Friday 31 August 2018


Poland has sort of got itself a reputation for turning out some of the nastiest, dankest and darkest stoner doom and metal music known to grace the underground scene with bands like Dopelord, Shine, Bitchcraft and Sunnata all garnering huge interest both inside and outside of their native home. But what of those bands working in the less abrasive fields of the Polish underground, in the genres of stoner, desert and hard rock? Well thanks to the magic of social media and the wonders of Messaging and E-mail Desert Psychlist was recently informed of one such band that fits that bill perfectly.
Men of the Wild Age are a five piece quintet inspired by the likes of Kyuss, 1000mods and Fu Manchu  hailing from Warsaw. The band, consisting of Artur Dziułko (guitar). Witold Wrótniak (guitar), Przemysław Hampelski (drums), Dominik Karwowski (bass) and Wojciech Karpowicz (vocals), released their debut EP "The Road" back in 2017 but have only just recently posted it on Bandcamp's hallowed pages which is just about reason enough to give it a somewhat belated  review today.

Men of the Wild Age very much set their stall out from the very first note of first track "Flashback", the songs dirty sounding fuzz driven guitar riff immediately drawing comparisons with the likes of Dozer, Fu Manchu and of course Kyuss, however Karpowicz's accented vocals add an interesting  and intriguing twist to the  proceedings. Karpowicz's accent, although obviously Polish, has a clipped almost Teutonic tone that adds rather than detracts from their overall appeal and gives each song an unexpected yet totally effective edge. After "Flashback" the band speed through three more desert flecked grooves with "Born Ready" the pick of the bunch, a feisty number pushed hard by Hampelski's solid percussion and Karwowski's grumbling bass and taken to another level by Dziułko and Wrótniak's guitar work, swathes of crunching fuzz and pinched harmonics popping and fizzing behind Karpowicz distinctive vocals. However it is final track "Wretched" that really takes the breath away, the band taking things down a notch or two and hitting into a slower, lower doomic groove interspersed with swirling duelling guitar solo's and hugely effective hooks and motifs over which Karpowicz executes his best vocal of the EP.

There is nothing glaringly new or ground-breaking about what Men of the Wild Age bring to the desert altar with "The Road" but what they do bring is highly effective, well executed and damn,damn enjoyable.
Check it out …

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 28 August 2018


It is always nice to review an album from a UK band, and even nicer when that album comes from a band based in your place of birth. Orbital JunctionOwen Armstrong (vox), Ric Fordyce (guitar), Billy Dale (bass) and Jack Revans (drums), are a London based band with a sound they say is "steeped in beer" and is a "healthy slab of fuzz filled stoner rock", So let's grab a beer and jump into the fuzz and see if the bands debut EP "Orbital Junction" is all they claim it is. (Releases 01/09/2018)

Orbital Junction's sonic attack is one that is big, meaty and drenched in fuzz but let's be honest that is a description that could be levelled at a thousand and one bands who are currently working the underground rock scene, what we really need from this London quartet is something that makes them stand out from the maddening crowd and gives them an edge. Orbital Junction have that something and it comes in the form of one Owen Armstrong, a man with a huge bear of a voice, his big beefy melodic growl giving songs with titles like "6ft2" and "Gypsy Queen" an extra sprinkling of stoner pizazz and bluesy gravitas. No man is an island however and when that voice is further enhanced with Ric Fordyce's choppy, crunching fuzz drenched powerchords and scorching lead work, Billy Dale's grizzled bass lines and Jack Revan's  punchy, punishing percussion  that edge, spoke of previously, becomes so honed and sharp you could almost shave with it.

