Sunday 27 May 2018


Ariving in a in a blaze of shimmering, flickering light the Pychedelic Spacelord extends his arm, ancient runes tattooed on parchment like skin barely visible beneath his long multi coloured sleeve as he beckons me to join him. Unable to resist I move forwards and in what seems like nanoseconds I am transported to a place far removed from my home world Earth, a place with the appearance of a long lava tube yet with a weird transparency that enables me to look onto and into the vast surrounding cosmos. "These are the paths between matter and dark matter where we the Spacelords of The Black Moon Circle walk" says the cowled figure, his back to me . Suddenly a darkly beautiful music fills the air , a music that seems to touch my very soul. The cowled figure slowly turns removing his cowl and with piercing eyes that look right through me say's "And this is our new album"

Black Moon Circle, a collective of like minded musical astronauts from Trondheim, Norway, have been pedalling their brand of psychedelic cosmic rock around Europe since their formation in 2014 and in that time have released a slew of swirling space themed and psychedelic drenched albums and EP's, the band return this year with a new opus entitled "Psychedelic Spacelord", and what an album it is.

Consisting of just one song "Psychedelic Spacelord" is nonetheless a diverse and exhilarating collection of grooves seamlessly stitched together in one long movement Those that might expecting the usual references to Hawkwind, that occur whenever anyone reviews anything that has a space connection, will have to look elsewhere as although their are places where the two bands meet musically those places are few and far between and Black Moon Circle are a much more complex and complicated animal. "Psychedelic Spacelord" shifts and shape changes its way over forty six plus minutes, moving from ambient tranquilty one minute to full on heavy metal bluster the next, touching on a myriad of other elements and dynamics along the way, utilising keys/synths, violins and some really nicely pitched vocals to expand its sound around a core of guitar, bass and drums, the whole coming together to create a sound that is as spectacular as it is mind blowing.

If  "Psychedelic Spacelord"  were to be described as a planet then it would have to be that jewel of the Galaxy Saturn, on the outside serene and blessed with unbelievable beauty yet beneath its surface  a maelstrom of turbulence and unpredictability.
Check it out....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 26 May 2018


Some avid Desert Psychlist readers may remember us reviewing an album entitled "Into the Dunes of Doom" released, last year, by Brazilian combo Gods & Punks, an intriguing collection of songs that blended elements of space and psych with those of a more stoner/hard rock flavour. Well the band are back with a brand new three song EP entitled "Ceremony of Damnation Pt. 1" the first instalment of what the band promises is an ongoing project.

"Ceremony of Damnation Pt.1" finds Gods & Punks shifting a little away from the desert fuelled doom roots of their previous release and moving towards a darker more complex musical dynamic, the band ramping up both the proggish and doomic aspects of their sound and experimenting with various levels of depth and texture. These levels reveal themselves almost immediately on the excellent opener "Welcome To The Ceremony", vocalist Alexandre imploring us, in helium pitched tones, to "step inside the tomb" and "worship the light or burn in fire" against a backdrop of grinding riffage, rumbling bass and pulverising percussion. Next track "Ground Zero" steps even closer to the edge of the abyss with a slow reverberating guitar intro that is then joined by the second guitar, the bass and the drums in a stone crumbling doomic groove that then subsides to allow the vocals to enter. The songs lyrics deal with a more personal themes like relationships and pain and the music reflects those themes in its undulating execution, brutal and heavy one moment mellower and more reflective the next. Final song "Blood Moon Sky" hits almost immediately into a raucous and fuzzed stoner refrain only pausing for the vocals before then taking off again. At just under the three quarter mark the song embarks on a enthralling ride through stoner and doom territories the band shifting back and forth between hard rock bluster and doomic devastation before finally finishing with a quick sprint over water, a Dick Dale type surf guitar motif taking things to the close.

