedelic rocker coated in powerful hazy vocals that has a vibe that suggests the band got together and decided they wanted to go out in a blaze of glory, all guns blazing and hell for leather, something they more than achieve here.

Us As Caravan are a stunning band unafraid to go out on a limb occasionally, a band who deliver a sound that is structured yet has fluidity and freedom, a band who should be mentioned in the same sentences as similar psych/blues trailblazers All Them Witches and Youngblood Supercult, a band you should check out.....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 20 April 2018


It has been six years since Scotland's Buried Sleeper released their debut album "Colosseum" and six years is a long, long period in musical terms, a lot of things can happen in a bands life in that time. As we all are slowly coming to realise these days mega stardom and untold riches are no longer something attainable and band members who need to feed their families and keep a roof over their heads also need to have a job outside of their musical endeavours. Whether this is the case in why there has been such a long gap between Buried Sleeper's albums Desert Psychlist doesn't know but it is most likely that work, family and life in general have all somehow played their part. No matter though the band are back now with a new album and a slightly more expansive sound with their latest offering "Obsidian"

"Obsidian" is an album that proves true that old adage that "if something is good then it's worth waiting for", it is also an album that shows Buried Sleeper have not been sitting idle all these years just twiddling their thumbs. There is a deeper more complex feel to the four grooves that make up "Obsidian", all those things that made their debut "Colosseum" such a great listen are all still in place but there is a maturity to their sound now, a maturity reflected in not only their songs but also in their execution and arrangement. The band, Tommy Wigman (bass), Bryce Sutherland (guitar/vocals), Harry Clapham (guitar) and Dominic Hardy (drums), create huge walls of dark atmospheric groove around which they weave clean, mellow and slightly monastic harmonies,  grooves that at times veer towards crushing and heavy but are reigned in by the bands clever use of dynamics and melody, a tsunami of riffs and rhythms that bubble and boil threatening to erupt tempered by moments of simmering tranquility  Each song on "Obsidian" should be listened to as a separate entity as each has its own signature and unmistakeable dark beauty but these songs also work if you ignore the gaps between tracks and listen as if listening to one complete movement, allowing the music and vocals to wash over you in wave upon wave of dark sonic majesty.

Let's hope its not another six years before Buried Sleeper grace us with their next offering but even if that is the case we will still have "Obsidian" to turn to in the interim and that on the evidence of these four songs that is not a bad thing at all.
Check it out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 17 April 2018

SLOW GREEN THING ~ III ...... review

Dresden, Germany, the recipient of a ferocious bombing campaign by the allied forces during the Second World War, was rebuilt, reconstructed and is now a central hub for cultural and technological education with the Dresden University of Technology being one of the biggest seats of learning in the country. As seems the case with all university cities it is never long before a vibrant and enthusiastic music scene becomes established around them. Dresden is no different boasting up and coming bands like the retro sounding Wucan and the psychedelic Sir Robin and The Longbowman, the city also has a thriving heavy scene and up front and centre of that scene stand a four piece band going by he name of Slow Green Thing, a band who have already had two well received releases under their belts in 2014's "I" and 2016's "II" and have just released their third album, unsurprisingly entitled "III" (Fuzzmatazz Records)

With one foot in the hard/classic rock of the 70's/80's and the other in the swampy heaviness of today's stoner metal/doom scene Slow Green Thing, Sven (guitar/vocals), Andreas (guitar), Jorg (drums) and Martin (bass), are one of those bands once heard, never forgotten. The quartet have a distinctive groove that is very much their own, a signature sound that marries melody with crushing heaviness without over leaning in either direction, the band walking stridently and confidently a middle ground between both dynamics. On songs such as "When Habits Embrace" and "Recipe of Doom" it would be so easy for Slow Green Thing to fall in to the trap of being heavy just for heaviness sake but they avoid this by injecting into their songs a melodic air both vocally and in the structure of their musical arrangements, tempering and counterbalancing all the heaviness of their grooves with soaring psychedelic guitar solo's and clean, clear vocal melodies, allowing spaces where the music can take a breath before diving back down into doomic depths.

