Monday 31 August 2020


"Two wrongs don't make a right" was something our mothers would often tell us when we had done something wrong and we were trying to fix that wrongness by doing something equally as wrong, Spinning that old adage around you could also say that two V's don't make a W either.. except in the case of Australian combo VVARP where maybe they do!
VVARP, John Bollen (guitar/vocals); Claudia Sullivan (bass/vocals) and Scott McLatchie (drums), are a doomic trio hailing from Melbourne whose grooves sit primarily at the stoner/occult end of the doomic spectrum yet are not adverse to wading knee deep into more traditional waters, as the bands debut "First Leviations" (Iommium Records) will attest to.

As Desert Psychlist has stated before that atmosphere is a major factor in the doom's overall appeal and VVARP's "First Levitations" does not lack atmosphere, in fact you could say that this is an album literally dripping with the stuff!  When we speak of "atmosphere" in the context of doom music we tend to jump to the conclusions that we are about to hear something that is slightly menacing and possibly terrifying but this is not the case with "First Levitations", VVARP prefer not to concern themselves with trying to scare the living daylights out of their listeners but attempt to convey the more spiritulistic/ritualist aspects of the genre. Don't however get us wrong there are plenty of dark, dank guitar and bass refrains and thundering percussion to be found on songs like "Wizard's Sister", "Flames at Dusk" and "Hypnototem" to please even the most hardened doom aficionado but the coupling of these musical elements with the monastic/Gregorian style vocal harmonies they are decorated in takes everything to another level and gives the albums overall vibe an almost cinematic feel, the band creating music that could easily grace the soundtrack of some Lovecraft or Wheatley inspired occult themed movie.

Brooding, moody and deliciously dark  VVARP's "First Levitations" is a must for fans of  WindhandDead Sacrements and Chile's Heráldica de Mandra but also for anyone who likes their doom sounding as if it was being performed in a candle lit altar beneath an upturned cross at the stroke of midnight!
Check it out ...... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 30 August 2020



Those who have seen the documentaries "Slow Southern Steel" and "NOLA Underground Music Documentary" will already know that underground bands hailing from "The South" have a reputation for jamming grooves that are heavy, intense and LOUD, levels of intensity and heaviness matched only by some of  the more extreme bands hailing from the equivalent scenes of Scandinavia and Poland. Why this is the case is addressed in part by the interviews featured in "Slow Southern Steel" but we at Desert Psychlist like to believe that there is just a certain "dark magic" flowing in the skies and waters of the Southern States that lends itself to music of a heavier intense nature.

New kids on the NOLA block Leafdrinker, E. Cole (bass): L.Condes (drums) and J. Romagosa (guitar/vocals), have managed to tap into that "dark magic", their dark doomic grooves containing all the requisite levels of swampiness and dankness you would come to expect from a metallic band hailing from "the south" but at the same time also cleverly putting their own unique spin on things.  The bands new album "Nausea", their second, does not only draw from the deep well of their southern heritage but also cherry-picks from further afield, the band blending a little Seattle flavoured grunge and European psychedelic doom into the mix to keep things fresh and interesting... and if that's not enough to grab your attention then the fact that they have also tied these musical threads together into a "concept" should!

"Landsickness" kicks things off and already that "European" element of Leafdrinker's sound makes its presence felt with the band dropping into a low(ish), slow(ish) doomic groove overlaid with monastic toned vocals that has similarities to those sludgy dynamic onslaughts brought to bear by Poland's Dopelord and Denmark's Center of the World, thick glutenous guitar tones, pummeling percussion and a bass sound that rumbles rather than growls. "Father Inire's Mirrors" follows and is a short instrumental built around a recurring bass and guitar riff that among other things highlights Condes drumming skills. Almost immediately we are hurled into "Scylla" a thundering mid-tempo song that despite its obvious heaviness carries a little Alice In Chains slurred grunginess in its attack and finds Romagosa pitching his vocals a little more melodic and cleaner. "Bad Faith" opens with Coles bass rumbling and Romagosa picking and strumming the strings above the nut of his fretboard before Condes slams down the percussive hammer and the song erupts into a crunching stoner metal groove fractured with post rock textures and lysergic colourings."1,000 Plateaus" is another of those instrumental interludes and serves as an intro into "Weirding Way" a song that really throws the spotlight on Leafdrinker's grungy/alt-rock leanings, the band experimenting with loud/quiet/loud dynamics while Romagosa wails  of "compelled countenance"and a "life disavowed" in weary but powerful tones. If Desert Psychlist had to pick our favourite track on "Nausea" then it would have to be the next track "Charybdis", it  is the longest track on "Nausea" and it justifies its length by throwing all the bands influences and inspirations into a mix that sees slurred grungy guitar motifs vying with pounding industrial drumming and crunching doomic refrains making way for spaced out ambience and sampled narrative, it is all slightly schizophrenic, slightly unsettling but wholly brilliant! "Mereology" finds Leafdrinker going full grunge, its Nivana-esque squealing guitar motifs off set by a harsh, almost hardcore, vocal while "Endless, Nameless, Formless" could almost be considered straight heavy psych if it were not for its  dank doomic undercurrent, a special mention should go here to bassist Cole his eastern tinted bass line sitting beneath Romagosa's thrumming guitar chords, at just over the three quarter mark, is just delicious . "Phage" brings things to a conclusion, the song taking those loud/quiet/loud dynamics, toyed with on "Weirding Way", to whole other level while also throwing in some good old foot to floor galloping hard rock and a generous helping of swirling heavy psychedelic guitar shredding.

