Monday 30 November 2020

TENCODE (10 Code) ~ RIDE .......

C'mon be honest , you knew it wouldn't be long before Desert Psychlist dragged you kicking and screaming back to Greece to check out yet another of the countries ever-growing roster of kick-ass bands but as the self-appointed ministers for Greek underground culture Desert Psychlist feels it is our duty. Today we introduce you to a quartet going by the name Tencode (also known as 10 Code), the band, Petros Potamianos (vocals, guitar), Apostolos Boules (guitar), Haris Anagnostou (drums) and George Paraskevopoulos (bass), hail from Athens and jam a groove that takes a little classic/hard rock, sprinkles it with a pinch of grungy alt-rock and then tops it all off with with some nicely warmed stoner fuzz,  a recipe that makes their latest release "Ride" a very tasty dish indeed.

There is a whiff of Audioslave's "Cochise" about "Let Go", the track that opens "Ride", not so much in its vocal delivery or overall sound but more in the manner of its attack, Audioslave were making a statement with their debut single, announcing their arrival with a full on metallic onslaught and "Let Go" has very much that same feel. Given this information it is not hard to come to the conclusion that 10 Code are a band who take their influences from the heavier end of the grunge/alt-rock scene, especially the aforementioned Audioslave and Soundgarden, but you will also hear elements garnered from the full spectrum of the rock canon scattered throughout the eight tracks that make up "Ride" with aspects of 70's hard rock and 90's stoner rock all making their presence felt on songs like "Be Nothing", "I Rule The World" and "Inside Your Head". 10 Code are not averse to wading into more mainstream waters either, title track "Ride" having the sort of crossover appeal that could easily see it gracing the playlists of commercial rock radio. Musically the band are as tight as a Boa Constrictors grip on its prey, guitarists Boules and Potamianos' trade off of crunching powerchords, tasty licks and searing solos are perfectly complimented by Paraskevopoulos' throbbing bass lines and Anagnostou's industrious and solid drumming, it is however Boules powerhouse vocals that the listener will probably come away remembering the most, the guitarist/vocalist does not quite have the range of a Chris Cornell or a Myles Kennedy but he does his damn best to come close.

10 Code have a sound that probably comes across a little more sophisticated and polished than many of the Greek bands Desert Psychlist has covered on these hallowed pages but do not mistake sophisticated and polished for lightweight and lame, 10 Code have the melodies and the hooks but they also have the might!
Check 'em out ....

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 29 November 2020


Troll Teeth, J.W. "Moe" Eccles (bass/vocals); Peter "Pretty Boy" Trafalski (guitar) and Kyle "Thuds" Applebaum (drums), hail from New Jersey, USA, the band have gone through numerous comings and goings since their formation but whatever the line up the onus has always been on delivering grooves of the very highest standard and that standard could not come any higher than the grooves delivered on the bands third album "Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing"(Electric Talon Records).