Slow Green Thing's "III" is an album that fluctuates between crushing and caressing in an instant, brimming over with grooves that are a mix of volatile seething riffage, mellow psychedelic meanderings and old school hard rocking bluster, all delivered with a level of musicianship that at times takes your breath away.
Check it out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday 15 April 2018


Mansfield, England 2014 and bass player Chris "Stoff" Daughton and guitarist Richie Barlow bump into each other while out and about and get talking, the pair hit it off and decide, due to their similar musical leanings, to form a band. "Stoff " and Barlow start then to look for a drummer and finally settle on young skin beater Jimmy Collins and so Witch Tripper are born. The band soon begin a period of intense gigging which culminates in an appearance at the prestigious Bloodstock Festival thanks to them coming second in a battle of the bands type competition in their area. In this time the band also find the time to unleash their hard rocking debut album "Witch Tripper" on an unsuspecting but very grateful public. Two years later, with a slew of gigs under their belts and a growing reputation the band return to the studio, the result of which is this their second album "I, Of The Storm"

Witch Tripper, with their debut album, hit a groove that melded elements of hard rock, classic rock and metal with touches of bluesy swagger  and played it with the same sort of passion, intensity and power that Lemmy's legendary Motorhead used to attack their rock'n'roll based metal with, this time however Witch Tripper have ramped up the metallic content of their sound, eased off of those bluesy elements and in doing so have found their own sound. From the very first notes of first track "White Lines" it is fairly obvious this is a not a band who are going to be asking us to hug a tree and worry about our carbon footprints anytime soon, no this is a take no prisoners and give no quarter rocket ride of  hi-octane, foot to the floor rock'n'roll played hard, played fast and played dirty. Witch Tripper cleverly keep things tight and economical throughout, with only two songs, "I, Of The Storm" and "Roll The Dice", creeping over the five minute mark, resulting in the albums songs having a more immediate feel and in your face impact, something Desert Psychlist imagines must transfer extremely well to the live environment. Musically the band are as tight as their songs with "Stoff" and Collins laying down a thrumming whirlwind of drum and bass groove for Barlow to decorate with his strong grainy vocals and mix of metallic and bluesy guitar colourings, the three musicians combining to create a thunderous maelstrom of filthy groove that is as exciting as it is enjoyable.

Whether you've got a soft spot for old school heavy metal, a penchant for full on hard rock or a hankering for stonerized heavy blues you will find something on "I, Of The Storm" to quench your thirst and sate your appetite. To paraphrase Jagger and Richards " It's only rock'n'roll but we fucking love it"
Check it out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 14 April 2018


When Humboldt County bands The Hitch, Dragged By Horses, Sake and Grimace went their separate ways various members of those bands started looking around for other projects to fill up their time and sate their need to make music, one such project took the form of a new band going by the name of Lord Ellis and saw the release in 2015 of a self-titled album. "Lord Ellis" showed a band totally in tune with each other who blended old school hard rock with elements of grunge, punk and proto-metal to create a virtual tsunami of groove that would gain them an army of new fans and followers. Forward to 2018 and the band are back, a little bit older a little bit wiser and with a new album entitled "Mouth of the Mad"

The ex The Hitch rhythm section of Steve Bohner (drums) and Roshawn Beere (bass) are the backbone of groove around which Pablo Midence (guitar/vocals) and Adam Sorter (keys) weave their magic, the rhythmic pairing coming across at times like the stoner rock equivalent of legendary reggae rhythmeisters Sly & Robbie. Bohner's on point percussion and Beere's growling, rumbling bass are the rock steady foundations on which each of "Mouth of the Mad's" ten songs are built and when Desert Psychlist says songs, we mean songs. Lord Ellis are not just a vehicle for endless riffage as there is more going on here than just refrains and rhythms, the band know how to structure their songs so as to bring the best out of them utilising things like melody and dynamics to breathe life into them. Sorter's keyboard contributions are a major ingredient in Lord Ellis' sonic attack but unlike John Lord's role in Deep Purple where Lord, with Ritchie Blackmore, was one of the main instrumental voices of the band Sorter's role is more decorative, the keyboardist supporting and complimenting the grooves rather trying to overwhelm them. This is not to say that Sorter doesn't shine, on the excellent "Hollywood" he introduces the song with a swathe of delicious wooshing organ and when given the room to execute a blistering solo mid-song he greedily grabs it with both hands and duly delivers. Midence's vocal and guitar work throughout "Mouth of the Mad" is a revelation, whether he is chopping out raucous chordal colourings or burning through the frets on a soaring solo he gives everything to the song, something that can also said about his vocal contributions. Midance's voice is distinctive and strong with a grainy edge and is a dominant force even when joined by Sorter on backing vocals and occasional harmonies, the guitarist/vocalist even managing to pull off a faultless Glenn Hughes type falsetto on the aforementioned "Hollywood".