Although southern born and undoubtedly "underground" Leafdrinker differ from their more famous southern  brothers, like Down, Crowbar and Eyehategod, in that they are wholly open to absorbing elements from other more diverse genres into their sound. The band most definitely reside in that metallic ground zero that houses their contemporaries but with "Nausea" they have shown that they are not afraid to occasionally step out of their comfort zone and experiment with something a little different and unexpected.

Check 'em out ....

  © 2020 Frazer Jones

Friday 28 August 2020

SLOMOSA ~ SLOMOSA ..... review


Norway's Slomosa  may hail from a country lacking in sand, cactus and sun bleached bones but that hasn't stopped them cranking out one of the best examples of desert flavoured rock since the mighty Kyuss folded. Slomosa's sound owes a huge musical debt to the aforementioned Kyuss, as well as to bands like Truckfighters, Dozer and Queens of the Stone Age, but they have cleverly put their own spin on that sound, the band creating a groove that may have its roots embedded in sandy substrates but has its upper branches dusted in pristine white Norwegian snow, as will become evident when giving their self-titled debut "Slomosa" a spin.

There is something joyous and uplifting to the grooves Slomosa lay down on their debut album that just leaves you smiling, its very hard to describe in words why this is,  given that the majority of the albums eight songs employ crunching quasi-heavy guitar and bass riffs driven by strident percussion, so maybe its easier to say... it just does. Musically Slomosa are closer in sound to Sweden's Truckfighters than they are to USA desert giants  QOTSA or Kyuss mainly due to Slomosa's songs having a more direct foot to the floor dynamic, the bands grooves lacking a little of the "quirkiness" of QOTSA and only a modicum of the psych/doom aspects of Kyuss  but they make up for this with a similar riff driven sense of  fun and enjoyment that was once the hallmark of their Scandinavian cousins. Vocally however Slomosa employ more "Nordic" tones with which to decorate their songs, the vocals having a slightly more clipped monochrome European leaning than any of those bands already mentioned and it is this that puts an interesting twist on Slomosa's desert attack, shifting them away from being seen as just another bunch of desert rock wannabees and giving them a well deserved identity all of their own.

A little naïve and unpolished in places "Slomosa" is nonetheless an impressive debut from a band with bags of potential, anyway in  these uncertain times who doesn't need a few feel good grooves with the the ability to put a smile on your face regardless of how raw and untamed they might be.

Check 'em out .....  

© 2020 Frazer jones

Sunday 23 August 2020


Some of you who regularly peruse the pages of Desert Psychlist may well remember us reviewing a quite mesmerizing retro flavoured release, from a Californian combo called Skunk, entitled "Strange Vibration". Well sadly we have nothing to report on the Skunk front as of yet but we can tell you of a, made in lockdown, solo release from one it's members.

"Mind Palace of the Mushroom God" (Fuzzy Mind Records) is the conceptual brainchild of guitarist Dmitri Mavra who finding himself a little challenged by the tedium of a global lockdown decided to get busy and use his time to create something, under the banner of  Dungeon Weed,  a little different from the 70's inspired grooves he usually explores with Skunk.