Troll Teeth have saved Desert Psychlist the job of describing what they do musically by writing on their Bandcamp page the legend "heavy, catchy riffs played for a while with some sweet, velvety lyrics". Now we could leave it at just that and move on to another review, especially as it is a very apt and fitting description, but us being us we feel we have to elaborate on that statement. 
Catchy is a term used in music to describe riffs, melodies and grooves that hit the ear and stay there, well placed hooks that grab a listeners attention and then reels them in like an angler playing a fish. "Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing" is packed solid with these hooks but doubles up their impact by tying them into a sci-fi themed concept that tells of a mission that descends into a nightmare. Unlike some concepts that tend to go off on tangents "Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing" tells its story much like a comic novel, each song being a chapter and each chapter/song following on from the previous one. "Sword of Progress" opens the story by describing our heroes beginning their journey full of hope and excitement, eager for adventure against a backdrop of chugging upbeat guitar riffage driven by a solid tight rhythm section around which clean, clear vocals tell of a trip that will take "us to whole new worlds". Following track " Trapped In a Bottle" comes in two distinctive parts, the first part tells of an untested commander, and the slight resentment of a crew being told what to do by a man unproven, and is backed by fractured, heavily effected, guitar chords reverberating over a spaced out lysergic groove, while the second part tells of a distress call that changes everything and finds the band falling into a stonerized bluesy groove replete with swirling guitar solos, growling bass and heavier more thunderous percussion. "All Hands On Deck" describes our crew apprehensive but excited by their new unexpected rescue mission and has a more stonier doomier musical vibe while following track "Reconnoiter" has a spacey hard rock groove and depicts some of the crew beamed down to the surface of an unexplored planet with apprehension being slowly replaced by fear as they get their first glimpses of something ominous afoot. "Turncoat" tells of betrayal and lies over a backdrop of strident percussion and grizzled bass that is decorated with screaming guitar solos that at times border on dissonant but are, at all times, totally mind-blowing, the last lines of the songs lyrics, "Not a word can be said If anyone asks they were already dead" telling you all you need to know, not only about the calibre of the man in charge of this mission, but also the fate of those men he leaves behind. "Running Out of Time" uses a mixture of Caribbean pulses, space-rock swirls and bluesy heavy psych to tell its tales of denial and accusation, its atmospheric, mournful meter boasting some of the best feel based guitar playing Desert Psychlist has heard in a long, long time. The prog(ish) "Emergency" follows and throws an interesting twist into the story, was the distress call that brought the crew here actually them and are they somehow caught in a ever revolving time loop cursed to relive their experiences over and over again. That question is somewhat answered by the songs final verse and the line " This loop - goes on - and on and on". The twelve minute plus epic "Kokabiel" closes proceedings and finds the so called monster of this piece, a huge space spider,  telling his side of the story to a soundtrack of some of the best blues based heavy psych you are likely to experience this side of this coming new year, or for that matter the next one.

Concept albums are always a little hit or miss but Troll Teeth's " Goes Nowhere, Does Nothing" is all hit! This is a concept that tells its story just how you might read it from a book, easy to follow, full of the requisite villains and monsters that you would expect from a good tale but also with just the right amount of mystery and ambiguity to keep you guessing. The fact that Troll Teeth back this concept with complex intricate music of, what can only be described as, the highest quality is testament to not only their ability to tell a story but also their skill as musicians and songwriters.
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Monday 23 November 2020


 Desert Psychlist has struggled before with trying to describe music to our readers that doesn't quite fit into those neat little boxes we often use to compartmentalize the music we listen to but the album we are reviewing today has been our hardest challenge to date. "Royal Rum Board Night" is an album from Sin, a power trio from Rennes, France whose only rule is to not have any rules, they are a band who don't observe boundaries or borders, a band who are fearless and unwilling to compromise, a band who are unpredictable and above all exciting!

If there was any justice in this world then Gus Paulhan (guitar/lead vocals/keys/percussions/mandolin) Célestin Herault (bass/vocals/violin/assorted noises) and Flav Gouault (drums/vocals/percussion) would be carried shoulder high through our streets, lauded as saviors of intelligent rock music, heirs apparent to the crowns of Elder and All Them Witches, unfortunately that will probably not happen. Why this will not happen is because Sin are probably a little too eclectic, too angular and too diverse for their own good, the bands penchant for skipping across genres and styles with their music being probably a stretch too far for the casual rock fan to take in all at once. However for those with a broader musical palette Sin are like manna from heaven, a band who are a sum of their influences, influences that include such opposing elements as jazz, pop, prog and math rock as well as the usual suspects of stoner rock, psych and doom. Nothing is a given with "Royal Rum Board Night" songs like "Quintessence", "What If...", "Purpose" and "Watching" may start their journey's on one path but very rarely do they stay on that path, a brutal riff can at any moment make way for a ringing arpeggio, a section of post-rock ambience may suddenly morph into a swirling heavy psych freak-out, all of which are decorated in a mix of clean lead and harmonized vocals  It is this unpredictability of moods and the bands refusal to conform to a stereotypical rock blueprint that make listening to "Royal Rum Board Night" at times challenging but always exciting.

Someone once said "he who is without sin shall cast the first stone" well do yourselves a massive favor, put down your stones and get yourself some Sin, you won't regret it!
Check 'em out

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 22 November 2020


This is the first time Desert Psychlist has reviewed an album from Colombia and hopefully it will not be the last, unfortunately there is not much information to be found concerning the "underground" rock scene in Colombia so we are flying a little blind in regards to reporting on how healthy the scene is over there. We can however point you in the direction of the one Colombian band we do know of, a trio from Bogotá going by the name Surtidora de Ratas. whose instrumental jams are infused with elements of doom, punk and stoner/hard rock but could probably be better summed up as heavy psych. The band have been busy lately releasing two albums, "Siniestros, orgias y gozos en el año de la rata" and "Plegarias para embriagar las ánimas de las ratas", within days of each other, both albums are worthy of attention but for purposes of space and time we will concentrate on the latter.