Dark themes make for dark music and Gods & Punks are most definitely exploring a side of themselves they have not visited musically before on "Ceremony of Damnation Pt.1", whether this is a direction they want to pursue with subsequent releases only time will tell but until we find out lets enjoy their pain
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 25 May 2018


When, Portland , Oregon's Witch Mountain, released their 2014 album "Mobile of Angel's" it came as a bit of a bitter/sweet pill, the joy associated with the release of an album from a band, who at the time were on every underground rock/doom fan's lips , was counterbalanced by the news that it would be their last with their charismatic and highly talented vocalist Uta Plotkin. Rumours that the band were auditioning new singers and bassists soon came trickling through the grapevine but it was a few months before founding members Rob Wrong (guitars) and Nathan Carson (percussion) announced the arrival into their rocky coven of Justin Brown (bass) and Kayla Dixon (vocals). Not wishing to head straight into the studio just to make a statement that Witch Mountain had reconvened as a band Wong and Carson decided to bed Dixon and Brown in by heading out on tour thus allowing not only the new members the time to adjust to their new surroundings but also the fans to appreciate and accept the new dynamics the two new recruits were about to bring to the table. Desert Psychlist is not too sure if that period of transition was planned to take almost three years but that is how it worked out and now finally, with the release of "Witch Mountain" (Svart Records), we have something tangible we can at last drool and slaver over and spin to our hearts content.

There will be those of us, Desert Psychlist included, who will always have a fondness and high regard for Uta Plotkin period Witch Mountain but Uta has moved on to new pastures and it would be rude, and also a little lazy, for Desert Psychlist to fill this review with comparisons between her and new vocalist Kayla and therefore lets not do that, instead let us concentrate on the dynamics and shades the superbly talented new vocalist brings to Witch Mountain and this their new album.
Kayla Dixon is a phenomenally adept and versatile vocalist who can, in the blink of an eye, shift from soulful chanteuse to venom spitting demoness while also having the ammunition in her vocal arsenal to switch, just as easily, from ethereal whisper to bluesy howl. Dixon screams, growls, howls and croons over a mixture of diverse and varied doomic backdrops, superbly provided for her by Wrong's thick downtuned riffs and scorching solo's, Carson's mix of intricate and punishing rhythms  and Brown's grumbling, booming bass lines, bringing a soulful and emotional edge to songs like "Midnight", "Mechanical World" (a Spirit cover) and "Burn You Down" yet able to suddenly drag them down in to the abyss with a guttural growl and anguished scream. On the wonderfully paced "Hellfire" she even gets to bring an element of gospel(ish) jazziness to proceedings, her voice soaring majestically over gentle guitar arpeggios and piano accompaniment. It is on the epic closer "Nighthawk" however that Witch Mountain's new line up really show their mettle, a slow building opus that not only highlights Dixon's amazing vocal range but also gives new bassist Brown the chance to shine, his earthy, big booming bass not only introducing the song but also at the root of the songs gradually increasing dynamic. This is Witch Mountain at their finest, bluesy, soulful and laying down thick slabs of atmospheric, cloying doom, the band building the song layer upon glorious layer until suddenly exploding into a wonderful, mind-blowing hybrid of grimy blackened doom and gnarled extreme metal.

The fact that the band have simply called their new opus "Witch Mountain" speaks volumes and tells us in two words that this is the beginning of a new chapter in Witch Mountain's story, it is the band's way of saying let's not forget our history and what previous members contributed to that history but let's start anew, this is our fresh start, our "ground zero"
Check it out …..

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday 21 May 2018

EYE ~ OUT OF BODY ......... review

Faced with no information on a band's personnel, instrumentation or past history what is the humble reviewer/blogger to do? Well one option would be to make up something epic like this is a band whose members are the offspring of a coupling between men and Russian she-wolves and their instruments are made from the bones and guts of prey animals, or maybe we could say that they were political prisoners who formed a band while imprisoned in a Russian gulag/labour camp and after a daring escape are now  making music in the underground sewers of their home city. Trouble with that option is that there is a good chance the band in question will read this and Desert Psychlist will be looking down the wrong end of a law suit. The other option is just to tell it how it is and confess that Desert Psychlist knows nothing of this band other than they play exhilarating psychedelic stoner doom, that their name is EYE, they come from Murmansk, Russia and that they have an absolutely killer album now residing over on Bandcamp entitled "Out Of Body"

