Saturday 25 April 2020


Desert Psychlist has written before about how proto-metal and its close cousin proto-doom bridged the gap between the late sixties blues boom and the early to mid seventies rise of hard rock and metal what we may not have told you however is of the resurgence of that "proto" sound within the realms of the current stoner/psych and doom underground scene. It seems that there are many of today's bands who look to the past for their inspiration, taking their lead not only from the holy trinity of Sabbath, Zeppelin and Purple but also those bands that didn't quite make the big step up to global domination, bands with names like Budgie, May Blitz, Pentagram and Buffalo.
California's Lords of Illusion are one such band who have grasped the post proto-metal/doom nettle, the trio of Jose "Campa" Campa (guitar) Jose "Freddy" Delgado (bass/vocals) and Octavius "Otto"Addison (drums) jam a groove that pays tribute to both the gods and demi-gods of the past while at the same time still sounding relevant to the present, just give their debut album "The Great Tribulation" a spin to see what we mean.

If your paying your respects to masters past and present then it cannot be considered too much of a sin to borrow a few licks and riffs along the way so don't be alarmed when opening track "Mushrooms In The Sky" jams a somewhat Sabbathesque groove and that the songs opening riff bears a faint resemblance to Metallica's "Enter Sandman". Jose "Freddy" Delgado's vocals, both here and through the rest of the album, are not what you would call overly powerful but they are clean, clear and totally effective and to his credit he does not attempt all the usual Ozzy(ish) vocal mannerisms often associated with music of this ilk. Following track "Blood and Gold" puts Delgado's voice up front and centre of a groove that has an underlying bluesiness and boasts an absolutely stunning guitar solo from Jose "Campa" Campa that is very "Tony" in tone, and here we are talking Bourge (Budgie) not Iommi (Sabbath). Next up is "Can't Sleep" a slowed down doomic tome drenched in atmospherics driven by some solid, swinging percussion from Octavius "Otto"Addison which is then followed by "Sheep Minds" a song that finds Lords of Illusion stepping out from the shadow of their heroes and finding their own niche, the songs eastern tinted vocal melody and exotic guitar motifs a complete departure from what has gone before. The next two tracks, "Holy Children" and "Misery" go a little further in establishing Lords of Illusion as a force in their own right, the former a mid tempo chug fest that finds "Campa" discovering his inner "shredder", the latter a stunning torch-like lament with bluesy undertones. For their finale Lords of Illusion put all their "proto" eggs in one basket and sign out with "The Rapture" a song that takes all the bands separate influences and musical loves and weaves them into one big tapestry of delightful proto-doomic groove.

If you are coming to "The Great Tribulation" looking for something innovative, life affirming and cerebral then your going to be out of luck if, however, you are looking for something that takes you to a place that is familiar and comfortable yet manages to avoid sounding cliched or overtly "retro" then this is your new favourite album.
Check it out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer jones


  1. Damn, great find Frazer. this is smoking hot. Picked up on the Budgie aswell

  2. This is excellent. Greetings from Argentina.