Sunday 25 October 2020


Last year (2019) an EP appeared on Desert Psychlist's radar and although it didn't quite blow us away it did certainly peak our interest, that EP came from a trio hailing from Lyon, France who went by the name Occult Hand Order. The bands EP contained four songs that blended elements of stonerized doom with post-rock and heavy psych while also nodding its head towards aspects of raucous desert rock. Although "Occult Hand Order" was a very impressive collection of well performed and arranged tunes it did lack that little undefinable something that would've made it a great release. A year has gone by since "Occult Hand Order" was released and in that time the band seem to have discovered that little something missing from their debut and have applied it to their latest release "The Chained The Burned The Wounded", and man it has made a world of difference"

The three skinless bodies looming over a desert landscape, seemingly pointing at an illuminati styled all seeing eye, that adorns the cover artwork of "The Chained The Burned The Wounded" is not wholly indicative of the grooves lying therein but it does give the potential listener an idea that those grooves inside are likely to be a little less on the raunchy, four to the floor side and may lean towards a more cerebral dynamic. That potential listener would be right on the money for Occult Hand Order's new release is not an album you would expect to hear blasting out at a party, this is an album you will want to retreat into a darkened room with, an album to listen to while drinking something a little stronger than tea and maybe smoking something more exotic than a Marlboro. Intelligent stonerized doom are the words that keep spinning around in Desert Psychlist's head as we listen to first track "Azazel", it's slow deliberate guitar refrains, pushed hard by deep thrumming bass and ponderous but thundering percussion, are further enhanced by ringing arpeggios, fractured chord progressions and a vocal that is just a semi-tone above monastic. Next track "What Comes After Us" begins its journey more or less where "Azazel" left off but then suddenly changes direction and takes off on a chugging, almost proto-doom groove only then to, seconds afterwards, shift into something that could be described as heavy psychedelic post-rock, the vocalist telling us that "Pain is what we desire" in tones serious and mournful. "Wound" follows and boasts a superbly pitched vocal floating over echo laden guitar tones and militaristic drumming before taking off into a heavy doomic groove around which dissonant guitar solo's screech and squall. "Edwin The Wise" begins life with quiet intensity, clean clear monastic toned vocals floating over a throbbing post-rock flavoured backdrop, but then suddenly shifts into a stuttering stoner doomic groove around which screaming guitar solo's swoop and soar only just tethered to the ground by some absolutely thunderous percussion. Instead of going out with a bang Occult Hand Order decide to go out in a blaze of bliss with "Shore" a song that sees acoustic guitars strumming gentle chords beneath a beautifully delivered vocal that tells, in mellow considered tones, an emotive and reflective tale of a life full undelivered promise.

"The Chained The Burned The Wounded" is an expansive and intelligent release full of surprising little twists and turns that you don't see coming until they are suddenly swirling all around you. It is an album full of intensity and heaviness yet balanced out with moments of serenity and beauty and it is this seamless blending of opposing dynamics that makes Occult Hand Order's debut full length album such  an essential and rewarding listening experience.
Check it out .... 

© 2020 Frazer jones


  1. magnificent musical notes with that softness and heaviness at the same time with a great singer. sensational