Droning effects and feedback introduce first track "Transformation" before things settle down and the band fall into a heavily psyched swirling doomic groove, which reveals something else about EYE that we didn't touch on in our intro piece, and that is they contain among their numbers a truly impressive vocalist. Strong of voice and with a slightly stilted, almost Germanic delivery she (for it is a she) battles hard to be heard over a huge wall of guitar fuelled fuzz and distortion, growling bass and thunderous percussion yet she succeeds magnificently and in doing so takes everything to another level. This level is maintained and at times exceeded as the band follow up "Transformation" with four more songs of swirling, swooping lysergic stonerized doom, the band adding eastern hues to "Out of Body", utilising male/female harmonised mantras,dual lead and traded vocals on the excellent "Moment Balans", going full on stoner on "Smoke Weed" then finishing in a blaze of gothic tinted doomic splendour with the spine-tingling and atmospheric "Circle of Suffering".

Heady, trippy, tinted in gothic hues and with an undercurrent of menace and brutality "Out of Body" is an album that mesmerises, mystifies and pummels all at the same time and if  EYE continue on their current path it may not be too long before we may actually find out who they are and what instruments they play.
Check 'em out …..

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 19 May 2018


Those of advanced years may remember a little combo going by the name of Curved Air, if you are in fact too young to recall them Curved Air were (and occasionally still are) a prog rock/folk hybrid fronted by a stunning vocalist named Sonja Kristina. Although Curved Air never really set the music world alight they did manage to garner a hit single in the shape of "Back Street Luv" (1971) which reached a quite respectable #4 in the UK singles charts. Now you may be wondering why Desert Psychlist is mentioning a 70's cult band in a review concerning a Swedish band formed in 2014, well the answer is simple Spiral Skies have picked up Curved Air's prog/folk baton and are currently running your way with it and if your not convinced then give their latest album "Blues For a Dying Planet" (AOP Records) a listen..

Desert Psychlist doesn't know whether Eric (bass), Daniel (drums), Jonas (guitar), Dan (guitar) and Frida (vocals) used Curved Air's mix of prog complexity and folkish whimsey as the blueprint for their sound or if they are even aware of their British counterparts existence but it is hard, if you've heard both bands, not to make a comparison. If ,however, you are coming to this review with no prior knowledge of Curved Air, or for that fact Spiral Skies, then your in for a treat on both scores.
Let's begin with the voice up front and centre stage of Spiral Skies sonic attack, a voice that carries with it imagery of floral dresses and straw hats yet is supported by a musical backdrop that screams black leather and spandex. Frida's vocals soar and swoop over the intricate and complex grooves executed beneath them yet you could not describe her vocals as ethereal or waif like, her strong powerful voice possessing a folky grittiness that is perfectly in tune with the retro(ish) grooves they decorate. Those grooves come at you from a good number of directions with stoner rock, hard rock and their well dressed cousin classic rock all represented here in one form or another, but it is that mix of prog and folk which is the overriding factor that pulls them all together. Jonas and Dan's guitars weave an intricate web of scorching Celtic flavoured solo's and harmonies, chunky powerchords and delicate arpeggios in and around Frida's vocals while underneath Eric and Daniel keep things grounded and on point with big growling bass and solid but flexible percussion, all five members combining to create a truly glorious, if not totally original, cacophony.

If the words Sweden, Celtic, harmonies and retro have not already got you reaching for the buy button for "Blues For A Dying Planet" then consider these words instead AWESOME, SUPERB and ESSENTIAL
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 18 May 2018


Bass guitars, those cumbersome and heavy instruments that hold down a songs bottom end and are usually wielded by musicians with severe back problems, usually range from those of the four string variety up to those of eight, Thought Eater's bassist, Darin Tambascio, however prefers to make things a touch more complicated for himself by opting for a bass with no less than twelve strings. It is the sound of this unusual instrument combined with the sonic texturing of Douglas Griffith's guitar and the complex and powerful drumming of Bobby Murray that makes Thought Eater's new release "Bones in the Fire" (Grimoire Records) such a mouth-watering prospect.