"Orbital Junction" crosses off three of Desert Psychlist's favourite B's "Big, Beefy and British" and is a delightfully raucous collection of rompin',stompin' stonerized hard rock that will leave a smile on your face so wide it could well be considered dangerous.
Check it out ……

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday 27 August 2018


Spirit Division bassist/vocalist Chris Latta is not only a musician but also a seasoned and well respected writer/reviewer of all things metal shaped at Indy Metal Vault, something that makes reviewing his bands latest offering a daunting yet enjoyable task for Desert Psychlist.
Latta, along with guitarist/vocalist Andy Bowerman and drummer Jace Epple, have been pounding the stages of their native Indianapolis, and further afield, since their formation in 2013 and in that time have released two well received  albums in the shape of 2015's "Spirit Division" and 2016's "No Rapture". The band have been busy having lives and following their own projects of late but have reconvened this year to present us with their latest collection of psych laced doomic tomes "Forgotten Planet".(Releases 31st August 2018)

Spirit Division pride themselves as being more from the school of "classic doom" than the gnarly, demonic version of the genre that has become the norm over recent years, the band jamming a groove that has more in common with Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus than it does with say Thou or Conan. This is not to say that Spirit Division do not infuse into their dark, dank grooves elements of a more extreme nature just that they tend to lean towards a more traditional doomic sound ,albeit laced with a healthy sprinkling of lysergic flavouring. This lysergic element becomes evident right from the get go with the albums title track hitting a Floydian groove that in places nods its head towards Waters & co's much lauded instrumental (from "Meddle"), "One Of These Days" and it is this psychedelic colouring and textured layering, blended with the bands penchant for old school doomic bluster, that informs most of "Forgotten Planet's" nine songs. Bowerman's swirling, swooping guitar solo's and crunching riffs weave themselves around Latta's deep throbbing basslines and Epples busy mix of thunderous and intricate percussion and combine with the distinctive mix of lead and harmonised vocals to take songs like "Seeking The Crow Witch" and "King of Scars" into the darkest depths of doomic splendour. Spirit Division however are not just all about "the doom" and they prove this by occasionally veering off into unexpected  territories most notable of which are the off-kilter alt-rocker "Behemoth", and the lounge like jazzy doom of "Half Hearted". The band also pay tribute to their heroes by throwing in a nicely executed version of Black Sabbath's "Solitude" giving it a spacy folkish spin that sits nicely on the ears.

If you come to Spirit Division's "Forgotten Planet" expecting another "No Rapture" there is a good chance you may come away a little shell shocked and confused, however you will not be disappointed. Latta, Bowerman and Epple are taking classic doom into places it has never been before, places that might seem a little uncomfortable for the blinkered doom purist but being stoic, determined  and brave these guys are taking it there anyway, and more power to them for doing that.
Check it out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

            Big thanks to Leanne Ridgeway at Mettle Media PR for providing the promo.

Sunday 26 August 2018


The Ortiz brothers, Jim (guitar/vocals),Chris (drums) and Gian (bass/vocals), like their heroes Motorhead, play rock'n'roll and like Lemmy's legendary combo they play it raw and they play it LOUD!
Amplified Heat are a band who have often been the bridesmaids and never the bride, the Texan trio have shared stages with such iconic names as Clutch, Atomic Bitchwax, Blue Cheer and Kadavar yet have never quite made that next step up despite releasing a steady stream of dynamic sounding albums, however this could all change with the release of the band's latest  album "Madera"

It could be argued that one reason Amplified Heat have not yet ascended to the upper echelons of the underground rock scene is their refusal to polish or water down their grooves for mass consumption, the Otiz brothers preferring, in their words, to "never pull their punches" and to "deliver the real deal". This "real deal", the brothers refer to, is a raw, uncompromising version of the blues delivered through a backline of Marshall and Fender amps and driven by the beats applied to the stretched skins of  a 1966 Ludwig drum kit, the band jamming a groove that harks back to the heavier blues rock of bands like Cream, Jimi Hendrix's Experience and Led Zeppelin but executed with the feral power of Motorhead. Crunching, heavily distorted guitar riffs, growling grizzled bass lines and unrelenting percussion overlaid with big, gritty powerful vocals decorate each and every one of "Madera's" songs yet the band manage to avoid just creating monotone walls of  brutal noise by adding into songs with titles like, "Madamoiselle", "Evil Eye" and "Without Love", vibrant swirling bluesy psych colouring and classic/hard rock texturing as well as a modicum of  jerky, twitching, off kilter quirkiness, the band rolling out their rock and allowing that rock to roll in a myriad of differing directions.