Of all the instrumental bands out there it could be said that Surtidora de Ratas' sonic attack is probably closer in sound to that of Clouds Taste Satanic, than it is to say a band like Iglesia Atomica or Comacozer, in that it has a harder more darker doomic dynamic. This is not to say that the Colombian band do not take off on similar tangents into the cosmos just that when they do they tend to avoid the tourist traps and instead explore the danker murkier backstreets. Take first track "Útero lisérgico" for instance, you get a barrage of heavily distorted guitar, driven by thrumming bass and superbly delivered percussion, going around in what seems like endless circles but whereas another band might layer this all with endless screeching guitar solo's Surtidora de Ratas keep things low key and dark, those solo's are there but they are pushed a little further back in the mix so that instead of overpowering the songs groove they add texture to it. This darker dynamic runs through all ten of the tracks of "Plegarias para embriagar las ánimas de las ratas" with songs like "El valle de las prostitutas", "Reencarnación en año bisiesto" and "El fuego camina conmigo" all sharing a modicum of gritty gravitas, but  Surtidora de Ratas are not a band who are content just to wade in dark waters they are also just as able to get reflective and bluesy ("Acid devil invocation party") as they are to get a little punky and lysergic ("Reencarnación en año bisiesto") both of which they do very well indeed.

The concept behind "Plegarias para embriagar las ánimas de las ratas", and for that matter its sister album "Siniestros, orgias y gozos en el año de la rata", is that of a musical interpretation of the darker side of urban life, a series of sonic snapshots of those parts of a city we know exist but try not to acknowledge or just simply ignore and as concepts go we think it works pretty well.
Check it out .... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Friday 20 November 2020


The Dutch always seem to bring that something extra to the party in regards to rock music, back in the day it was Focus and Golden Earring turning up with yodels and killer bass lines, later on it was The Devil's Blood sweeping the tables clear of food and drink to indulge in their Satanic rituals. This year the party crashers with that extra added something are Thammuz, a collective hailing from Gelderland, a province close to the Dutch border with Germany. Thammuz are the coming together of musicians from two Dutch bands, Dreckneck and Fuzzboar, their aim is to merge their love of all things psychedelic with their love of a heavy groove, to see if they have achieved that aim Desert Psychlist took their debut full length "Into The Great Unknown" for a spin..

The aptly titled "Intro" kicks things off with 35 seconds of sonic mayhem that then segues into "Speed Machine" a song that comes across like a stonerized desert version of Deep Purple's "Highway Star" but without the references to engines and wheels, its vocal boasting, in graveled tones, of letting "demon's tell me where to go" and "going fast like you never seen" against a backdrop of infectious gnarly assed desert groove. Title track " Into The Great Unknown" raises both the heat and tempo by bursting from the speakers in a explosion of heavily fuzzed guitar and bass refrains driven by punishing strident percussion, the songs full on punkish vocal delivery the perfect match for the songs aggressive attack. "Memoirs" follows and here we find the band stepping off the gas and displaying their psychedelic chops with gentle guitar arpeggios ringing over liquid bass lines and restrained percussion while voices tells us, in detached tones, of dark memories probably best forgotten. Next track "Slow" has a bluesy almost classic rock feel, its vocals, delivered in a weary baritone over a relaxed mid tempo groove, have a warm seductive feel only really taking off into harsher territories when the song breaks into its repeated chorus. "Good Behavior" defies its title by erupting into an in your face fest of raucous fuzzed out guitar riffage and thundering rhythms decorated in aggressive vocals while next track "Thammuz" finds the band plunging into a lysergic laced doomic instrumental replete with scorching off kilter guitar solos swooping and swirling over and around a backdrop of growling bass and pummeling percussion. "Absolution". although boasting a very doomic title, finds Thammuz heading once again back into desert rock territory, the song reviving the classic rock stance they took on "Slow" but this time swapping those bluesy elements for a more hard rock dynamic. Penultimate track "Fake It" mixes its punk with its stoner to create a cocktail of punkish swagger and hard rock bluster that wouldn't have sounded out of place if it had been accidently included on a compilation of grooves documenting an early 90's Palm Desert generator party. Thammuz finally bring things to a close with "Wizard Sleeve" an instrumental that weaves all the threads of Thammuz's styles, influences and musical preferences together in a stunning musical tapestry of deliciously eclectic groove.