Well let us get one thing out of the way first, "Bones in the Fire" is an instrumental album, now if instrumental music is not your thing then you may want to stop reading now but if you do then you are likely to miss out on some truly inspirational jams shot through with rich veins of post-metal and prog-metal texturing. To be honest there is not a lot NOT to enjoy about the six songs Thought Eater present us with here, the bands blend of complexity and good old metallic bluster is as intoxicating as it is breath-taking and in places recalls the metallic edge UK  proggers King Crimson brought to us with their iconic opus "Red". From the heavily fuzzed first notes of opener "Bones in the Fire (Part1)" to the serene acoustics and string effects of closer "Umwelt" the band do not miss a chance to impress and astound, shifting grooves like some shift their stance, throwing in a complex jazz progression here a brutal riff  there and doing so without once losing sight of each songs core elements, blending structure and chaos together in a blazes of instrumental magnificence.

Hopefully you of the anti-instrumental brigade ignored Desert Psychlist's suggestion earlier to stop reading and stuck with this review of Thought Eater's "Bones in the Fire", wondering what all the fuss is about and intrigued to hear what a twelve string bass sounds like.. well now is the time to find out.
Check it out .....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday 17 May 2018


Sometimes you need to live with an album before reviewing it, taking time to really appreciate its finer points, its nuances, shades and colours, really allowing it to sink into your psyche, to the point where you almost feel part of the music you are listening to. That is how it was ( and still is) with La Iglesia Atomica's latest release "Gran Muro de Coma" and why you the reader have had to wait until now to read Desert Psychlist's thoughts on it.

"Gran Muro de Coma" is a conceptual piece based around the continuing flight through the vast expanse of space of NASA's Voyager 1 delivered in three movements of exhilarating psychedelic rock. The first of these movements "Viajero" (English translation: The Wanderer) begins with a sample of  Voyager 1's launch countdown amidst a swirling backdrop of screeching dissonant guitar effects which is slowly joined by the bass and drums in a revolving and evolving hard rock/psych groove. The band continue along this path ,evoking in musical imagery Voyager 1's spinning trajectory out of Earth's orbit, until slowly shifting down the gears and moving into a more sedate and lysergic groove. Here is where things get really interesting with shards of splintered chordal guitar colouring chiming ,chirping and screaming over backdrops of liquid bass, intricate percussive patterns and textured keyboards, the band creating a swirling, swooping soundscape that places the listener in the driving seat of a craft that has no drivers seat. "Nube de Oort" (English translation: Oort Cloud) visualises in music Voyager 1's journey through that halo of icy objects, thought to be the source of many of the universes comets. There is a chaotic element to the grooves found here, an element of menace and danger befitting of the environments the music tries to portray, moments also of tranquillity and serenity that balance and buffer the songs intensity and insanity."Hijo del Sol" (English translation: Son of the Sun) closes the album and depicts in sound Voyager 1 coming face to face with the Great Wall of Coma, the supercluster of galaxies at the edges of our own galaxy, and presenting itself as an ambassador of our home star, our Sun. As you would expect from a track that depicts such an iconic event there is grandiosity and epic quality to the grooves to be found here, triumph, awe, confusion and apprehension are all portrayed in a series of shifting grooves that stretch from brutal to serene to funky all of which are executed with an astonishing level of musical vision and breath-taking musicianship.

"Gran Muro de Coma" is an astonishing album put together by a band who have, like the space craft in this album, travelled a long, long way to get where they are today. So was it worth all the heartbreak and tears, breakups and reformations that La Iglesia Atomica have been through in their twenty year life span? Well on the evidence of this album the answer to that has to be a resounding YES!
Check it out .... 

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 16 May 2018


Controversial themes combined with questionable artwork maybe the reasoning behind Ukrainian groovsters Electric Pussy preferring to keep a low profile and releasing very little information on their instrumentation or personnel . One thing we can tell you though is that the band have just recently released a very interesting and totally schizophrenic album entitled "Heroin"