Because of the bands use of keyboards to complete their overall sound there will probably be, as there always seems to be in these cases, those inevitable comparisons to Deep Purple being made. This in Desert Psychlist's humble opinion would be a touch unfair  as Lord Ellis are a band who with "Mouth of the Mad" are attempting to forge their own sound and groove and on the evidence of this album are making a damn good job of it!
Check 'em out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 13 April 2018

STONE DUST RIDERS ~ VOLUME 1 ....... review

I guess you could call Baltimore's Stone Dust Riders a true garage band, the trio of Sean Kearney (guitar/vocals), Dennis Barth (bass) and the oddly named Cabbage (drums), having worked out their tunes, rehearsed and jammed them from a garage they call "The Compound" in Granite , Maryland. Now the words "garage band" these days seems to conjure up visions of  The Stooges, MC5 type grooves, raw and untamed rock with a ton of feral punkish attitude but Stone Dust Riders could not be further from that description, the sound coming from their garage is an intriguing mix of 70's hard rock bluster and 90's stoner/desert grooviness all seasoned with a large pinch of bluesy swagger, still slightly raw edged but with a certain finesse. Their debut release "Volume 1" may have been born in the garage but it wants to live in the mansion.

"Volume 1" kicks into life courtesy of the WAH drenched and fuzz heavy  instrumental "November" a delightfully grainy tome driven by Cabbage's solid, tight percussion and Barth's growling bass over which Kearney lays down a grizzly circular refrain embellished with gritty lead work. "Bike Ride" follows and we are suddenly plunged into newer territory with the band hitting into a funky blues groove that if it were not for its fuzz heavy mid-section you would swear was something lifted from a (pre-Michael McDonald) Doobie Brothers session thanks to its excellent vocal melody where Kearney perfectly channels the spirit, of that bands original vocalist (Tom Johnston), in both his tone and delivery.
Throughout "Volume 1" Stone Dust Riders explore different aspects and facets of that we call the "blues" putting a jazzy spin on them on "Steve The Dolphin", tinting them in psychedelic hues on "British Desert Tent" or just rocking them out with old school heaviness and southern swagger as on "Hominey & Grits" and "42",

Be you a hippy sporting a bandana and a kaftan, a stoner in cargo shorts and band tee or a hep cat in a zoot suit and tie you can rest assured that somewhere on "Volume 1" Stone Dust Riders have your blues preferences covered
Check it out ....

© Frazer Jones 2018

Thursday 12 April 2018

TWIN SPEAK ~ SOULSS ..... review

Desert Psychlist described Twin Speak's self titled debut album, in a short Bandcamp review blurb, as "perfect for those times when you have overdosed on heavy riffs and just want something to chill to" and "instrumental jam/stoner/desert rock that has a Colour Haze, Sungrazer, Causa Sui vibe" . Whether the band, Brandon Battles (guitar), Brett Rhymestine (guitar) and Ian Bellassai (drums), agreed with those descriptions is not known but there must have been something in those words that resonated with the Utica, New York trio as they recently contacted Desert Psychlist to point us in the direction of their latest release "Soulss"

Instrumental music can sometimes come over a touch one dimensional , lacking in the lyrical hooks and phrasing a vocalist can bring to the table, relying instead on the strength and instrumental prowess of the musicians involved. Sometimes those strengths and skills can work against a band and find them wandering into areas of self-indulgent, mindless noodling, thankfully that is not the case here. "Soulss" is not a pretty album but then nor is it an ugly one, there are moments of sheer beauty to be found throughout its forty two plus minute duration but there are also moments of discord and brutality, Twin Speak balance out these opposing aspects by not allowing one or the other ever to become the dominant force, weaving those aspects into each of their songs, sometimes in sections, sometimes cleverly interlaced together. There is also an undeniable cinematic quality to many of the grooves on "Soullss" with songs like "Black On Biscay", "Moonbathing" and "Mantras & Monsters" undulating in both mood and tempo, executed as if the band are following a film script only they can see but want you to feel.

A lot more angular and convoluted than its predecessor "Soulss" is nevertheless a stunning album that although not always easy on the ear is worth putting in the little extra effort needed to truly appreciate its, at times, breathtaking majesty.
Check it out ......