 Amplified Heat's unwavering stance and determined attitude comes over strong and loud throughout "Madera's" eight songs and speaks volumes about the integrity and passion with which the band approach their music, the band telling their listeners in no uncertain terms that this is what we do and if you don't dig it then get off the bus.
Check 'em out …..

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 25 August 2018


Who are Crystal Warlock? Well that is a question we, at Desert Psychlist, have been struggling to find out as the band have no social media presence anywhere other than on the Bandcamp page promoting their EP "Gamma Trip", and believe us we have checked. But what does things like personnel or instrumentation really matter, at the end of the day all that we are really interested in is the grooves and Crystal Warlock have those in abundance

Crystal Warlock's grooves, although having a proto-doomic bent, come from a far more sedate and considered place than the usual Sabbathesque attack we tend to associate with this style of music. It's all there, the crunching chords, swirling solo's, growling bass and thunderous rhythms but like their Virginian contemporaries, Brimstone Coven, Crystal Warlock temper their raucousness and growl with vocals of a more melodic nature that, combined with their tendency to ease off the throttle and take off on lysergic tangents, takes their sound into the realms of "classic rock". First track "Vacant Moon" is a prime example of this blend of grunt and gravitas and sees the band jamming a groove that utilises everything from Thin Lizzy(ish) Celtic tinted guitar harmonies to choppy stoner rock power chords all coated in vocals that although not especially strong are easy on the ear and totally in keeping with the bands overall sonic impact. "Sun Collapse" follows in much the same vein as the previous track with a delicious recurring guitar motif the hook that pulls you in but it is "Gamma Trip's" last two tracks that really show what this band are capable of. "Starbright" was the first track of Crystal Warlock's that Desert Psychlist was introduced to and it is still the one that resonates with us most, having a vibe that sounds not unlike that of a mid period Blue Oyster Cult applying their infamous "stun guitar" to a song by American melodic rock pioneers Ashbury. "Sleepwalker's Tomb" however finds Crystal Warlock upping their doom quotient well into the higher percentages with a song that. in its initial stages, has its languid melodic vocals underpinned by punchy, solid percussion, crunching fuzz drenched guitars and grizzled bass but then takes things to a climatic noisy finish on a scintillating wave of guitar duelling, insistent and rhythmic heavy psych.

Crystal Warlock might not have the social profile of say a Clutch, a Graveyard or even a Brimstone Coven but with "Gamma Trip" they certainly show they've got the grooves and that they 'aint afraid to use 'em.
Check 'em out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday 20 August 2018

КОМВУИАТ ЯОВОТЯОИ ~ Moduls 12 & 13 ..... review

Those who are familiar with Desert Psychlist's musical preferences will know that we are quite partial to those grooves that have the ability to take the listener outside of themselves, able to lose themselves in moments of contemplation and reflection while still getting all the required heaviness we, in this scene, always look for in our grooves.. Sadly these types of grooves come our way very rarely so it was very pleasing to get a message from Claas Oparek, the bass player in a jam project working under the name Kombynat Robotron that also includes Richard Schröder (guitar), Jannes Ihnen (synthesizer/guitar and occasional vocals) and Thomas Handschick (drums and percussion), pointing us in the direction of the bands two releases "Modul 12" and "Modul 13".

 Kombynat Robotron split their jams over the two releases with two songs gracing "Modul 12" and two filling "Module 13", each release spanning just over the half hour mark. Now for some listening to an hours worth of swirling, sometimes intense and complicated instrumental based music could be seen as somewhat of a gruelling undertaking but fear not as Kombynat Robotron fill their lengthy jams with so much diversity and dynamics that an hour seems to pass in almost nanoseconds. Songs with such unassuming titles as "I","II", "III" and "IV" are executed with an unbelievable array of skilled musicianship, the band utilising aspects of textured post rock, robotic krautrock and spacy psychedelic experimentation to flesh out their grooves and bring them to life, the music on each of the four song having an effect not unlike waves arriving at a sandy shoreline, sometimes gentle and lapping , sometimes ferocious and crashing but always strong and powerful.