As we said in our opening piece to this review Dutch bands always bring something a little extra to the party and in Thammuz's case that something extra can be found in the diversity of the bands musical attack. Thammuz are a band who can take you by the hand and dance you down long dusty desert highways, they can evoke nightmares with their dank doomic dirges, they can take you on psychedelic journey's into the cosmos and they can rip your face off with their aggressive punk-like ferocity, the fact that they can do all this while still retaining their own signature sound is not only impressive's damn mind-blowing!
Check 'em out ...

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 18 November 2020

DRUG BEARD ~ DRUG BEARD ..... review

Desert Psychlist has to confess to being a little late wrapping our ears around Drug Beard's self titled debut "Drug Beard" as it got a little buried beneath what was a virtual avalanche of quality new releases that hit our desk in the month of October. When "Drug Beard" did raise its gnarly head from that pile however we soon came to the realization that this was an album of equal quality to those it had been languishing under and there was no way we could allow this album to pass us by without penning a few well chosen words on its many merits, so here goes..... 

Drug Beard are Jeff Gallagher (guitar,/bass/vocals); Johnny Busher (lead vocals/percussion) and Todd Molinaro (guitar/vocals), a trio from Pennsylvania whose take on doom is one with a heavy leaning towards the trippier end of the genre's spectrum and who are a band with a strong penchant for tongue in cheek song titles. Although there is a certain amount of humour attached to songs with titles like "Hang Gliding With Hawks", "Wall To Wall Satan" and "Hessian Gynecology" the actual songs themselves are played with a stony (or should that read stoned) straight faced seriousness in a style that suggests that the "drug" part of the bands name was not chosen at random. Drug Beard are a band who utilize a low, slow and heavy dynamic with which to frame their songs and they decorate those dynamics in hazy slightly wasted vocal tones, however unlike many of their contemporaries (Sleep for instance), who often toy with aspects of drug culture in their music and image but equally often sound like they are playing it straight in the studio, Drug Beard have a sound that intimates pharmaceuticals may well have played their part in the bands musical processes. 

Those that remember simpler times when drugs were often referred to as either "uppers or downers", will recall that music of a heavier nature was often described as "downer rock" well Drug Beard could well be considered as the poster boys for a new wave  of "downer rock" We mentioned low, slow and heavy in describing Drug Beard's sonic attack but maybe a better description would be low, slow, heavy and totally off its tits!
Check 'em out .... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 17 November 2020

EL ROJO ~ EL DIABLO ROJO ....... review

Evo Borruso
(vocals); Fabrizio Miceli (guitar); Fabrizio Vuerre (guitar); Pasquale Carapella (bass) and Antonio Rimolo (drums) are El Rojo, a five piece stoner/desert collective from Morano Calabro, Italy with groove in their hearts and fuzz flowing through their veins. The band have just released "El Diablo Rojo", the follow up to their well received debut "16 Inches Radial", and if you like your grooves raucous, rockin' and righteous then you are in for a treat!