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday 9 April 2018

SHINE ~ MOON WEDDING ...... review

In Poland slow is the new black, or that is how it seems whenever Desert Psychlist is confronted by something from that countries burgeoning heavy underground scene, musicians from this part of the world must be drinking something in the water that causes them to slow things down to crawling pace while at the same time thickening them up in both depth and resonance . ShineKamil Baran - guitar/vocals, Damian Olearczyk - bass/vocals, Igor Wasztyl - guitar and Marcel Łękawa - drums, a four piece stonerized doom band from Bielsko-Białaare are no exception to this rule. Shine, who first came to our attention with their excellent debut EP "Weednight", have a knack for creating lurching menacingly atmospheric grooves shot through with lysergic textures, textures and grooves they continue to explore on their latest release "Moon Wedding"

"Goat Mountain", an instrumental piece, opens "Moon Wedding", as you would expect, an achingly low, terminally slow doom groove supported from beneath by slow deliberate percussion with bass and rhythm guitar holding down the songs main riff while the second guitar adds touches of low, lysergic colouring. The song gradually increasing in depth and intensity before unexpectedly morphing into an up-tempo, wah pedal drenched blues groove in its dying seconds, an unexpected turn of events but one that is as enjoyable as it is surprising. "Shine" follows and finds the band once again hitting the slow. low trail this time though with the distortion levels turned up to eleven, vocals telling of seeing "unholy naked women dancing on your crypt" are delivered in cracked, sinister tones against a backdrop of grainy fuzz and pulverising rhythm. Title track "Moon Wedding" is up next and for once the band step away from their usual lethargic groove and embrace an almost stoner-esque,desert dynamic that sees Olearczyk and Łękawa laying down a solid bedrock of bass and drum grooviness for Baran and Wasztyl to decorate with crunching riffs and swirling solo's over which Baran and  Olearczyk harmonise lyrics that tell of  "a trip on a broom" and  agonize over " the illusion of separation". Shine return to the swampy mire for "Honey" a song whose tittle suggests saccharine sweetness but is in fact a song telling a tale of suffocation in sin and a slow fall from grace set against slow grinding metallic refrains and punishing percussion. "Riding The Snake" closes out the album with another slightly up-tempo number pushed by Olearczyk's growling bass and Łękawa's strident drums and overlayed with Baran and Wasztyl's combination of crunching powerchords and heavily effect laden guitar solo's, ok its not exactly thrash but for a band who like to play things a little sedate this is pretty pacey stuff.


Shine proved with their debut "Weednight" that they were a band to be reckoned with, a band with a penchant for the slow and heavy but one with a willingness to step outside of those constraints into faster waters if and when the mood took them but they were also a band still searching for their definitive sound, with "Moon Wedding" they've found it.
Check 'em out ...

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday 8 April 2018


Originally an instrumental band Quebec's Godhead Lizard, Jo (drums), Nic (guitar) and Phil (bass), soon came to realise they were missing a vital component from their musical equation and after a year of instrumental heaviness recruited that component into their sound in the shape of vocalist Vince. This move not only turned the band from a trio into a quartet overnight but was one that also saw their musical visions become full blown stories. Those stories, telling of anguish and despair pitched against a backdrop of crunching riffage and diverse rhythms, are now presented, for your listening pleasure, via the bands debut EP "Godhead Lizard".

"Dingir" kicks things off and starts with samples of contrasting religious cadences chanted and sang over an ever evolving guitar motif before exploding into a throbbing heavily fuzzed stoner-ish groove around which the vocalist rails against the hypocrisy's of religion and worship , in rich powerful  and slightly bitter tones. "Aphelia" follows and finds the band ramping up the atmospherics with a low. slow and very dank groove embellished with clever effects and touches of bluesy colouring, the songs brooding moodiness taken to another level by an unbelievably strong emotive vocal. Next track "Ancient Suns" begins its life gentle and considerate with acoustic guitar strummed and picked over a background of textured ambience before exploding bomb-like into a fuzz drenched heavy blues groove with its vocals, supported by growling bass, pounding percussion and crunching guitar, up front, aggressive and in your face. Around the halfway mark the groove suddenly shifts and the songs morphs into cinematic mode with frontman Vince taking the song to a close narrating a half sang, half spoken story/tone poem over a backdrop of liquid bass, jazzy percussion and glistening arpeggios, its overall effect and execution having an element of Robert De Niro's/Travis' iconic " All the animals come out at night" speech in Martin Scorcese's "Taxi Driver". "Mirage" finds Godhead Lizard back in more familiar territory, the band hitting a raucous hard rock/stoner groove drenched in fuzz and distortion and flecked with touches of bluesy swagger. "Dreamstone" closes proceedings with a song that follows in much the same vain as its predecessor but then veers left into  more lysergic areas before finishing in a wave of droning noise.