"Mind Palace of the Mushroom God" was created by Marva while in isolation, the multi-instrumentalist not only writing and arranging all the albums music but also supplying the bulk of its instrumentation and its vocals, however enforced quarantine did not stop him calling on a little help from a couple of friends to lend a hand and help flesh things out. Marva enlisted  Chris McGrew (mixer/producer at Hyde Street Studios) to handle all the albums percussion (Marva sent over backing tracks for the drummer to add his "thunder" to), and on Thia Moonbrook to lend her soaring tones to the vocals thereby creating a nice counterbalance with Marva's more gritty Captain Beefheart-like growls, other than that though "Mind Palace of the Mushroom God" is all Marva. The album's concept of a sorcerer caught in a web of his own making, in an attempt to cheat death, gives the green light for Marva's imagination to run riot and allows him the freedom to go into musical territories he might not have considered with either Skunk or his other band Slow Phase. There is gnarly rawness to the songs that populate "Mind Palace of the Mushroom God" that is probably closer in dynamic to sludge or stoner doom than it is to the 70's influenced grooves of Marva's other projects, having said that songs like "Beholder Gonna Fuck You Up", " Black Pudding" and "Mind Palace" share a fair share of old school screaming guitar solos and crunching hard rock refrains but are drowned in so much filthy fuzz and devastating distortion it is sometimes easy to miss them. This is not a criticism as it is the filthiness and the sheer gnarliness of both the albums production and its musical execution that is its biggest asset and makes this album such a delight to listen to.

There will probably be a glut of solo projects like "Mind Palace of the Mushroom God" hitting the pages of Bandcamp and similar musical outlets, projects created by musicians forced into quarantine by this current global pandemic who with time on their hands have turned to working on their own ideas. Some will be great, some will be ok , some not so good, thankfully this one falls into the first category
Check it out .... 
© 2020 Frazer Jones

Saturday 22 August 2020


 If you mistakenly came to this page looking for an electrical device that might save you time with your culinary endeavors then we are afraid you are going to be disappointed, the "kitchen witch" we are discussing here is not something that will help you fluff up your soufflés or put a crispy edge on your bacon but is the name of an Australian band whose music has one foot in the clear waters of the blues and the other in the murky depths of stoner/hard rock and doom. Kitchen Witch hail from Adelaide, Australia and consist of Georgie Cosson (vocals); Conor Kinsella (guitars); Simon Elliott (bass) and John Russo (drums,/percussion), and have just released their second full length album "Earth and Ether" (Kozmik Artifactz Records

If you've had the pleasure of hearing Kitchen Witch's self titled debut album "Kitchen Witch" you will already be aware that these Adelaide groovesters have a penchant for blues based stonerized rock laced with an undercurrent of doomic bluster, you will also know that as well as containing three very skilled musicians, in Kinsella, Elliott and Russo, they also boast an exceptional vocalist in Cosson. What you might not know yet, unless you  have played the album prior to reading this review, is how much this band have matured both as musicians and songwriters since their last release. In Desert Psychlist's review of their debut we described the bands sound as "jamming a groove that mixes the psychedelic blues of The Big Brother and the Holding Company with the stoner/desert grooves of Kyuss", and in some respects that statement still holds water but after listening to "Earth and Ether", we have started to hear a little more darkness and depth creep into Kitchen Witch's sonic attack. The blues is still, and we expect will always be, at the root of much of what Kitchen Witch bring to the table but those darker aspects of their sound, which were only hinted at on their debut, are on "Earth and Ether" pushed a little further to the fore. The band can still lay down a ripping fuzzed out blues groove, as they do to great effect on songs like "Cave of Mischief ", the excellent title track "Earth and Ether" and the desert flavoured "Many Moons", but it is on songs, like "Lost", the exceptionally atmospheric "Sunrise" and the swirling "The Frontal Lobe" that it really becomes clear how far this band have progressed. Kitchen Witch on these songs explore a darker musical territory, territory usually the reserve of their more established and somewhat similar sounding contemporaries Holy Grove, the band dragging the blues kicking and screaming into domains the genre might not feel comfortable in but actually fits it quite well.

If you like your blues sprinkled with a little doomic spiciness and your doom salted with a touch of bluesy swagger then you can't go far wrong by giving "Earth and Ether" a spin.

Check it out ...

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Friday 21 August 2020


Huddersfield, West Yorkshire doesn't quite have the same ring to it as say Sky Valley, California but the northern town, which was once a central component in Britain's Industrial Revolution, is the home to one of the UK's, growing roster, of must hear underground rock bands, the perfectly named Sound of Origin.
Sound of OriginJoel Bulsara (vocals), Joe 'Zeph' Wilczynski (guitar), Jax Townend (bass) and Chris 'Foz' Foster (drums), have not had the easiest of rides since the release of their debut EP " Seeds of the Past", first they parted company with their original vocalist John Bussey and had to go through the rigmarole of advertising for, auditioning and breaking in a new vocalist and then, when everything seemed to be coming together, things had to be put on hold when drummer Chris "Foz" Foster was involved in a serious car crash. Thankfully "Foz" escaped with minor (but painful) injuries and new vocalist Joel Bulsara proved to be the perfect fit for Sound of Origin's particular brand of riff heavy grooves, grooves that can now be heard on the bands debut full album "The All Seeing Eye" (APF Records)

