Monday 29 July 2019


Mydriasis (medical definition); Mydriasis is the dilation of the pupil, usually having a non-physiological cause, or sometimes a physiological pupillary reaction. Non-physiological causes of mydriasis include disease, trauma, or the use of drugs.
Mydriasis (musical definition); "Mydriasis" is the new album by Australian quartet Comacozer, a scintillating collection of instrumental jams drenched in lysergic colours and textures that could cause, even in minor cases, not only dilation of the pupils but also the mind.

Since Comacozer's last full length musical outing "Kalos Eidos Skopeo" there has been a subtle change in personnel with James Heyligers filling, full time, the space temporarily held by, Mother Mars/Frozen Planet 1969's, Frank Attard on synth and effects. Comacozer's spacey instrumental grooves were already pretty cosmic, thanks to Rick Burke's swirling guitar textures, Rich Elliot's mix of grumbling and liquid low end and Andrew Panagopoulos' percussive blend of restraint and power, but Heyligers inclusion seems to have honed things to a fine edge. Where Comacozer's music previously saw them touching at the edges of the known universe with Heyligers, twisting the dials and pushing the keys, the band seem to have pushed out past the Kuyper Belt into infinity and beyond. There is a darker edge to the three songs that make up "Mydriasis", an edge that has always been there but this time around has been pushed further to the front  The bands jams have always been a little like travelling through space while dropping acid but previously the onus has been on the awe and wonder of witnessing a universe wrapped in a kaleidoscope of colours but on the tracks "Mydriasis","Tryptamine" and "Kykeon Journey" those colours get a little darker, a little more intense and a little bit scarier, still a heady vivid trip but one vignetted with shades of a more monochrome hue.

Comacozer have often used eastern themes to enhance their instrumental experimentations and this has often resulted in the bands music having a spiritual almost meditative feel, on "Mydriasis" however the band seem to be approaching that spirituality from a slightly different angle, an intriguing and exciting angle that Desert Psychlist hopes the band explore more on future releases.
Check it out …..

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Sunday 28 July 2019


Atmosphere is an ingredient often not spoken of when talking about music but atmosphere is probably one of the most important factors of any piece of music, be it bright breezy pop or crushing dank metal. Atmosphere is not so much something you can hear as something you feel when listening to music, in pop music it often manifests itself as a brightness, in metal a darker more cloying vibe is often the norm. Psych/desert groovsters High Mountain, a quartet from Metz, France consisting of Frederic Macieri (guitar/vocals), Jeremy Depenoux (drums), Georges Leibfried (keys) and David Omhover (bass), jam grooves that are drenched in atmosphere, grooves that are edged in a bluesy melancholic haziness and rueful moodiness, a vibe and feel that permeates each and every one of the four songs that make up their self-tiled debut EP "High Mountain".

Leibfried's parping keyboards and Omhover's deep rumbling bass introduce "The Dream" then are joined by Depenoux's drums and Macieri's  guitar in a fuzz drenched bluesy desert groove that is dark, dank yet not dismal. Macieri also provides the songs vocals his gruff, slightly accented throaty tones taking the songs sonic attack, which is already quite elevated, to a whole new level.  "Masterpiece" follows and finds the band balancing out their fuzz drenched bluesy swagger with elements of quiet contemplation, Macieri's vocal here is, in places, almost spoken narrative in others a gruff hoarse roar. "Roach" begins with tribalistic percussion crashing and pounding over a deep rumbling bass line around which Leibfried and Marcieri weave textured threads of keyboard and guitar colouring,  the song gradually building in intensity until suddenly exploding into a heavy stonerized blues groove full of screaming guitar solo's and crunching riffs. "Hunt On Payday" brings things to a close and finds the band giving free rein to the more lysergic elements of their sound while still maintaining their heavy rock credentials, shimmering cymbals, liquid bass, textured keys and ringing arpeggios sit side by side with pounding drums, grizzled low end, swirling organ and screaming guitar solos, both dynamics coated in those distinctive gruff, throaty vocal tones.