"Satan" kicks things off with discordant heavily fuzzed guitar crunching out thick reverberating chords that circling menacingly in the air,  chords and riffs that carry the groove for a full four minutes before being joined by sparse but solid percussion Vocals then enter the fray and those that might be expecting something a little feral and growly are in for a surprise because we are faced here instead by a vocal almost devoid of tone, monotone weary mumbles that at first are a little disarming and just damn weird but after a while seems apt and fitting for the grooves they are surrounded by. Electric Pussy are nothing if not brave and they demonstrate this courage by tackling one of heavy rock's most iconic anthems next in the shape of Led Zeppelin/Jack Holmes' "Dazed and Confused", the band staying pretty close to the original but adding in their own little dissonant twists and turns along the way as well as replanting Robert Plant's original bluesy howls with those aforementioned monotone mumbles, it's a little weird , a little wacky but strangely it works. Title track "Heroin" follows and continues on a similar Zeppelin-esque path, the band laying down a heavy circular bluesy groove decorated with swirling lead colouring and of course those highly distinctive vocals. Final track "Last Trip" finds the band heading off into psychedelic territories with swirling guitar solo's swooping and swirling around each other, mixing textures and colours in a kaleidoscope of dissonant groove over a backdrop of solid steady percussion, it's breathtaking stuff that breaks all the known rules and a few that a haven't even been made yet.

"Heroin" is one of those albums that is likely to split opinion within underground rock community, there will be those that love it's uncompromising ugliness, its discordant noisiness and its left of centre weirdness and there will be those that hate every second of it, finding it loose, sloppy, chaotic and unlistenable. The truth, in Desert Psychlist's opinion, is that "Heroin" is all these things and more and that is why this album is so enjoyable, frustrating and brilliant all at the same time.
Check it out .....

© 2018 Frazer jones

Saturday 12 May 2018


The definition of a riff according to the Oxford Dictionary is ..."a short repeated phrase in popular music and jazz, typically used as an introduction or refrain in a song". That definition, although correct, seems a little dismissive and throwaway for something that is more or less been the heartbeat of every rock, blues and pop song ever recorded. No genres of music have been more reliant on "the riff" than those at the more heavier end of the rock spectrum, especially those bands working within the metal, doom, stoner and hard rock arenas where the power of the riffs are almost as important as the songs they reside in.
Edmonton, Alberta trio Highbernation, MJ (drums), MR (guitar/vocals) and RG (bass) may prefer to hide their identities by using just initials but they certainly know a thing or two about laying down a riff having filled their debut release "Highbernation" with a ton of them.

Highbernation refer to their particular sonic groove as "reefer fuelled doom metal", stating their influences as stemming from such stoner doom luminaries as Sleep and Electric Wizard. It is not hard to hear elements from both those influences mentioned manifesting themselves within the three songs the band present here but this is not to say Highbernation are copyists. Highbernation are a band who like to riff, a band who believe if a riff is good enough then it doesn't matter if it consists of two notes or ten they are going to play it until fingers bleed and  muscles disintegrate and in this respect their are similarities but where Highbernation differ from their contemporaries is in the subtle psychedelic nuances they scatter around their mix of slow to mid paced riffage. Those nuances and lysergic hues present themselves both in MR's vocal execution and his occasional (and here we DO mean occasional) lysergic guitar solos, his strong, slightly gothic vocal tones, delivered with a hint of reverb, giving first two songs "Uncle Indica" and "Motherfuzzer" an almost ethereal feel despite the heaviness brought to the table by RG's monsterous bass lines and MJ's thundering percussion. On final track "Wasted Faith" the band allow us a peak at another side of them, the trio hitting into a groove that is just a little less stonerized and a lot more doomic and one that sees MR tailor his vocals accordingly, losing the reverb that gave his voice its ethereal quality and adopting a more traditional doomic tone. The songs ten minute plus span also allows the band to experiment a little, throwing a brief but delightfully executed lysergic section into the mix as well as some Sabbath-esque time shifts and tempo changes.

"Highbernation" shows a band who although may not be quite the finished article yet (there are a tad too many rough edges for that) nonetheless exhibit a high level of potential and promise for the future, a band worth keeping our eye on.
Check it out ..... 