If your a fan of bands unafraid to step off the stoner/desert path into more lysergic territories like Causa Sui and Sungrazer, or are a devotee of the more experimental stoner/krautrock machinations of Seven That Spells,  then Kombynat Robotrn's "Moduls 12 & 13" are two releases that's will blow your mind to smithereens.
Check 'em out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday 19 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday 16 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 15 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Monday 13 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Sunday 12 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday 9 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer jones

Monday 6 August 2018


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

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

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

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Saturday 4 August 2018


Canada's Astral Witch describe themselves as "a 3-piece doom rock band from Hamilton,  inspired by crystal magic and fuelled by beer" and if that statement does not peak your interest then maybe the fact that the trio are influenced by Sabbath and Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats will. The band, Alyssa Axeworthy (guitar/vox), Jon Tiberious (bass/vox) and Jen Brewer (drums/vox), have just released their debut album " Astral Witch".

Tiberious' deep booming bass motif introduces first track "Rune" and is then joined by Axeworthy's guitar and Brewer's drums in a heavily fuzzed and distorted doomic groove that sits just a couple of notches above low and slow. Vocals for this track, and for that matter much of the album, are a shared affair with Axeworthy and Tiberious trading off lead duties as well as combining on harmonies, the pairs strong slightly cracked and gritty tones are sometimes at odds but yet compliment each other and in doing so bring a whole set of different dynamics to the table. Lyrically Astral Witch tell us the usual tales of devils, angels  and death but also of anger and love and the conflict between the two, Axeworthy telling us on "Embodied" that she'll "wipe your tears away", on "Love" that "they’ll tell you what you want, to get between your thighs", emotional statements and tirades told against a superb backdrop of growling bass, dark crunching chords and thunderous percussion.

Astral Witch come at you from a slightly different angle from many of todays occult and doom bands, they make all the right doomic noises but there is an undercurrent of garage attitude running through their grooves that sets them apart from the following herd and that alone is reason enough to check 'em out ….

© 2018 Frazer Jones

Thursday 2 August 2018


So what is the difference between the music some describe as "occult" and that which we know as "doom"? Well that is a question that has played on Desert Psychlist's mind for a while now and to be honest we have no definitive answer for you, both are tied up in one way or another with mystic lyrisicm, dark atmospherics and growling low end but why one is one and the other is the other is still somewhat of a mystery. Maybe Oslo's Tempelheks can clear up this riddle, the Norwegian quartet, Martin Horn Sørlie (vocal & guitar), Sindre Øhman (guitar),Magnus Bjørnstad (bass & backing vocals) and Håkon Bergh (drums & percussion), bill themselves as a psychedelic and occult heavy rock experience so maybe their latest release "Midnight Mirror" (released on Cursed Tongue Records 03/08/2018) will shed some light on the matter.

Well the question of what is doom and what is occult gets even more convoluted and confused as the opening notes of first track "Gates of Python" assails the ears, here we have a song that has a dark crunching doomic core yet throws into that core bluesy guitar colouring and elements of epic metal grandiosity then totally throws a spanner in the works with a vocal that would not sound out of place coming from the stage of a 60's folk club. Maybe things will become a little clearer on next track "Bury Your Children" but that thought is stopped in its tracks by a 70's hard rock groove accompanied by a vocal that brings with it visions of bearded men, wearing Aran sweaters, fingers placed in ears, singing salty sea shanties. And so it goes on right through all ten tracks, of Tempelheks "Midnight Mirror", the band mixing up delicious and delightful cocktails of doomic dankness and hard rock bluster sprinkled with superbly effective folk-rock vocal colourings that, on first listen, may seem a little quaint and slightly odd but if persevered with soon reveal their true rural occult beauty and majestic doomic power.

Ok the question posed at the start of this review of what is doom and what is occult, has not really been answered here but who cares, just enjoy "Midnight Mirror" for what it is, damn good music that is a little off the beaten track and all the better for it.
Check it out ….
© 2018 Frazer Jones