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

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