"High Mountain" is a collection of songs drenched in warm fuzzy guitar tones and driven by a mixture of throbbing and laid back rhythms, songs further enhanced by their clever use of keyboard textures and their warm yet powerful vocals. Atmospheric and moody yet at the same time heavy and rocking "High Mountain" is, to coin the title of one of their songs, a masterpiece
Check it out …. 

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Friday 26 July 2019

HIPPIE DEATH CULT ~ 111 ..... review

Desert Psychlist first became aware of Portland, Oregon's Hippie Death Cult due to the release of a series of singles via Bandcamp, we loved what we were hearing but were a little miffed that these great songs had to be purchased separately and not part of one EP or full album. Thankfully this all changed recently when the quartet, Eddie Brnabic (guitar), Laura Phillips (bass), Ryan Moore (drums) and Ben Jackson (vocals/keys), finally bit the bullet and released their debut album "111" (Cursed Tongue Records)

"Sanctimonious" kicks off "111" in an explosive mix of crunching heaviness and lysergic trippiness, a forceful barrage of thundering percussion and growling bass, decorated in swathes of hazy psychedelic keyboard textures and swirling guitar solos, over which soulful clean vocals croon and wail with passionate fervour. The song, and for that matter the whole album, has a strong 70's hard rock vibe running through it s veins yet at the same time is very much a child of today's stoner/doom scene, a child birthed as much from the stonerized grooves of Elder and Wo Fat as it is from the bluesy classic sounds of Purple and Zeppelin, don't though start thinking that "111" is some sort of  backward looking "retro" album, there is far more going on here than that. There is a lysergic element to the grooves Hippie Death Cult bring to the table that is only just kept in check by their need to rock out, delve deep into the bands raunchier songs, like "Breeder's Curse", "Unborn","Pigs" and "Black Snake", and underneath all the swirling guitar solos, grizzled bass lines and thunderous percussion you will find subtle shades of psychedelic colouring. These subtle shades comes courtesy of the albums keyboards which swirl and swoop, not so much over proceedings but more in and out of them, adding texture and depth that might not at first be obvious but would be noticeable if absent. The band are also unafraid to throw a few curve balls into the mix as on the beautifully tranquil "Mrtyu", a neo classical acoustic number with medieval leanings, and "Treehugger" , a song that mixes heavy stoner riffage with lashings of good ol' southern swagger.

Hippie Death Cult describe themselves as "Happy Intelligent People Pursuing Infinite Enlightenment through sound and vibration" a statement that not only gives you a clue to the "Hippie" part of their name but also tells you they are a band with a plan, where that plan will  eventually lead them to is too early to tell but if "111" is the first step on that path then future steps are going to be very interesting.

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Thursday 25 July 2019


Steven Hammer (guitar/vocals); James Wright (bass) and Pali Emond-Glenn (drums), three musicians based between Melbourne and Bendigo, Australia, started out there musical journey under the collective banner of Lowpoint but as the band neared the completion of their debut album it was decided that the name was no longer reflective of the music they were creating and so last year announced they were changing their name to Sleeping Giant, a title they felt better represented the direction their music was moving in. That album, "Sleeping Giant", has now been completed and is available on Bandcamp so you can decide for yourselves whether you think Lowpoint's transformation into Sleeping Giant was a justifiable one, we think it was.

