Psychedelic doom with a bluesy undercurrent is probably the best way to describe Giants Dwarfs and Black Holes sound but even then that would not be quite telling the whole story as there is a magic ingredient here that takes the bands sound out of the realms of ordinary and into the realms of something else, what that something else is Desert Psychlist is not quite sure of yet, but what we can tell you is that we like it, a lot! Maybe it's Luzzi's unique, distinctive and sultry jazz-flecked vocal tones that sets GDABH's sound ahead of the curve, maybe it is Roland's warmly fuzzed riffs, scorching lead work and ringing arpeggios that lifts songs like "Blood Moon", "December Bloom" and "In The Circle" to a place of musical excellence many bands would struggle to ascend to, or maybe its the combination of Tomasz's liquid bass runs and Carsten's solid and economical percussion that sets the band apart from the following crowd, we don't know, but whatever it is it works.
Tuesday, 29 September 2020
GIANTS DWARFS AND BLACK HOLES ~ EVERWILL .... review
Monday, 28 September 2020
NARCOSIS ~ LEAP OF FAITH .....review
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a major effect on the music industry with bands unable to tour/gig or even get together to rehearse, it has also had, to a minor degree, an effect on Desert Psychlist too. With so many bands out there with something to promote and a lack of avenues to promote those albums many have turned to blog sites and podcasts to push their wares which in turn has resulted in an absolute avalanche of review requests hitting DP's inbox over the last few months. This influx has resulted in us running late on a few notable releases that we would of otherwise have, in normal circumstances, reported on much earlier. One of those "notable" releases comes from a Greek three-piece from Athens going by the name Narcosis, Marios Kostas Pappas (guitar/vocals); Jon Toussas (bass) and Zois Giftopoulos (drums), who in April of this year (2020) released their second full length album "Leap of Faith"
Unlike many of the leading lights of the Greek underground scene, who take their influences from the hard rock of the mid to late 70's, Narcosis use the 90's as their muse. The 90's was a time when alt-rock/grunge bands were starting to make their presence felt on a music scene that was slowly divorcing itself from the mascara wearing glam rockers of 80's, it was also around this time that kids in the desert areas of Southern California were wildly throwing their bodies around to something that the media would eventually dub "desert rock". It is these two styles of music, seamlessly and cleverly merged together, that forms the basis around which Narcosis have built their grooves resulting in a sound that utilizes the quiet/loud/quiet dynamics of the likes of Nirvana, Alice In Chains and bands of that ilk and mixes them with the gritty drive and lysergic textures of bands like Kyuss, Fatso Jetson and Fu Manchu. Of course to make this merging of styles work you've got to have the songwriting and arrangement skills that can enable you to pull off this blending without sounding like you are trying to force the issue and Narcosis have these skills in abundance. Songs like "Emperor", title track "Leap of Faith", "Side Effect" and "Poison Cup" ebb and flow like waves breaking on a rocky beach, moments of quiet ambience and gentle restraint suddenly shattered by crunching guitar riffs, growling bass and thunderous percussion both dynamics decorated in a mixture of smooth clean and grittily rasped vocal tones.
Saturday, 26 September 2020
ROLLIN' DICE ~ REROLL ...... review
Thursday, 24 September 2020
SOMNUS THRONE ~ SOMNUS THRONE ...... review
Somnus Throne are Evan (guitar/vocals); Haley (bass) and Luke (drums) a band who pride themselves as coming from "all over the USA", a trio of wandering vagabonds and musical miscreants who have, over a period of time, come together, drifted apart and then come together again. Whether this latest coming together will last, given the nomadic lifestyles of the bands members, is anyone's guess but if it is the case that history repeats itself and wander lust once again finds the band parting company then at least we will have, in this their debut album "Somnus Throne" (Burning World Records), a document of their existence.