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday 7 May 2018


It's with a certain amount of shame and embarrassment that Desert Psychlist has to admit that although championing Somerset, UK's Sergeant Thunderhoof since first hearing their 2014 debut "Zigurat" we have somehow never actually reviewed one of their albums. Thankfully we now have the chance to remedy this oversight thanks to the release of their third full length album "Terra Solus" (releases May 12 2018)

"Another Plane" opens "Terra Solus" and begins with drummer Darren Ashman laying down shimmering percussion around a pulsing bass drum beat accompanied by an eerie drone effect before the hammer goes down and he is joined by Mark Sayer's guitar and Jim Camp's bass in a monstrous chugging hard rock groove. Enter vocalist Dan Flitcroft telling in strong, slightly grizzled tones of "blistered hands" and "cosmic winds" his clean powerful voice and occasional impassioned howl adding an extra level of gravitas to the songs themes of desperation and resignation". "Stella Gate Drive" follows and sees the band hitting into a pelvis thrusting, chest beating hard rock groove touched up with a little glam/sleaze rock'n'roll swagger. Sergeant Thunderhoof ease off the throttle slightly for their next track "The Tree and the Serpent" a song that blends psychedelic colouring and soulful indie rock texturing around a clean, superbly executed vocal melody. This lysergic vibe is carried on into following track "B Oscillation" an instrumental that sees Sayer,Camp and Ashman adding a little rock funkiness to the equation with Sayer's guitar, not so much soaring over Camp's growling bass and Ashman's wall of percussion, but more weaving in and out of them in a myriad of six-string colouring. "Diesel Breath" uses the lyric "take your foot off the gas let's take it slow" but in truth for the majority of the song the band do anything but, coming out of the traps on a raucous wave of heavily fuzzed riffage and insistent rhythms with Flitcroft mixing his vocal attack between clean melodic and grainy rock roar. At around the three quarter mark the groove segues into lysergic territory with Sayer layering shimmering psychedelic hues over and around Camp and Ashman's sympathetic rhythms before the songs initial raucousness returns and takes things to the close. "Priestess of Misery" is up next an atmospheric torch-like opus that soars and swoops on a sea of gnarly doomic riffage and pummelling percussion, Sayer, Camp and Ashman combining to create a dark swirling bedrock of emotive and powerful groove for Flitcroft to decorate with his strong and distinctive vocal tones. "Half A Man" brings things down a notch or two and is a beautiful folk tinted ballad that finds Flitcroft crooning melancholic and melodic over a gentle backdrop of acoustic colouring. The band close proceedings with "Om Shaantih" a song that is part devotional, part lysergic and wholly stunning, a song that blends eastern themes and motifs with those of a more western nature without once compromising on groove, a song that that says, in a shower of bright psychedelic hues, that there is nothing this band can't attempt and there is nothing they can't pull off.

Class is the first syllable of the word "classic" and classic is the first word of the term "classic rock" and what Sergeant Thunderhoof deliver with "Terra Solus" is some damn fine class classic rock. Desert Psychlist supposes there will be those who find the term "classic rock" a touch derogatory for a band who many consider as being an underground hard/stoner rock band but we are using the term not as a genre description but as an observation of the quality of musicianship and songwriting to be found within the grooves of Sergeant Thunderhoof's latest offering and in that respect "Terra Solus" can truly be described as "classic"
Check it out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 5 May 2018


Desert AltarPiper Neddenien (vocals), Michael Potts (guitar), Zach Snowden (guitar), Ed Fiero (bass) and Mike Arjona (drums), a doomic five piece with occult rock leanings from Richmond, Virginia, state their intentions as wanting to "make America riff again". Well if the bands first, self titled, album. "Desert Altar" is anything to go by then they are off to a great start.

Richmond, Virginia may not be known for its deserts but that hasn't stopped Richmond residents Desert Altar from peppering their songs with references to those hard, unforgiving expanses nor, in fact, from using the word "desert" in their name. It has to be said however that apart from their name and those scattered references "Desert Altar" is an album that conjures up images of mist shrouded castles and dark looming mountains rather than rolling dunes and endless vistas, the music and lyrics contained within its grooves having a very doomic, occult quality. Desert Psychlist was trying hard not to make comparisons with other bands from a similar sound spectrum in this review but elements of Blood Ceremony's occult/horror scores and The Devil's Blood's satanic grooves all make their presence felt here. Piper Neddenian sings songs of loss, longing and old magic across backdrops of thrumming dark riffage and thundering rhythm, her strong, clean and clear tones not so much soaring above the dark cacophony beneath them as floating majestically atop it. Neddenian's soulful vocal outpourings are superbly supported throughout the album by a band of tight and highly skilled musicians with Fiero's bass and Arjona's drums supplying the meat and potatoes of rhythm and groove that drive each song while guitarists Potts and Snowden supply the seasonings and spices that decorate them.