There are no clever soundbytes or sampled narrative used as an introduction to Sleeping Giant's debut album just a short sudden burst of dark noise and a headlong dive into the riff heavy waters of first track "Sleep". "Sleep" serves as a great introduction to Sleeping Giant's sonic attack and tells you all you need to know about what Sleeping Giant are about in just over five minutes of proto-doomic splendour. Riffs are the commodity this band deal in, crunching low slung riffs driven by solid tight percussion that are allied to clean, clear vocals, vocals that work as the perfect counterbalance to the heaviness they are surrounded by. Sleeping Giant know the value of a good refrain and on songs like "Temptress", "Empire", "Serpent" and "Gypsy" they use those refrains to devastating effect, Wright and Emond-Glenn laying down a bedrock of heavy grooves that are thick, dank and intense, that dankness and dense intensity only broken by Hammer's strong clear vocals and his searing bluesy guitar solos. There were times during listening to "Sleeping Giant" that Desert Psychlist was reminded of legendary UK proto-metallers Budgie, not so much in sound (although there are some similarities) but in the way the band juxtapose their heavier elements with those of a lighter, more restrained and dare we say gentler dynamic something that informs all three movements of the "Visions" suite that closes the album with parts "I","II" and "III" employing a mix of glistening arpeggios and scorching lead work to give them an almost prog(ish) feel, "II" further muddying the waters by adding an unexpected element of blackish vocal colouring into the mix.

All in all "Sleeping Giant" is a promising debut from a band who, if they remain on the path they are currently following, will garner fans from every faction of the underground rock buying public... and rightly so
Check 'em out ….

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Sunday 21 July 2019


Do you ever get those days when soaring solos, vocal pyrotechnics and undulating melodies are just not what you are wanting to hear, days when your whole being is calling out for something a little  more brutal and relentless, something that is not overtly feral and sits just on the right side of extreme?
Well if that description fits your current mood Desert Psychlist has something to meet your needs, that something is an enthralling mix of low, slow stoner doomic dankness and sinister swampy sludginess flying under the title of "The Shadow" (CLOU) by a band of sonic architects, from Bar-Le-Duc, Northern France, calling themselves Acid Fuzz Factory.

It would be foolish not to point out the similarities between the relentless dank riffage and pummeling percussion Acid Fuzz Factory use to decorate their debut album "The Shadow" to those employed by their more well known contemporaries Monolord and Electric Wizard, however there is an undefinable something about AFF's approach that sets them apart. Maybe it is the rawness of tone that Théo Guillaume (vocals/bass), Alex Meurville (guitar) and Étienne Socha (drums) bring to songs like "Mecurian Smoke","Black Eclipse Cult" and "Druid" that gives them an edge or maybe it is that Guillaume's vocals are a little more accessible and easier on the ear, despite their raw throaty execution, it's hard to say. What can be said however is that despite the utter relentlessness of its riffage and the unapologetic nature of its plodding rhythms there are little flashes of dazzling brilliance to be found among the five tracks of "The Shadow" that every now and then lift the music out of its mire of mundane darkness into the realms of sunlight, those moments, it has to be said, are rare but when they do appear they take your breath away.

Intense, repetitive, uncompromising and darkly brilliant "The Shadow" is not an album for the faint of heart but neither is it one for the extremophiles of the death/black metal brigade, it is what it is and what it is is an unrelenting wave of hypnotic stoner doom with occasional glimpses of sunlight at its furthest reaches..
Check it out …. 

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Thursday 18 July 2019

CRAZY BONES ~ SLIME FLUX ...... review

Someone asked Desert Psychlist recently what the difference was between "psychedelic rock" and that which we call "heavy psych", the best we could come up with was that whereas "psychedelic rock" may conjure up musical visions of tranquil multi-coloured landscapes under day-glo skies "heavy psych" will conjure up those same images but with skies a little darker and broken up by spectacular flashes of lightening accompanied by the low rumbling sound of thunder
Canada's Crazy Bones, a Toronto based heavy psych trio consisting of Cam Alford (bass/vocals), Peter Turik (guitar/vocals) and Simon Kou (drums) , do not only bring that lightning and thunder to the table, with their heavy lysergic grooves, they also throw into the mix a little swampy sludginess and spacey cosmic stardust, something that makes their latest EP "Slime Flux" not only an interesting listen but also a mesmerising one