The departure of an original member and the subsequent introduction of a new member to an established line up is inevitably going to have some effect on a bands dynamic, these comings and goings can sometimes have a detrimental effect but on the whole they tend to  reinvigorate a band, refreshing not only their sound but also their whole approach to music. This is the case with Huddersfields's Sound of Origin, the bands debut EP " Seeds of the Past" was very much a release pitched towards the desert/stoner end of the underground rock spectrum however with "The All Seeing Eye" the band have added a darker, harder edge to their sound, new man  Bulsara's more extensive vocal range giving the band a more sludgier, hardcore dynamic. Those huge walls of fuzzed out bass and guitar riffs, that were a major factor on "Seeds of the Past", are still in place but on "The All Seeing Eye" Wilczynski and Townend execute them with a little more crunch and growl which when combined with Foster's solid and industrious percussion gives everything a darker, danker and at times doomier vibe. It is, however, in the vocal department that fans will notice the biggest differences, Bulsara cannot only croon, wail and howl like a rock god of old he can also scream, screech and growl like a man in the throws of demonic possession, his blend of clean and harsh tones bringing a venomous edge to songs like "Dim Carcosa", "Morning Bird" and "Stoned Messiah Blues" that was a little lacking on the band previous outing, an edge that may alienate some fans of the old line up but will no doubt delight many, many more.

It's been a long an arduous journey for Sound of Origin to reach this point in their career but one well worth it if "The All Seeing Eye" is the marker they wish to be judged by. Heavy without being overtly brutal and drenched in enough fuzz to drown a small whale "The All Seeing Eye" is proof that no matter the pitfalls that may befall you on your journey if you work hard and believe in what you do you will triumph in the end.
Check it out ….

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 16 August 2020


Space, after the black arts, is probably one of the most common themes visited by those who ply their trade on the underside of  rock's mainstream, there is something about space's mystery, its solitude and its vastness that has inspired musicians, from Holst to Howling Giant, to explore its seemingly endless possibilities. 

Spain's MindustMrzl  (bass); Vicenç (guitar); Kiru (vocals) and Jordi (drums), are no strangers to space themed rock, the bands 2013 release "Taking Off" (available as a free download on Bandcamp) explored  themes of a cosmic nature both in its music and its lyrics, however on "Taking Off" their approach came from a more traditional direction and saw the band trading off  raucous choppy hard rock guitar riffs with elements of  Colour Haze(ish) sonic experimentation. Seven years have now passed since the release of "Taking Off" and Mindust's approach has undergone some drastic changes, the band have retained their penchant for experimentation but have jettisoned those crunching riffs for a more lower, slower and heavier stoner doomic dynamic as can be witnessed on the bands latest EP "Lost Transmissions".


"Lost Transmissions" is made up of only two songs, "Mayday" and "Adrift", the former just over three minutes in length, the latter extending to half way past the nine minute mark. Now that might seem a paltry offering, especially given there has been seven years between releases, but beggars can't be choosers and considering that we are living in uncertain time (Covid -19) the fact that bands are still able to release any form of music is something that should be applauded. Despite the brevity of content on "Lost Transmissions" there is no doubting its quality, Mindust's doomier, danker approach is one that suits their space orientated themes far better than the rockier riff'n'roll of their previous outing, the lower slower dynamic giving added depth to their more "out there" experimentations and the shift to a more monastic vocal delivery adding an air of mournful gravitas to the proceedings. First track "Mayday" builds its part up from humble beginnings with an atmospheric bass heavy Colour Haze-like groove, albeit slightly more doomic, around which swirling guitar solos swoop and soar and over which wafts a mournful vocal melody sang/chanted in almost Gregorian fashion, the songs groove slowly getting heavier and its vocals more forceful as it reaches its final destination. "Adrift" follows a similar pattern to its predecessor but here we find Mindust stretching out and sprinkling a little eastern promise over their spaced out doomic endeavors with Vicenç's exotic sounding guitar solos swooping and soaring over Mrzl's deep, bone shaking bass riffs and Jordi's tight, intricate yet fluid percussion to create enthralling dark hued spacescapes for Kiru to decorate with a superbly pitched low melancholic vocal. 