Things begin a little weird and freaky with opening track "Caliphate Obeisance", its utilization of sampled narrative, stating that we the listener may be "especially interested in our novel and quaint gourmets drug culture", is followed by thick dark droning distortion and unsettling vocal effects. This weirdness soon fades away though and is replaced by a circular and slightly off-kilter guitar motif that serves, along with another piece of cleverly placed narrative, as the introduction to the albums next track. That track, "Sadomancer", is a blustering, swaggering stoner doomic tome built around heavily phased guitar refrains, rumbling bass riffs and thundering percussion that is then decorated in vocals that although slightly monotonic and one dimensional are nonetheless pleasingly melodic. For next song "Shadow Heathen" Somnus Throne move slightly more into heavy psych territory, the band experimenting with eastern themes and space rock dynamics around a strident and highly addictive vocal melody enhanced by a truly emotive blues flecked guitar solo. "Receptor Antagonist" follows and is a huge sprawling low slung tome with a groove that is dark, dank and utterly delightful, if somewhat disturbing and dissonant. Final song "Aetheronaut - Permadose" sees Somnus Throne placing all their eggs in one basket and putting all their dooms , traditional,/stoner and psychedelic, into one big melting pot of groove that also sees the vocals constantly shifting between growled and grizzly and clean and harmonious.
Wednesday, 23 September 2020
PARANOID REVERB ~ BILLION DROPS .... review
Strap yourselves in, you are about to be taken on a ride through raunchy stonerized hard rock territories with only the occasional detours into mellower waters to catch your breath. Please do not try to leave the vehicle during this journey as this could result in you seriously missing out on some damn fine grooviness! Your drivers on this journey will be Christos Papaioannou ( vocals); Themis Georgiades (guitars); Petros Xevgenis (guitars); Timos Tyflioris (bass) and Xenofon Zafiropoulos (drums/percussion), who collectively answer to the name Paranoid Reverb, the vehicle you will be riding in is called "Billion Drops", a new model manufactured by Made of Stone Recordings.
Ok the intro piece to this review does have an essence of tongue in cheek humour about it but there is no getting away from the fact that with "Billion Drops" it does feel like Paranoid Reverb are taking the listener on a journey of sorts. From the ear pinning crunch'n'roll of opening track "Maze" through to the start quiet/get loud//finish quiet dynamics of "Explode" Paranoid Reverb grab the listener by the scruff of the neck and drag him/her with them, refusing to let go until they have delivered that very last note. This is a band that are not all about the crunch either they have a soulful melancholic side to them too, as demonstrated on the albums two slow burners "Rain" and "Angry Sun", both of which climb to noisy crescendo's but do so from humble and tranquil beginnings. Musically the band are unfaultable, Georgiades and Xevgenis' guitars weave in and around each other sometimes playing off each other, sometimes sparring for dominance, Tyflioris' holds down the bottom end superbly his bass growling and booming like rumbling thunder while Zafiropoulos' holds the groove together with some impressive busy and industrious drumming. If you write songs that tell stories then you need a narrator who can do justice to those stories, in Christos Papaioannou Paranoid Reverb have a storyteller of rare quality, his huge graveled tones roar croon and howl with soulful gravitas and have that lived in quality perfect for music of this ilk.
Tuesday, 22 September 2020
NOMADAS ~ ARMAGEDDON ....review
If you are not from a Spanish speaking country and the last eight words of this reviews intro piece has put you off checking out Nomadas' debut release then you, my friend, are going to be seriously missing out. Of course understanding Spanish will add an extra element of enjoyment when listening to Nomadas' incendiary grooves but it is not essential, for those of you non-Spanish speaking readers (myself included) it is enough just to enjoy the tones, inflections and power of Tiare Echeverria's vocals as she roars, croons and soars over the powerful refrains and rhythms that surround her emotive voice.