Crazy Bones get the "Slime Flux" ball rolling with "Fruiting Bodies" a song that opens with a fat booming bass line accompanied by shimmering percussion around which a kaleidoscope of lysergic guitar colouring swells an pulsates. The rhythm section then steps it up a notch and clean indie-ish, slightly sneered, vocals enter the fray chanting mantra- like harmonies over a backdrop of swirling swooping guitar solos' and thundering, ever shifting rhythmic groove. "Ring Worm" follows and finds the band mixing their lysergic experimentations with elements of good old fashioned low slow doom and heavy swampy sludge. The band bring proceedings to a close with "Laughing", a song that begins like something from a slightly off kilter 50's teen movie then increases in both dynamics and volume until exploding into a spacey strident groove fest decorated in a heady mix of bluesy psychedelic guitar licks and speed of light shredding.

Weirdly wonderful and wonderfully weird "Slime Flux" is one of those releases that is slightly off-center, slightly skewered a tad twisted but that is its beauty, "Slime Flux" doesn't conform to the norm it is flawed ,it is jagged, it is uncompromising and it is .....frankly quite brilliant because of those things

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 17 July 2019


It seems that Desert Psychlist's forays into the sonically rich territories of the South American underground rock scene are becoming a regular feature on these pages and it will be no surprise to regular readers that our musical travels bring us back to, that largest of the continents countries, Brazil.
Wizened TreeArtur Pery (vocal/guitar), Davi Pery (drums), Douglas Vilela (guitar) and Felipe Marinho (bass), hail from Palmas, the largest city in the Brazilian state of Tocantins and jam grooves of an alt-rock/grunge flavour blended with elements of 70's hard/classic rock, an intriguing mix that informs every note and beat of their latest release "Rock'n'Roll From Tocantins".

One thing that will grab Desert Psychlist's attention above all else is melody, yes we love intense dark dank refrains and thundering rhythms and we can also appreciate a certain amount of growl and grizzle in our vocals but give us well sung clean melodies aligned with a modicum of swagger and groove and we will be like putty in your hands. Wizened Tree deliver swagger and groove in spades, a swagger and groove that is decorated in clear, clean vocal tones imbued with just the right amount of grit and gravel to stop them falling into the realms of saccharine. First track "Give The Rain" sets the stall out for the rest the EP, the band jamming a groove that is heavy but not crushing or brutal, a groove that is heavy in the old 70's musical sense of the word. Wizened Tree cite their influences as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Pink Floyd and The Beatles and that all makes sense as the band storm through five tunes that undulate between raucous and restrained, the quartet using melody and might as the tools with which they construct their songs while at the same time blending a smattering of grungy loud /quiet dynamics into the mix to keep things interesting.

Balance is an important factor when it comes to mixing melody with music of a more raucous nature, too far one way and the music can sound twee and lightweight too far the other way and the melody tends to get swamped under the weight of the heaviness surrounding it. Wizened Tree, with "Rock'n'Roll From Tocantins" have found the perfect balance.
Check it out ….

Saturday 13 July 2019

SPIRAL GURU ~ VOID ...... review

Quality underground rock music seems to be flowing out of Brazil like the waters of its infamous Amazon River flow into the sea with Pesta, Son Of A Witch and Gods & Punks just some of the bands making their presences felt around the world. One band at the forefront of this Brazilian invasion are Piracicaba quartet Spiral Guru, the band have been drip feeding their brand of spacey occult-ish psych rock on to the international market since 2014 via a series of enthralling sci-fi themed EP's and now the quartet have released their first full length album "Void"