The blurb accompanying this EP, on the bands Bandcamp page, describes "Lost Transmissions" as "a reinterpretation of never before released Mindust songs, recorded live with proper safety measures, as demanded in the apocalyptic 2020" which suggests that the bands long hiatus from the recording studio has come to an end and there maybe, just maybe, a chance of something more coming from these guys in the future. On the evidence of these two mind-blowing tracks of swirling psychedelic tinted space doom let's hope so!

Check 'em out ... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Friday 14 August 2020

CLUJIT ~ CORONATION ..... review


Don't you just love it when something appears on your radar that blows your mind so much that you immediately have to share your discovery with others and then find out that those others you shared it with dig it as much as you do! This was the case with "Coronation" the debut EP from UK combo Clujit. The quartet, from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire jam a mixture of hard rock, psych and prog grooves that are melodic and accessible yet at the same time contain just the right amount of grittiness, heaviness and complexity to appeal to even those hardened extremophiles amongst our little underground rock fraternity.

Putting out an EP as a debut release serves a multitude of purposes, it's cheaper than a full album, it can sometimes be the first draft of songs that will later reappear on your debut album rearranged and remastered, it can also be used much like a demo to give labels a taste of what you are all about but most importantly it can test the ground to see if all that hard work of composing and arranging something you truly believe in will actually find an audience that appreciates what you've done. Whether "Coronation" works for the Clujit in any of these scenarios is too early to say but what can be said is that this EP is a highly impressive collection of songs that may not quite set the world alight but will at least start it smoldering. Of the songs on offer on "Coronation" probably the most impressive is it's opener "Cold, Alone and Wondering" , a song that begins on a wave of swirling effects, shimmering percussion and sparse reverberating guitar textures then gradually builds up into a riff heavy behemoth interspersed with elements of  Porcupine Tree - like proggish complexity and psychedelic ambience over which a clean clear vocal melody tells what is basically a love story. For their next track, "Basement Tragedy",  Clujit delve into their seventies bag and pull out a chugging Hawkwind(ish) shuffle replete with swirling effects and vintage sounding fuzzed guitar tones all coated in a suitably monotonic vocal melody. "Coronation" closes its account with "Infliction" a song split into two movements, "(part I)" a laid back instrumental anchored by liquid deep bass and restrained percussion over which gently strummed/swept chords and arpeggios ring and reverberate, "(part 2)" a heavy psych workout that finds the band throwing off any shackles and really cutting loose, John Gosling's bass and Craig Jones' drums laying down a thundering array of shifting dynamics for guitarist David Court to decorate with crunching powerchords and screaming wah drenched solos while vocalist  Peter Baldock-Williams tells us in clean slightly weary tones that he's gonna "laugh hysterically and dance upon your grave". 

It is early days for Clujit, as we all know new bands can suddenly appear and then just as quickly disappear, but it would be a shame not to see this band expand on the ideas they have briefly explored on "Coronation" and get to see where they might take their music next.  Clujit are not quite the finished article yet  and "Coronation" is an EP that is a little naïve in places, a little raw in others but it is also one full of promise for the future.

Check it out .... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 12 August 2020


The Crooked Whispers are a combo put together from members of such notable bands as LáGoon, Hour of 13, Luciferica, and Fulanno. The band, Anthony Gaglia. (vocals), Chad Davis (guitars) and Ignacio De Tommaso (bass) are joined, for the release of their new album "Satanic Melodies",(Electric Valley Records) by Nicolás Taranto on drums and together they make what can only be described as an unholy racket!

There could be a credible argument for including some form of warning with "Satanic Melodies" as the grooves emanating from this collection of dark, diabolical hymns of debauchery are likely to not go down too well with those of a more traditional religious nature. "Satanic Melodies" has already, one day after its release, prompted one irate soul to write on a social media site "I guess there are many sick and twisted people out there who thrive on stuff like this"! The reason why "Satanic Melodies" can elicit such vitriol is not only because its lyrics explore themes of evil wickedness and the black arts but also because those themes are reflected in both its music and the vocals that accompany that music. Droning feedback, raked strings and  menacing sound effects, over an ominous one note bass line, announce the arrival of the appropriately titled "Intro", its sinister dark atmospherics setting the tone for the rest of the album. The only word that could describe Chad Davis' guitar tone, on tracks like "Sacrifice", "Profane Pleasure" and the albums title track, is filthy.. a tone so drenched in distortion so overdriven with fuzz that it sounds like he's plugged into an amplifier built especially for him by the horned one himself,  De Tommaso's growling bass is no less impressive and gives the impression that he has eschewed the use of  traditional bass strings and opted for the stretched sinews of some hellish monstrosity, meanwhile Taranto plays his role as the anchorman to perfection by keeping everything tight, solid and economical thus allowing Davis and De Tommaso's guitar and bass to dictate rather than decorate the albums grooves. It is Gaglia's vocals however that really  put the "satanic" into the six "melodies" that make up this caustic collection.  Gaglia is probably better known for utilizing a distinctive garage/punk style sneer with his own band LáGoon however with The Crooked Whispers it would appear that he has undergone some form of demonic possession, not so much singing lines like "to die is your reward" and "I am the slave of Lucifer His darkness lives in me" as rasping them in tones both malevolent and sinister.