 If you were a fan of that first wave of desert rock bands ,who were birthed from those generator parties that gave us the likes of  Kyuss, Dozer and Yawning Man, then El Rojo's raucous refrains and strident grooves are going to go down very well with you. Not many realize that it was punk rock and not the hard rock of the 70's that was the major influence on those early desert bands and that those hard rock edges only started to really creep into the scene much later on down the line. El Rojo are a band who's music mirrors that transition from a rawer punk sound to a more harder rock dynamic, their raucous buzzsaw guitar riffs have the aggressive edge you would expect from grooves that border on punkish but are tempered by the type of catchy hooks and swirling guitar solos you would more likely encounter from bands who take their influences from the 70's. Of course the appeal of an album packed with songs that are just a relentless assault of raucous fuzzed out riffs and full on rhythms is going to wear thin after a while and so El Rojo vary things up by throwing in to some of their songs a variety of curveball elements, like on the excellent "Colors" where the band get to flex their doomic muscles or like on "Ascension" where the band mix that doomic muscle with a touch of lysergic texturing. El Rojo are not adverse to bringing things down to a more retrospective level either as they prove on the reflective "Cactus Bloom" a song that begins laid back and chilled but then gradually grows in intensity until exploding into a bluesy torch song that lyrically tells a metaphoric tale of hope growing out of adversity. The band brings things to a close with "Dragonfly" and much like its predecessor it starts tranquil and relaxed with acoustic guitars strummed and liquid bass lines booming with its vocal delivered in restrained tones but then suddenly erupts into one of those heavy desert grooves, that are the bands signature throughout most of "El Diablo Rojo", with amps turned up to eleven and rhythms rolling like thunder beneath swirling guitar solos and grizzled clean vocal tones.

When rocking on a heavy groove El Rojo attack like a phalanx of Roman Infantry, their raucous riffs and rhythms coming at you in waves of overwhelmingly punkish ferocity, however when they momentarily step off the gas and allow their Jekyll to overide their Hyde you find they are also a band who can surprise you with their subtlety and lightness of touch. 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Friday 13 November 2020


Desert Psychlist has to admit that we approached Croatian trio Lord Drunkalot's debut "Heads & Spirits" with a certain amount of trepidation, expecting something that might be a little tongue in cheek and maybe a little generic. Given the bands name and the fact that the members go by names like Party Barbarian (Brotha Alkobuddha) on drums Ratimir Nebozemlja (Stipe) on bass and Ganjalf The Green (Leo Narkobuddha) on guitars/vocals, you couldn't really blame us for having a few doubts but as it turns out, and although there are elements of Lord Drunkalot's sound that do wander into those areas, this is an album of well played doom tinted metallic grooves that if not exactly album of the year material will undoubtedly put a smile on your face and lift your spirits, and we all need that right now!

Lord Drunkalot employ all the usual doomic clichés in their music, they unashamedly fill their songs with references to witches, warlocks, devils and dragons, as well as many of the other usual suspects, but they do so in the full knowledge that these are clichés, it is almost as if they are playing with the doom genre, seeing how far they can go with it all before it all just becomes pastiche. This is where Lord Drunkalot are clever though, they know when to pull back from that edge, these guys can play and they can write a good tune and despite their cliched lyrical content the songs on "Heads & Spirits" work because they ROCK! Songs like "2+2=3", title track "Heads & Spirits", the truly excellent "Blåkulla", with its bluesy outro and the superbly atmospheric "Witchfucker" are crammed full of everything you could possibly want from a doom album but are presented to the listener with knowing wink and a glint in the eye.

Old school metal played with new school attitude and vigour Lord Drunkalot's "Heads & Spirits" might not be an album pushing its way to the top of anyone's end of year lists but it is an album that more than deserves its place in everyone's music collection.

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Thursday 12 November 2020

SAUTRUS ~ M.A.P. ...... review

If there was ever a band that deserved more love than Poland's SautruS then Desert Psychlist is yet to meet them, the four piece combo have consistently released albums that push the boundaries of conventional rock to its edges but have not yet quite made that leap into that upper echelon of bands whose albums are met with rabid anticipation long before they are actually released. However, this state of affairs could all change with the release of the bands latest opus "M.A.P.", an eclectic mix of downtuned psych, complex prog, doom and stoner metal all wrapped up in a conceptual tale of a war between a Pope and a Holy Roman Emperor.