So what do you get when you place the needle, laser, or whatever it is that drives a digital playback onto Spiral Guru's latest release? Well the answer to that is you get three exceptional musicians, Samuel Pedrosa (guitars), José Ribeiro Jr. (bass and backing vocals) and Alexandre Garcia (drums), laying down dark ,but not foreboding, prog tinted proto-doomic grooves around the slightly folkish and ethereal tones of an equally exceptional vocalist, Andrea Ruocco. Now you could say that this has all been done before, and we would have to say yes it has, but never in quite the same way. There is a stark and startling contrast between Ruocco's sweet folk tones and the grooves that surround them, a contrast that on paper shouldn't work but sonically ultimately does, and it is this contrast of light and dark that is both the albums biggest selling point and its greatest asset. Ruocco's vocals are crisp, clean and clear her haunting sweet  tones channel the spirits of such folk rock greats as Sandy Denny (Fairport Convention) and Annie Haslam (Renaissance) as well as those of her fellow countrywoman Flora Plurim (jazz chartreuse who worked with jazz giants Chick Corea and Stan Getz), her voice floating and soaring above the cacophonies of dark groove laid beneath her like a delicate butterfly flitting majestically over thorny bushes. This juxtaposition of heaviness and delicacy informs most of "Void" but is most prevalent on songs like "The Curfew At Dusk" and "Time Traveller", Pedrosa, Ribeiro Jr. and Garcia tearing up the ground with thundering percussion, grumbling bass, crunching riffs and swirling solo's while Ruocco wails waif like overhead, it is however when band and vocalist pull things back a little that things get really magical as on the beautiful "Mindfulness" and the exquisite "Showcase of Dreams", the band fusing opposing dynamics together to make one awe-inspiring whole.

"Fusion", in musical terms, was/is a word oft associated with  jazz music blended with other musical styles but given one of the words definitions, "the merging of different elements into a union" , why then can't we apply that word to what Spiral Guru do? Elements of space, doom, metal and psych merged with folk like lead vocal tones and duel harmonies sounds like a "fusion" to these ears, in which case "Void" is the damn best "fusion" album we have heard in a long time!

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Friday 12 July 2019


Germany's Wolf Prayer cordially invite us to "join a trip with the band through atmospheric soundscapes, hard riffs and hypnotic melodies" How could we refuse an offer like that especially as the soundtrack to that trip is one that blends the musical elements of big hitters like Kyuss, All Them Witches and Dead Meadows into one big smorgasbord of desert flavoured groove called "Echoes of the Second Sun" (Barhill Records)

 Things begin quite loud and noisy with first track "Average Man" a song that boasts humongous fat fuzz drenched riffage, pulsing percussion and deep booming low end embellished with a generous helping of synthesised keyboard flourishes and effects. After its initial burst of energy the song settles down into a sort of quasi-stoner grunge groove with guitarist/synthesiser maestro Jan Sprengard vocalising in grainy, slightly accented, tones over a loud/quiet/loud dynamic perfectly executed by bassist Tim Hansen and drummer Matthias Schorr. The song then takes a left turn as it winds to an end finally concluding its life in waves of synthesised tranquility. "According To The Rule" jams a more raucous stoner groove that although still retains the grunge like dynamics of its predecessor has a much more harder, grittier edge to it while "Desert" has a touch of "Sixteen Stone" era British post grungers Bush in it's sonic make up. "Shapeshifter" follows and does exactly what its title suggests, the song shifting from a raucous heavily fuzzed and thunderous intro a serene and tranquil groove enhanced by emotive vocals ,ringing arpeggios and restrained percussion before then shifting once again and taking off into a lysergic heavy psych jam. "New Morning" throws away the rule book and mixes heavy stoner riffage with jazzy fusion swing, Sprengard showcasing his keyboard chops, in the songs mid-section, over a laid back bass and drum groove expertly supplied by Hansen and Schorr. "Like A Fool" and "Strings Like A Puppet" finds the band returning to those Nirvana-esque dynamics that have served them so well with the latter boasting a nice line in Colour Haze-ish texturing. "Feed My Brain" closes the album and brings all the elements visited elsewhere together in one big melting pot of lysergic laced stonerized groove.