"Satanic Melodies" is not an easy listen by any stretch of the imagination, there are times throughout the album where some listeners may feel that a little more melody and a little less Satan would not have gone amiss, but that aside The Crooked Whispers have fulfilled their bargain with the Lord of the Flies and given him some of his best tunes in years!

Check 'em out..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Monday 10 August 2020



A "Mephistophelean trio from Athens, Greece" is how occult rock/doom trio Seer of the Void describe themselves and its not hard to understand why after hearing their debut release "Revenant" (Made Of Stone Recordings), The bands music, an enthralling blend of raucous guitar refrains and thundering rhythms, sits at the proto end of the doom spectrum but due to its vocals, which are positioned at the cleaner end of harsh, has a pleasing blackened edge perfectly suited to its dark occulti(sh) themes.

Things begin very promising indeed with first track "Prodigal Son", John Amariotakis' guitar and Greg "Maddog" Konstantaras' bass combining with Ilias Samartzis' drums to create a thunderous traditional doom groove over which Konstantaras roars lyrics telling us he's "the great deceiver", "the prodigal son" in tones grizzled and maniacal, the trio dropping into a Sabbath-esque flavoured gallop between verses to add balance and variety. "Venom Black" follows and finds the band putting the brakes on and delivering a groove that although not quite low and slow, in a Sleep/ Monolord sense, is definitely in that territory, the song also boasts an absolutely stunning neo-classical flavored solo from  Amariotakis that is as haunting as it is beautiful. Next up is "Sign of the Wolf" and here we find the band mixing up their traditional with their proto, the trio switching between these two dynamics with consummate ease thanks in main to Samartzis' incredible skill behind the traps. "Dullahan" rears its gnarly head next and sees the band jamming a groove that stutters and stammers beneath a superbly feral vocal from  Konstantaras, as well as some not too shoddy growling bass work, his slightly demonic rasps and roars adding a hellish edge to the proceeding yet, thanks to their clarity, avoid sounding forced or, as can sometimes be the case in vocals of this nature, coming over as slightly farcical.."Lysergus Mons" might suggest something psychedelic but actually what you get is a mix of galloping Sabbath-like swing and Electric Wizard type intensity twinned with powerful gnarled vocals and swirling blues flecked guitar solos. "Evil Orchid" and its follow up "Hellhound" are two deliriously devilish heavy tomes that should tick the boxes of any doom aficionado with a love of a dank, dark riff while closing track "Conform and Strive" confirms in its lyrics that "god hates us all" and shows in its music that Satan has all the best tunes.

Seer of the Void have with "Revenant" created an album that sits on the precipice between the traditional and proto dooms of yesteryear and the more harsher, blackened dooms of today and they have done so without leaning to far either way resulting in an impressive debut that should appeal to fans of both.

Check it out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 9 August 2020


Crunching power chords, thrusting rhythms  and strong throaty vocals all underscored with a hint of southern rock swagger can only mean one thing and that is Greece! Yes we are back in the birthplace of Western civilization again, the country that in the past gave us the foundations of philosophy, mathematics, literature and art but more recently has given us, with bands like Nightstalker, Routes and Planet of Zeus, raucous riffs and thunderous rhythms. 
Today we turn our attention towards the country's capital Athens and a little combo going by the name The DrawbacksAndreas (vocals); Manos (guitar); Vagelis (drums) and Giannis (bass), a band formed in 2016 and who with their debut full album "Lost In Time" are proving that Greece, despite all its recent economic woes, is still a force to be reckoned with.