Title track "Armageddon" opens proceedings with muted trumpet blown over a backdrop of tribal percussion, an obvious reference to Gabriel's Horn announcing Judgement Day, then segues into a mid-tempo groove replete with a chugging palm muted guitar refrain, Echeverria's vocal rising and falling in undulating waves of emotional gravitas over a backdrop of restrained, but nonetheless heavy, doomic groove. "Acechado" follows and raises the temperature and the tempo by exploding into a galloping metallic groove that sees Echeverria trading the spotlight with some fiery lead work from Bugueño, the guitarists solo only stopping short of screaming due to the amount of fuzz and distortion he has dialed into it."Gente sombra" is up next and maintains the galloping pace of its predecessor but here we find Echeverria sharing chorus duties with bassist Ventura, his deeper tones the perfect foil for her more soulful vocal outpourings."Espectros" explodes out of the speakers like a greyhound on steroids with San Martin going hell for leather on the drums, Bugueño's bass growling, Ventura's guitar screaming and Echeverria's impassioned vocal soaring powerfully overhead. We made mention earlier of the "heavy desert" aspects of Namadas' sound and where better than to highlight that side of their sound than on a song called "Desierto" (translation:desert), a song built around a recurring circular guitar motif that just screams dunes, cactus and heat. "Arena negra" and "Impulsos deponder" follow much the blueprint the band lay down on the rest of the album, both are full on heavy desert outings drenched in raucous riffage, screaming guitar solos and incredibly powerful percussion and both perfectly frame Echeverria's powerful distinctive vocals. It is almost heartbreaking that an album this good has to come to an end but if you've got to go out then you should go out with a bang and Nomadas go out with a virtual nuclear explosion with "Insomnio" a song that sees Echeverria trading off vocals with Ventura over a groove that in places drools and snarls like a rabid dog and in others takes off on lysergic journeys into the cosmos.
Monday, 21 September 2020
DOOMSLANG ~ PIER DELLA VIGNA ..... review
If you are a fan of such occult/doom luminaries as Blood Ceremony, The Devil's Blood and Witch Mountain then you can't fail to be impressed by Doomslang's brand of doomic attack, the bands music possessing a very much similar mix of muscular doom and melodic hard rock to those bands mentioned. Much like Witch Mountain Doomslang are heavy but not in the sense of say a YOB or a Monolord, Doomslang's heaviness comes more from the atmospherics they create within their music than the volume they play at or how low they tune their strings. Having said this there is plenty of bluster and growl to be found in Doomslang's grooves it just that they don't try to bludgeon you to death with them. Doomslang have songs too, there is no stringing a few rhyming couplets around relentless riffage to be found here, songs like opener "Pier Della Vigna/Burning Light" and the prophetic "Vision of the Death" are cleverly structured, both musically and lyrically, to keep the listeners interest from start to finish. It does help the bands cause that their grooves are fronted by a singer whose voice, although not the powerfullest, is nonetheless strong, distinctive and pleasing to the ear. Nasar's vocals are pitched to perfection throughout the EP's four sonic offerings, her voice cuts through the superbly crafted grooves Biaggio, Leal and Gusthavo lay all around her without her once having to go overboard into diva like histrionics, her slightly untamed tones an effective foil against the barrages of proto flavoured doom they spearhead. It has to be said that there is a certain rawness and naivety to Doomslang's debut EP but it also has to be said that it is this rawness and naivety that is also its greatest asset.
Friday, 18 September 2020
HONEYBADGER ~ PLEASURE DELAYER ..... review
Honeybadger, Dimitris Vardoulakis (vocals/guitars); Dimitris Giannakopoulos (guitars); Dimitris Υannopoulos (bass) and Vaggelis Oikonomou (drums/percussion), are four Athenians on a mission, that mission is to bring groove and melody back to a rock scene that has sadly seen a decline in those qualities over recent years. A mission needs a statement of intent, something to outline your aims, something your supporters can rally behind and say "this is what we want" and in the bands debut full release " Pleasure Delayer" Honeybadger have put together a manifesto that will have fans of good honest rock music flocking to their flag!
Check it out ....
© 2020 Frazer Jones
Wednesday, 9 September 2020
THE BROTHERS KEG ~ FOLKLORE, MYTHS AND LEGENDS OF THE BROTHERS KEG .... review
The Brothers Keg are a Psychedelic Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal Band consisting of Psych Stoner Rockers STUBB members Tom Fyfe on drums and Tom Hobson on lead guitar/vocals. Helping round up this highly talented trio is Paul Rosser on bass/vocals.
The opening song - "Morsemen" - fully gets the ball moving with a nine minute blast of Mastodon based grooves but with a more Punk Rock aesthetic allowing The Brothers Keg to have fun with their music and bringing a more adventurous lo-fi drive to the album. The vocals from Tom and Paul are grounded with the heavy guitars and drumming thus setting a battle like atmosphere for the later stages of the story and album to thrive upon.