Chilled and laid back yet at the same time heavy and intense "Echoes of the Second Sun" is an album that blends the best elements of the 90's alternative rock scene with the best parts of the stoner/desert movement from the same era and brings it up to date by adding a few ideas of their own. There is no convenient box or tag for what Wolf  Prayer bring to the table sonically but if you had to label them  something then the best we can come up with is "alt/desert".
Check 'em out ...

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 10 July 2019


Gila Monster (guitar), King Lizzard, (vocals), Psychedelic Monk (guitar), Old Goat (bass) and Asteroid Mammoth (drums) are back, ok that might not mean much to the ordinary man/woman in the street but to those of us with our fingers on the pulse of the Brazilian underground rock scene it marks the return of one of the best doomic bands the South American continent has to offer. The band we are talking about here is Son of a Witch a foursome who first came to Desert Psychlist's attention via their 2012 Ep "Son of a Witch" then grabbed that attention fully with their 2016 debut album "Thrones In The Sky", an enthralling mix of riff heavy proto-doom and crunching hard rock. Last year (2018) the band entered Black Hole Studios in Natal to record new songs for their second album, that album, "Commanded By Cosmic Forces" has just been released (Kozmik Artfactz {vinyl} and Burning London/Deathtime {CD}).

"Commanded By Cosmic Forces" begins life with a customary soundbyte intro, probably lifted from some obscure occult movie, then forges straight into first track proper "Black Clouds of Lies", a track that the band released as a teaser for this album in June of this year. "Black Clouds of Lies" is a song that deals lyrically with the absence of truth and the convictions of our beliefs and is played out against a backdrop of heavy doomic groove that borders between proto and traditional. King Lizzard sings of "defending our truth" and wishing "long life to the sincere of soul and heart" in a voice thick with emotional gravitas, his vocal strong, powerful and just the right side of throaty is pushed hard by the Goat, the Monk, the Monster and the Mammoth, the four oddly named musicians laying down an exceptional array of dark but not overly dank doomic refrains and rhythms."Breathe Dust" follows and finds the band jamming a slightly slower, heavier groove that leans more towards the stoner end of the doom spectrum, the song is solidly anchored down by big booming bass and slow ponderous percussion allowing the two guitarist to express themselves with a mixture of crunching riffage and swirling solos. The song is taken to another level by the slightly off-kilter nature of its vocal melody, the Lizzard man imparting cryptic wisdom in tones that are as warm as they are powerful. Next up is "Idol of Marbles (Commanded By Cosmic Forces)" a song that finds the band stepping out of their doom comfort zone and pushing into more experimental areas, a militaristic drum pattern forming the platform from which the band launch into a hazy lysergic groove over which acoustic and electric guitars vie for supremacy bolstered by a bass line that would not of sounded out of place on an album by British art-rockers Japan. "Dry Leaves" finds the band back in more familiar doomic territory with strong throaty vocals extolling the virtues of wind over a backdrop of thunderous doomic refrains both proto-ic and traditional. "Melting Ocean" brings "Commanded By Cosmic Forces" to a close with a huge throbbing slab of intense psychedelic tinted doom, its heavy crunching grooves decorated with green tinted lyrics that tell of a world slipping into chaos, Lizzard telling us in a mixture of anger and sadness that "we built our houses all out of straw, now the wolf is coming to take us all", it's a song with a thinly veiled political message but one that sadly will probably carry on being ignored nonetheless.

Intelligent, thought provoking doom makes a nice change from the satanic musings usually associated with the genre and much like their fellow Brazilian counterparts, Pesta, Son of a Witch are band unafraid to address themes and issues others might feel are a little too contentious.... and that, combined with their incredibly addictive grooves, is something they should be loudly applauded for.
Check 'em out ...

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 9 July 2019

STONEKIND ~ STONEKIND (EP) ...... review

If your a band that hails from a place with "Salem" in its title then its possible your going to garner some interest from within the doom metal community, unfortunately the "Salem" in question is not the one associated with the infamous "witch trials" and the band we are talking about is not really what you would consider a "doom" band. Stonekind, Davis Templeton (guitars), Jacob Shelton (bass) and Jeff Ayers Jr (drums,/vocals), hail from the North Carolina city of Winston-Salem and jam grooves that, although reside very much within the stoner spectrum, lean more towards the bluesy rather than the doomic.
The band have just released their debut EP "Stonekind" on Bandcamp and whether your a stoner, doomer or just a general music fan, this is gonna blow your socks off!