"M.A.P." opens its account with "Exkomvna" a short but strident song that sets the scene for the albums concept by depicting, in its music and lyrics, the excommunication of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor by Pope Gregory IX for his refusal to carry out the church's wishes for a sixth crusade into the Holy Lands. "Baquar" then follows and finds SautruS hitting a groove that is part prog rock, part hard rock and boasts an impressive vocal that soars, much like the falcons in the songs lyrics, over and around the complex and intricate grooves that growl and crunch beneath it. "Rose" raises its head next, a song that alternates between serene balladry and crunching heavy doomic bluster. That bluster gets the upper-hand on next track "Borderlove" and finds SautruS hitting a chugging stoner groove over which they pour cryptic lyrics telling of love but with the subject of that love left to the listeners imagination. Acoustic guitars announce the arrival of "Falling" a song sang in monastic tones over a laid back and languid musical backdrop that, within the context of the albums concept, could be construed as telling a tale of a fall from grace but Desert Psychlist may be way wide of the mark with that theory. "Lady In Green" enters next its circular fuzz drenched guitar motifs underscored by some impressive understated drumming are then joined by a superbly pitched vocal that tells of a mystical savior in a green dress, as the song progresses so does the intensity of its performance the band ramping up the songs dynamics bar by bar until finally we find ourselves entrenched in a heavy doomic groove decorated with vocals of similarly darker tone. If there was ever a more schizophrenic song than "Present Times" then Desert Psychlist would like to hear it for here the listener is faced with a song that shifts and changes at such a rate that there are times you are unsure if you are still listening to the same song you just dropped the needle on. Next up is "Twitchy Witchy Girl" a quirky blend of stuttering alternative rock and brutal stoner metal that in its quieter quirkier moments boasts a vocal not unlike that employed by Robert Plant on Led Zep's "Houses of the Holy". "Deceiver" comes out of the traps strutting a crunching stoner metal groove around which wailing wordless vocals soar and swoop but then suddenly morphs into thundering heavy prog workout  decorated in clean vocal harmonies before then shifting once again and taking off into heavy psych territory."1239" closes "M.A.P." with acoustic guitars strummed and picked beneath soaring monastic harmonies while a part sang, part spoken narrative (in Polish) is recited.

"M.A.P," is not an easy listen by any stretch of the imagination but it is a worthwhile one, it is also a brave and unusual album, brave in that it has a concept based on a religious historical event,  religion being one of the great taboo's of this or any other century, and unusual because it is almost impossible to pin a label on the music SautruS present us with here.
Check it out ....

   © 2020 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 11 November 2020


The South American continent is fast becoming a main hub for good "underground" rock music, so much so that it is becoming increasingly hard to keep up with the almost constant influx of recommendations, review requests and promo's from South American bands that hit Desert Psychlist's desk on what seems to be (now) a daily basis. Chile is one of those countries at the forefront of this new wave of South American metal and rock and today we bring you an album from a band, who it could be argued, are one of Chile's finest
Dixie GoatNikk (vocals/guitars); KF (bass) and Seb (drums), are a trio from Santiago who have, through a mixture of sheer hard work, determination and killer grooves, managed to break through that glass ceiling, separating the Latin American scene from that of the Rest of the World, to gain respect not only from listeners on their own continent but also internationally. If your not familiar with Dixie Goat and are wondering why you should be bothering listening to music from a band situated at the ass end of the Southern Hemisphere well then wrapping your ears around the bands new album "There's No Light Without Darkness" will explain all!

Fellow Doom Charts contributor, Bandcamp surfer and self confessed music junkie Bucky Brown made a comment, on Dixie Goat's Bandcamp page, that the bands latest opus reminded him very much of Pepper Keenan era Corrosion of Conformity, that is a comparison not too wide of its mark. There is a depth of sound and intensity to the songs to be found on "There's No Light Without Darkness" that mirrors COC's thrumming sonic assault, thick low slung guitar riffs and swirling solos, thunderous growling bass lines and industrious percussion all topped of with clean but gritty vocal tones. What separates Dixie Goat from their North Carolina counterparts however is the bands penchant for dipping their toes in waters of a more doomier nature. Opening title track "There's No Light Without Darkness" is the perfect example of Dixie Goat's tendency for wading in pools of darkness, its glutinous circular riff underscored by grizzled bass and a steady but punishing drumming has an ominous vibe that is probably closer to the grooves Pepper Keenan's other band Down were exploring on their last series of EP releases. "Dancing On Your Grave" is up next and here we find the band getting a little more up-tempo and strident with just the occasional lapses into a more doomic dynamic with the vocals following a similar pattern. "Two Faces" and its following track "Widow's Tear" see the band playing two sides of the doomic coin with the former finding the band taking a more proto-metal approach to the genre and the latter adding a little bluesy swagger into the doomic mix. "Green Karma" follows and here the band don their stoner/hard rock caps to kick out the jams on a blustering four to the floor rocker. Next track "Zuma" stays within the stoner canon but this time levels up by adding a little extra metallic bite. Penultimate track "Supershit" seems a little like a throw away track, fun but not essential while closer "From One Hell To Another" is everything you could hope for in a doomic tome, it is atmospheric, intense and Sabbathesque, its swathes of dark reverberating bass and guitar riffage, driven by powerful drumming, frame a superbly delivered low-key vocal that then makes way for a  "Children of the Grave" like refrain before KF signs the song off with a brief bass solo.