"Desert Altar" is a stunning debut from a band who are just starting to climb the ladder and if this a snapshot of what is to come it will not be long before these guys are sitting at the top table with their contemporaries Blood Ceremony, Kroh and Devil Electric who work in a similar doom/occult rock arena.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Friday 4 May 2018


Some music was just made for listening to in a warm weather environment and "Seismic Vibes", the latest release from Brooklyn trio Sun Voyager, is the perfect soundtrack for long hot days spent beneath cloudless blue skies.

Ok Sun Voyager may have not set out with the intention of making a feel good summer album with "Seismic Vibes", especially as they pepper the album with songs with titles such as "Caves of Steel", "Stellar Winds" and "God Is Dead", but intentional or not that's how this album comes across. Even stranger is the fact that the warm weather vibe is not exactly reflected in the music, the band's musical attack is insistent and heavy (though not brutal) and is most definitely pitched at the more raucous end of the psychedelic spectrum. So what it is it about this release that makes you start thinking of putting on light clothing and taking a stroll in the warmth of the sun? Well it's all about the vocals, there is something totally smile inducing and life affirming about the hazy melodies and harmonies that are executed throughout "Seismic Vibe" that, when combined with the little twists of keyboard colouring and texturing throw in here and there, just seems to scream warmth and sunshine. Even when Sun Voyager are getting down low and slow on a doomic groove like "Psychic Lord" there is still that feeling that the clouds will part and the sun will come shining through despite all the dark gnarled riffage and pummelling rhythms the band throw at the song.

Sun Voyager's "Seismic Vibes" is this years feelgood hit of the summer, albeit a very gnarled and heavy one, they may not have meant it to be but what you intend and what you end up with are not always the same thing.
Check it out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday 3 May 2018


Teenagers eh, surly mini adults with loads of attitude and enormous chips on their shoulders thinking the world owes them a living and demanding attention when they haven't actually done anything! Well that's the usual view of our next generation but Desert Psychlist has discovered three such adolescents from Denver, Colarado who are actively doing something and doing it damn well!
White Dwarf are a three piece stoner/psych/doom band comprised of Issak Rhynes (guitar/vocals), Vaughn Morrison (drums) and Emilio Eslinger (bass) who, although barely old enough to shave, have just released an album titled "Through The Haze", an album that can give some of the scenes older, more wizened veterans more than a run for their money.

"Through The Haze" begins its journey into our hearts and minds with "The Witch" it's ominous and atmospheric intro of reverberating guitar, droning bass and occasional percussion slowly building in intensity and volume until reaching the point of no return and exploding into a rich and thick doomic refrain. Guitarist/vocalist Rhynes adds to this onslaught of groove raw. slightly strained vocal colouring screaming "You don't deserve what's been given to you" and "I can't wait to see you die" with a voice filled with a gravitas and maturity way beyond its years. Things take a dramatic left turn at around the songs halfway mark and the listener is suddenly thrown into a whirlpool of swirling doomic psych that finds Rhynes  taking things to the close, utilising every effect and trick at his disposal, in a dazzling display of six-string pyrotechnics underneath which Eslinger and Morrison attempt to keep things grounded with booming liquid bass lines and tumultuous percussion. "High Mountain" follows and  finds the band heading down a more traditional stoner doom path with Morrison laying down a backbeat of  deliberate and heavy pounding percussion around which Eslinger weaves low growling bass.  As well as filling every available space with crunching chords and swirling psychedelic solo's Rhynes here tailors his voice with a certain amount of echo giving the song an almost ethereal vibe much befitting its lyrical theme. Eslinger introduces next track "The Devil's Rejects" with some stunning bass work over which Rhynes adds touches of fractured guitar texturing with Morrison sitting just underneath complimenting the two guitarists with shimmering and restrained rhythmic accompaniment. The song slowly picks up pace but this time the band hold back from unleashing their full fury preferring instead to keep things low key and on one level something which is also reflected in Rhynes vocal, the guitarist/vocalist opting for a cleaner less aggressive tone to tell his story. "The Colossus" brings "Through The Haze" to a close with a song that although not obviously so, given its initial weighty doomic groove and mantra-like a vocals, is most definitely rooted in the blues, not convinced ...then just check out Rhynes scorching blues drenched solo in the final quarter played over Eslinger's walking bass line and Morrison's rock steady backbeat for proof.