"Ember" gets the ball rolling and starts with a high pitched drone effect that then makes way for some charming and deft acoustic picking before segueing almost straight into "Talk To Fire" an excellent heavy blues-ish outing that swaggers and struts with stoner attitude and if your boat is not already floating by now then it's gonna be ocean bound when you hear Ayers Jr's warm creamy vocal tones enter the fray. The drummer/vocalist possesses one of those voices that cradles you with warmth and texture, Ayers Jr doesn't try to dazzle you with rock god vocal pyrotechnics preferring instead to deliver his lyrics in a voice that is soulful and world weary, the fact that he is also laying down some mean, on point, percussion at the same time just adds to his legend. Ayers Jr is surrounded by two musicians of equal stature and skill, Shelton's bass growls and rumbles in sync with Ayers  Jr's drums and comes into it's own on the hazy psychedelic "Black Molasses" the bassist anchoring the songs more lysergic moments with boneshaking liquid low end. Guitarist Templeton meanwhile is a guitar legend in the making, he coats the grooves Ayers Jr and Shelton lay beneath him with a startling array of colours and textures, his solo's soar and swoop, his riffs crunch and crush, the six-stringer filling every space available to him with a masterclass in guitar dynamics, something that is especially evident on the superb "It's Alive" where his playing is nothing short of jaw dropping.

As debuts go this up there with the best of 'em, the only downside to "Stonekind" being that it only contains four songs and after hearing this brief but brilliant introduction to the band you will undoubtedly want more, in fact you will DEMAND more!
Check it out .... 

© 2019 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 2 July 2019


California, once the playground of many of the sixties and seventies beautiful people, is not a place you would regularly associate with "doom" but nevertheless it does exist there, sheltering in dark recesses beneath the sun streaked skies and occasionally popping its head out to say hi and scare the beejeeus out of the old hippies roaming around still balancing their chakras and looking for enlightenment. One such band to play their doomic grooves under the warm Californian sun are San Francisco trio Iron Crown, Dave Brunicardi (guitar/vocals), Don Braun (drums) and Didier Hahn (bass), a band influenced by the likes Sabbath, High On Fire and Blue Oyster Cult et al. but not beholden to them the trio having their own unique take on doom, something that will become evident as soon as you wrap your ears around their debut release "Before The Void".

Iron Crown's approach to doom is a little different from that of many of their contemporaries in that they come at the whole doom thing from a completely different angle, this is not to say that all the usual doomic nuances and textures are missing (they are not) just that these guys, in Desert Psychlist's humble opinion, bring something a little less abrasive and menacing to the table. It's hard to nail, in words, exactly why Iron Crown's sound is so at odds with what others are doing within the doom genre, especially as songs like "Watcher of the Realm", "Dune Rider", "The Outsider" and "Straight On Till Morning" are chock-a-block full of heavily fuzzed low slung doomic refrains and pounding rhythms. Maybe its Brunicardi's vocals that are the difference, his clean tones have an alt-rock/indie-ish tint to them while his harsh tones are more a deep rumble than a demonic growl, maybe its Braun and Hahn's rhythmic grooves that tip the balance, the pair laying down an enthralling mixture of chugging old school heavy metal and throbbing proto-ic groove for Bruncardi to decorate with his crunching chords and dark swirling solo's, or could it be the brevity of their grooves, short sharp jabs of tempered doom with only one song going over the five minute mark.

 We honestly can't put our finger on what sets "Before The Void "apart from other albums in this genre, but what we can say is that whatever it is it works, and works well.
Check it out …..

© 219 Frazer Jones