The album has a few short narrated interludes driving the story along and it’s a cool touch as this helps make you feel part of the story. The second track "From The Records Of Arthur Shnee" is one of these interludes and leads into another exciting chapter of The Brothers Keg with "No Earthly Form".
"No Earthly Form" has a more Drone based quality to it ,especially in its the vocals, with the heavy grimy sounding guitars reminding myself of BEASTWARS in certain places. The story feels like it takes a different direction here but it all comes together on the later stages of the album. This song, another powerful slab of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Metal, comes alive when the band slow things right down and then play some brutally heavy riffs, riffs that made my head-bang and caused me to lose myself in the moment.
The rest of the album continues with the exciting battle that The Brothers Keg lead you upon with three more songs and more brilliantly entertaining riffs that will impress even the most jaded Rock/Metal fan currently out there
Kudos to APF Records for releasing this album. I’m hoping this gets the Vinyl treatment in the future, as I for one would definitely buy a copy as this is easily one of the best debut albums i've heard in a long time.
Words by Steve Howe
Saturday, 5 September 2020
MuN ~ PRESOMNIA .... review
"Presomnia" opens with "Intro" a brief instrumental decorated with drone effects, circular guitar motifs and tribal tinted percussion that then gradually fades away and then swells into existence again as the intro for its following track "Scowl". "Scowl" is a superb indication of how far MuN have progressed since their last release, not only as musicians but also as songwriters/arrangers, the song containing all the elements toyed and experimented with on the bands previous releases but adding to that mix a grittier, harsher edge that, although wasn't exactly missing from "Axis Mundi" and "Opia", is here ramped up to the nth degree. This "ramping up" in both musicality and intensity runs throughout the seven songs that make up "Presomnia" and when combined with the wider spectrum of vocal tones employed makes for a far more immersive and satisfying listening experience. This is especially evident on songs like "Arthur" and "Verity" where the grooves regularly transition between gentle post-rock ambience and crunching brutality and the vocals can shift from melodic growls to harsh feral roars in an instant. The band are also not afraid to get a little relentless either as the ferocious "Deceit" will attest to, a song that does not only pin you to the wall with its savage onslaught it pushes you through it! The album finishes with an epic in the shape of "Decree" a song that takes all the elements visited and experimented with on the albums previous songs and wraps them all together in one song, complex chord structures, bone-shaking bass motifs and intricate rhythmic patterns coupling with hushed vocal crooning, monastic chants and guttural growls to create something that is truly quite breathtaking and utterly mind-blowing.
Friday, 4 September 2020
DEATHGANG ~ ....AN END TO ILL OMENS ........ review
Last year (2019) we reviewed a release called "Under The Human State" by an Indonesian band going by the name Shankar, we described the album as one of the best albums, of that year, released outside of the usual stamping grounds of The America's and Europe. This year (2020) that award/honour could well be bestowed on yet another release from an Indonesian collective, an album entitled "....An End to Ill Omens" (The Swamp Records) by a Yogyakarta based combo going by the name of Deathgang.
Deathgang's musical attack sits primarily within the canon of stoner doom, a genre known for its thick glutinous downtuned guitar refrains and pounding slightly pedestrian percussion, and Deathgang's debut does not disappoint on either score, the band delivering, via four tracks, all you would come to expect from music pitched at the stoner end of the doom spectrum. So why, you may ask, is Desert Psychlist touting this as "a must check out" release when there are so many other albums of a similar dynamic out there that you could be listening to? The answer to that is the vocals, Deathgang's songs are decorated in vocals that can only be described as "unique", imagine, if you can, your deceased drunken uncle emerging from his grave still drunk, a bottle in one hand a bong in the other and singing through a mouth still half filled with the soil he was buried in and you might, just might, get an idea of why we are calling these vocals "unique"! It is these vocals, telling of electric children and black suns rising ("Canathoid"), witches and dopelords ("Dope Tales from Salem") and immortal wine ("Dionyfuzz") backed by some seriously impressive swirling dank doomic grooves, that takes "....An End To Ill Omens" out of the realms of just being seen as some run of the mill stoner doom release from a new band into being a serious contender for essential stoner doom listen of the year.