It wasn't until Desert Psychlist  had listened to Dixie Goat's "There's No Light Without Darkness" a few times that we noticed that legendary producer Jack Endino had overseen the mastering on this album, now if that doesn't tell you something about the quality of the music to be found here nothing will, Jack knows his shit!
Check it out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 10 November 2020

ORBITER ~ LEAD HEAD ...... review


Orbiter, Ivan A. Reigstad (bass, lead vocals); Kim Rune Johansen (guitar) and Pål Gauslaa Sivertzen (drums) are a Norwegian trio from Oslo, not to be confused with the Finnish band of the same name (who Desert Psychlist strongly suggest you check out too), this Orbiter leans a little more towards the stoner/desert rock of Sasquatch, Fu Manchu and Clutch than the more doomic outpourings of their Scandinavian neighbours, something this Orbiter's latest EP "Lead Head" will more than attest to.

"Crunch" is the heavily distorted sound that comes out of an overdriven amplifier when a guitarist hits a fat power chord with a lot of dialed in gain so it would be fair to say that the three songs, that make up Orbiter's new EP "Lead Head", are blessed with more than their fair share of that "crunchiness". "Lead Head" has a sound that harks back to the early days of the stoner/desert scene, its songs are strident, punchy with an aggressive edge yet at the same time packed with clever little musical hooks and vocal melodies to catch the ear and retain the listeners interest. All three songs, "Lead Head", "Goldenboy" and "To The Sun", possess their own individual charms, all are played with passion and skill and all have that undefinable magical ingredient that ensures repeated plays way beyond their release date.

If your a fan of 90's hard/stoner rock and have yearning for the days when played bands played their grooves with an untamed vigour and vitality then Orbiter could well be your next favourite band. 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Monday 9 November 2020


The legend beneath the words Desert Psychlist on our beautifully painted banner (courtesy of artist Kyrre Bjurling) states our intentions of covering music from the genres of "Stoner, Desert, Doom & Psych" and although we endeavor to adhere to this policy it seems that the last of those genres has gotten a little overlooked lately. Today we intend to redress that by pointing your ears in the direction of a superb little combo from Oviedo, Spain going by the name Acid MessMiguel Ruiz (guitars and vocals); Borja Vázquez (bass and vocals); Antonio Tamargo (drums/backing vocals) and Juan Villamil (synth and keys), whose third album "Sangre De Otros Mundos" (Spinda Records) definitely falls into the category of "psych" but also so much more.

"El Reflejo De Su Piel" is first out of the blocks, it's initial opening bars, of gentle guitar arpeggios underscored by eerie keyboard textures, gives the feel of something, were it not for its mellow vocals, that film director John Carpenter might have used as the counterbalance to one of his more violent movie scenes. The song progresses in much the same vein for around fifty percent of its duration but then suddenly takes off into a groove that is part heavy psych, part stoner rock and part Spanish flamenco with keyboards swirling around crunching guitar refrains while female vocals harmonize over stamping feet and clapping hands. "Fuego Al Templo" follows and this time we find the band hitting an acid tinged stoner groove that segues into a proggish middle-section before signing out much the same way it began. "Hechicera" is up next and has a strong latin jazz fusion vibe that reminded Desert Psychlist very much of  Chick Corea's early work with Return To Forever. "Futuro Sin Color" begins it life languid and chilled with tasteful guitar motifs soaring over a backdrop of booming bass and militaristic percussion but then abruptly explodes into a strident up-tempo groove with punkish overtones both musically and vocally. "Salvaje historia" and "Hijos Del Sol" follow in quick succession the former a mix of Jamaican reggae beats and  Moorish motifs, the latter a post-punk/new wave rocker decorated with quirky keyboard textures. The band close things out with "Infierno Gris" an undulating acid drenched workout enhanced by reverberating chord progressions, whooshing keyboard flourishes. liquid bass lines and a mix of Caribbean and Latin percussion.