If your a fan of the proto flavoured space rock of  USA's Monster Magnet and also have a penchant for the raucous grooves of Greece's Planet of Zeus then The Drawbacks might just be the band for you. These two comparisons are no better exemplified than on the debut albums opening track "Taxi Driver" a song that begins with crunching guitar motifs circling around growling bass and tight solid percussion over which throaty vocals venomously rasp and roar, al a Planet of Zeus,  then drops into a spaced out lysergic doomic groove, that is pure Monster Magnet, fleshed out with appropriately flavoured vocal tones. Now of course there is more to The Drawbacks musical canon than just an amalgamation of the styles of two fairly well respected stoner(ish) bands, The Drawbacks also draw heavily on the blues, classic rock and southern tinted hard rock for their inspiration. These elements make their presence felt  throughout "Lost In Time",  and especially on songs like "Brother", "Metaphor" and "Rising Sun", but even then it's hard not hear aspects of POZ and Monster Magnet's distinctive grooves rising to the top. This is due, in part, to the bands front man having a comparable larynx shredding roar to POZ's Babis Papanikolaou, at the top end of his range and  an uncannily similar tone to Monster Magnet's Dave Wyndorf at the lower end of his register, but is also due to the fact that the grooves the rest of the band surround those vocals with have elements of both these iconic bands in their makeup.

It is probably a little unfair to fill a review with comparisons to two other bands but the fact is that once heard those comparisons are extremely hard to unhear To their credit The Drawbacks manage to merge these two distinctive styles together on "Lost In Time" seamlessly while still managing to put their own signature on things, which is something that should be applauded and another good reason why "Lost In Time" is such a great listen and one you should most definitely check out.....

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Saturday 8 August 2020


Temple are a sort of loose "supergroup" project created by members of two of Sweden's finest exponents of riff based heavy rock, Surfing In Hell and Silver Devil. Now given their bands of origin it would be expected that Temple's line-up would be one that has a sound that leans towards the dark and doomic, and that expectation would be bang on the money, however Temple go that little bit further by managing to sound so much more doomic and darker on their debut release "Funeral Planet" (Ozium Records) than either of the bands that birthed them. 

Atmosphere is a intrinsic ingredient in any music of a doomic nature and "Funeral Planet" is an album drenched in the stuff, it is an album that has a cloying, almost claustrophobic, quality that gives the listener the feeling they being enveloped in a shroud of impenetrable darkness and debilitating despair.. Despite this murky air of melancholy and misery, evoked by the bands low slung downturned refrains, pounding rhythms and clean powerful monotonic vocal melodies , there are moments when the darkness lifts and an occasional shard of light is allowed to penetrate the gloom. It has to be said that these moments are rare and present themselves not as sudden descents into navel gazing post-rock ambience or upward flights into lysergic laced experimentation but as more of a stepping off of the intensity pedal and allowing a little light relief to permeate the dank miasma of depression and despair the band create with their lumbering grooves. Although few and far between it is these brief moments of respite that give balance to songs like "Sea of Grief", "Magma" and "Ashes" and stops them become an overwhelming onslaught of anguish and despondency, allowing the listener a chance to catch a breath of much needed fresh air before being dragged back into Temple's deliciously dark and deliriously dank swirling whirlpool of abject misery and despair.

If your a fan of bands like Windhand, Haunted (Italy) and Electric Wizard then Temple's "Funeral Planet" is an album that will tick all of your relevant boxes, it is an album that trades on treacle thick doomic riffage and ponderous thundering rhythms but also one that has a few unexpected surprises concealed within its black clad sleeves.
Check it out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Thursday 6 August 2020

BURN RITUAL ~ THE VOID ...... review

Q; When is a band no longer a band? A; When it's just one man! Ok Desert Psychlist supposes that deserves some sort of explanation, well here goes..... 
Burn Ritual was originally the solo project of multi-instrumentalist Jake Lewis who realized he'd stumbled onto something good when interest in his debut EP , "Like Suffering"  surpassed all of his expectations. For Burn Ritual's next album "Blood of the Raven" Lewis put together a band and once again was delighted with the response the album garnered from all quarters. Lewis, a man who always likes to keep busy, then went on to explore other musical avenues with his project Gypsybyrd, again to critical acclaim. Unfortunately by the time it came for Lewis to revive Burn Ritual for a new album Covid-19 had wreaked its havoc on the world and getting a band back together was no longer a viable proposition, so with Lewis being somewhat of a workaholic  the only option left was to bite the bullet and go back to doing everything himself., the results of which can be heard on Burn Ritual/Lewis' latest release " The Void" (vinyl; Kozmik Atifactz , CD/cassette Forbidden Place Records).