Kids eh you take your eyes off 'em for five minutes and...... they make an album of stonkin' tunes you just can't ignore and need to listen to over and over again....little buggers!
,Check 'em out ....

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 2 May 2018


The villagers are massing outside Stonerking Towers, the home of Desert Psychlist, with torches in hand and a mixture of fury and fear etched across their faces, emboldened by the presence of a cowled priest who shouts of blasphemy and sacrilege, the maddened crowd try to storm the towers ornate heavy wooden doors, hoping to somehow put an end to the dark satanic sounds spewing forth from the towers uppermost floors..... well not exactly. The truth is its nine thirty in the morning and the Psychlist has, for the third time, spun Californian trio Vitreous Earth's excellent debut release "Passing Visions" and an irate neighbour has had enough and has started banging on the wall.

"Passing Visions" may not be the album Desert Psychlist's soul/dance loving neighbour is about to rush out and purchase anytime soon but for those of us with a darker more underground metal bias Vitreous Earth's new release may well be considered manna from heaven (or hell for that matter). From the didgeridoo like guitar effect that opens first track "Smoke Serpent" to the sudden full stop that closes "Witch's Hole" the listener is treated to unrelenting waves of dark, disturbing but totally engrossing stonerized metal and blackened grunge. Miguel Rodriguez's earthshaking growling bass lines, supported by Travis Wall's thunderous percussion, shift the grooves on songs like "Lion's Den", "Resin Kiss" and "Thirst" between the frantic and the low and slow without missing a beat or a note, their rhythmic telepathy allowing guitarist/vocalist Eric Reichert the freedom to express himself with a mixture of neo-classical noodling, bluesy shredding and good old fashioned metal crunch throughout, filling the spaces between his solo's and riffs with big, slightly cracked and raw vocals. This is never more effective than on the atmospheric and Nirvana-esque "Sincerely" a song that puts a metallic twist on the old quiet/loud/quiet grunge aesthetic and is, for Desert Psychlist ,the highlight of an album full of highlights.

Put "Passing Visions" on your favourite mode of listening turn it up loud and sit back and bask in its dark subterranean glory but remember keep one eye on that window there just may be a priest out there with a baying mob at his back heading in your direction. You've been warned!
Check it out .....
  © 2018 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 1 May 2018


Let's get things clear from the start and tell you that "Ripples of the Mind" is a compilation album and that The Ripple Family are not actually a band, well that last piece is not entirely true as The Ripple Family are a band but not in the traditional  musical sense of the word. To explain this Desert Psychlist needs to tell you a little about the label behind this compilation and how this release came into being.
Todd Severin, main man/head honcho at Ripple Music is a man who cares about music and in particular hard rock but he is also a bit of rare commodity in the music biz because Todd not only cares about the bands and musicians that make the music he loves but he also cares about those that buy it. In fact with Ripple's excellent subscription service, Todd has made it easier and cheaper for fans/followers to afford everything Ripple releases, and they release a lot. Alongside his work with the label Todd has also made it part of his remit to have a connection with his customers/followers via the labels excellent blogspot  "The Ripple Effect" and Facebook forum "Waveriders Unite", it was a post on this last one that started the whole "Ripples of the Mind" ball rolling. When it was suggested to Todd that he should compile a release comprised of the more lysergic orientated songs from the labels roster of artists he didn't scroll past or dismiss the suggestion with a flippant comment, no he turned the whole thing back around and asked the "Waveriders" to choose what should go on the compilation and that he would then release the results.
So here it is a stunning collection of psychedelic performances, lysergic laments and tripped out tunes chosen by a "band" of like minded brothers and sisters and performed by a "band" of  Ripple artists.

Here's just a sample of what to expect from "Ripples of the Mind".....

© 2018 Frazer Jones