Dark, moody, atmospheric and brooding, "Godhead Lizard" is all of things and more, an album that delivers on all levels written, arranged and performed  by a band unafraid to confront things like alienation, frustration and anger yet a band still able to keep their foot well and truly on the groove.
Check 'em out ...

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 7 April 2018

FERNANDO ~ FERNANDO ........ review

Let's not muck about with long introductions today, let's just get down to the nitty gritty and tell you that FernandoNelson Rodrigues - Guitar / Vocals, Pedro Simão - Bass and Filipe Diniz - Drums, are a three piece band from Caldas Da Rainha, Portugal who play raucous sludge/stoner grooves coated in a mixture of clean and throaty vocal melodies and have a self-titled album out now that you just must hear.

In trying to keep with the straightforward and to the point introduction to this review how does Desert Psychlist explain how damn good this album is without going overboard and getting all gushing and flowery? Well the truth is we can't as "Fernando" is one of the most immediate and joyous albums we have had the privilege of hearing so far this year. Let's start with the riffs, this band have riffs coming out of their pores, raucous riffs, complex riffs, riffs that go in one direction and reverse back on themselves, riffs that will send shivers up your spine, riffs that will have have your jaw hitting the floor. If, by now you've not already scrolled down to the link posted beneath this review then let us tell you about the mixture of complex and simple rhythms that sit beneath those riffs, infectious drum beats and thrumming bass grooves that are the driving force around which those aforementioned riffs (and solo's) are executed, a tsunami of shifting  rhythmic groove that swells and quells as the various dynamics of each song dictate. Still with us? Well then let's discuss the superb vocal melodies that decorate these grooves, clean vocal melodies that swing between melodic and throaty and counterbalance the raucousness of the songs riffs and grooves with their contrasting mellow approach.

Ok, so if you managed to get here without scrolling past all our slavering praise then I guess you deserve to finally hear what we consider to be one of this years finest debuts from a new and very exciting band.
 Check it out ...

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 6 April 2018


Venice, Italy that maze of canals linked by bridges was, during the middle-ages, once a major seat of power but is these days known more as tourist attraction for foreign travellers, however power can take many forms and there is a new power making its presence felt atop the wooden piles and limestone plates that hold the city above water and is one wielded by four musicians, Alberto Montagner (guitar), Max D'Ospina (bass/keyboards/vocals),Roberto "Mariuz" Mariuzzo (drums/vocals) and Massimo Battistella (guitar/keyboards), who go by the name Malota, that power is the power of the riff and it can be heard on the bands latest album "Kocmohabt".

Concept albums seem to be coming out on an almost daily basis lately and "Kocmohabt" is yet another one, this time though there is a touch of tongue in cheek black humour involved as the theme concerns a journey through the cosmos not on a spaceship, designed to go where no man has been before, but on drugs. Songs with titles like "Visa for the Universe", "You Drive Me Junkie" and "Dimethyheptylpyran and Space Alien Dolphins" are served up with a mixture of swaggering hard rock bluster, gritty stoner/sludge attitude and a mischievous twinkle in the eye. From the absolutely delightful "The Long Sleep, The Wake and The Warp", with it's totally addictive and hard not to sing-a-long to chorus, through to the speaker shredding heaviness of "Buprenorphinelessness" there is a sense of roads much travelled, a feeling that this is less a concept and more a collective acid trip documented in music. Musically the band do not put a foot out of place with the band utilising a mixture of crunching riffage, thundering rhythms and strong throaty vocals with which to decorate their grooves overlaying those grooves with a wash of  clever keyboard effects and synthesised textures to give their sound, and songs, an extra lysergic dimension and astral spaciousness..

Listening to "Kocmohabt" brings to mind Neo's dilemma in the Matrix, "You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.". Desert Psychlist suggests you take the red pill and let Malota show you their universe.
Check 'em out ...

© 2018 Frazer Jones