"The Void" opens its account with "Lust For The Dead" a number that begins with  Night Gallery/ Twilight Zone type sampled narrative, telling of voodoo and black magic, then segues into a proto-doomic groove driven by strong insistent rhythms and decorated with dark circular guitar refrains over which Lewis layers, ever so slightly sneered, vocals drenched in tones of wicked mischievousness. For title track "The Void" Lewis dials in his vocals distant, hazy and mantra(ish) over a plodding bass heavy doom groove interspersed with dank thrumming guitar textures resulting in a groove, not dissimilar to something Welsh weed rockers Dope Smoker might attempt, only with a slower thicker dynamic. "They Crawl" follows and here Lewis raises the tempo to rocking with a chugging riff that is probably more Budgie than it is Sabbath over which he injects an ear catching vocal hook and melody. Lewis goes back to the low, slow and heavy for "Bringer of Evil", a song that borders on the edges of stoner doom, while for "Mark of the Witch" he goes into full Sabbath mode with Ozzy(ish) nasal tones to the fore and Iommi-like riffage locked and loaded. Heavily distorted guitar introduces "Tranquilized" and again highlights Lewis' knack for combining might with melody, the songs thick recurring guitar refrain offset by Lewis'  vocal telling us in hazy clean tones to "look into my eyes, I'll tranquilize" . Next up is "The Conqueror" a brief but highly enjoyable lysergic laced instrumental built around a dark reverberating guitar motif, Proceedings are then brought to a close with "Evil Lie" a dark moody doomic tome made even more atmospheric by Lewis' use of  keyboards to add texture and depth to the songs already quite sinister aura.

Jake Lewis is a self confessed worshipper at the altar of Black Sabbath so it come as no surprise that much of what informs "The Void" has a strong Sabbathesque quality. Lewis, however, sets his grooves apart from others bands and artists, with similar Sabbath leanings, by not not going down the route of tying together a constant and shifting array of riffs to create one song but instead strips things back to just one or two to achieve an Indian drone like effect that when combined with his hazy vocals and lysergic laced guitar textures gives everything a very pleasing hypnotic feel, and results in eight songs that could easily be described as mystical mantra's for metalheads 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 4 August 2020


Step aboard Desert Psychlist's time machine and let us take you back to an age when women were often referred to as "chicks" and men were either a "dude" or a "brother". Yes we are taking you back to the seventies, that era of wide bottomed trousers and other questionable attire and the decade when rock music got serious. What, you may ask, will be fueling this trip back in time and the answer to that is grooves, those grooves are supplied by a quintet, hailing from the Balearic island of Majorca, Spain going by the name of Queen Marsa. Queen Marsa are Manuel Pintos (vocals).; Xavi Cárceles (guitar), Jaume Rado (guitar);Toni Coronado (bass) and Juan Bonet (drums), five musicians with a love of 70's hard rock who have just recently release their debut EP "Queen Marsa" (Discos Macarras Records)

If you are a Brit of certain age you will remember walking around cities and towns in the early 70's and seeing fly posters advertising gigs by bands with names like Rusty Butler, Strider, Warhorse and Stray as well as many that have now achieved cult status with fans of today's stoner, doom and psych scene like Budgie, Wild Turkey and May Blitz. If you were around at that time and do remember these bands or have fallen in love with their grooves after being introduced to their music by an older family member then Majorca's Queen Marsa are going to blow your mind! Many new bands toy with recreating a 70's sound but very few successfully nail the era's vibe, this is not the case with Queen MarsaQueen Marsa capture the feel and groove of the golden age of rock music, on songs like "Cyclops", "Ashes of Pompey" and "Bite My Soul", with such legitimacy and validity that it is often easy to forget you are listening to a band who were probably not even born when those bands mentioned earlier were in their prime. This stunning EP screams vintage rather than retro, its warmly fuzzed guitar tones possess no hints of overdriven harshness, it's lead breaks soar and scorch rather than scream, its bass lines are delivered deep and creamy and its percussion swings rather than pummels, in other words this is "classic" hard rock with a capital C. So what of the vocals you ask, often the clincher when listening to grooves of a more "classic" nature, well the vocals surpass all expectations and are the cherry on what is already a particularly tasty cake. Pintos voice is like a cross between Budgie's Burke Shelley and Wild Turkey's Gary Pickford-Hopkins, with a little Bon Scott, thrown in for good measure, his vocals contain just the right balance of gritty bluesiness and soulful power to do justice to the classic flavored grooves circling around them and take everything they touch to an altogether other level of awesomeness.

There are plenty of bands out there jamming grooves inspired by music from the 70's but there are only a very few who truly understand and have a feel for that music, Queen Marsa have that feel and that understanding plus an unshakable belief that there is still a place for good honest rock in today's overcrowded genre pool... and after one listen to "Queen Marsa" we think you'll be agreeing with them.
Check it out ....

© 2020 Frazer Jones