There is a joyous feel to the grooves that populate "Sangre De Otros Mundos" that is hard to ignore, Desert Psychlist does not speak Spanish so we really don't know if the albums lyrical content wrestles with weighty issues (a quick Google translation of the albums song titles suggest they do) but it doesn't really matter because the vibe the listener gets, from this stunning release, is upbeat and, in places, even dance inducing.
Check it out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 8 November 2020


"Occult Doom from Bendigo, Victoria" screams the blurb on Australian four piece AstroFuzz's Bandcamp page and if you are listening to the bands debut release "Necromancer" while reading this review then you will already be coming to the realization that "occult doom" is exactly what AstroFuzz deliver.   

If you are a fan Sleep and/or Electric Wizard then AstroFuzz's blend of stoner and proto doomic dynamics and their hazily delivered satanic/horror themed lyrics, is going to be right up your street. Just mentioning Sleep and Electric Wizard will tell you that AstroFuzz are a band who place a huge emphasis on the power of a riff and this is a band with riffs to spare, low slow riffs, relentless riffs and galloping proto flavoured riffs all drenched in so much fuzz and distortion that there are moments when you worry that they will just descend into a grey electrical noise. To the bands credit they never allow that to happen and they achieve this by counterbalancing their heavily effected refrains, on songs with titles like "Horror From Space", "Leviathan" and "Destroy All Monsters", with deft little touches of space-like colouring, scorching blues tinted lead breaks and hazy vocals laid so far back in the mix that they act more like another instrument than an actual bona-fide vocal. There is no getting away from the fact that what AstroFuzz bring to the table is riff based heaviness of a relentless, pummeling nature but that is also their appeal. We, of this thing we call the underground, all like grooves that will stretch us and challenge us with their complexities and intricacies but we all also have a basic need for something a little more base and primal and with "Necromancer" AstroFuzz deliver that. 

Relentlessness and heaviness are the weapons in AstroFuzz's armory and they wield them with brutal skill and dexterity, the sound they create with these weapons is an uncompromising assault on the senses that gives no quarter and takes no prisoners.
Check 'em out..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 4 November 2020

SWAMP THIEF ~ I ...... review

Wales does not get the credit it deserves in musical terms, when someone mentions Wales in a musical context probably the first things people think of are Tom Jones and Welsh Male Voice Choirs but Wales has given us some absolutely killer rock music over the the years, psychedelic jamsters Man, proto-metallers Budgie, dub/reggae metalists Skindred, agit-rockers Manic Street Preachers and that is without mentioning current weed warriors Dope Smoker. The latest band hoping to cement their place in the annals of Welsh rock history go by the name Swamp Thief, a duo consisting of Simon Bevan (vocals/guitar/bass) and Marc Lockwood (drums), who's debut EP "I" is an enthralling blend of swampy sludge, raucous stoner rock and grizzly heavy blues.

For just two people Swamp Thief create a hell of a lot of noise, in times during "I", it is damn hard not to be fooled into thinking that you are listening to a quartet or a quintet, such is the force of sound that Swamp Thief create with just the minimum of instrumentation. First track "Mary" exemplifies this perfectly it comes out of the traps with every drum beat sounding like an explosion and guitar tones dialed to gnarly the duo hitting a groove that will tick every stoners boxes and then some they won't even know exist. The band don't opt for easy options either, it would be so simple for them decorate tunes like "Whip Hand", Maelstrom Queen" and "Tides" with harsh, gutteral vocals to match the intensity and sheer volume of their grooves but when you have a guitarist/bassist who can not only riff and solo like a man possessed but also possesses a voice strong, powerful and edged with a southern rock type grittiness ..well you got to use that voice. For all their volume, crunch and sludginess Swamp Thief also have songs, the duo may swamp those songs in lashings of thick distortion and fuzz, they may drive those songs with percussion so powerful that it could probably register on the Richter scale but they DO have those songs and for all their bluster and bombast those songs, to use an old jazz term, swing!

Don't, when approaching Swamp Thief's "I", expect to hear a stoner/sludge version of The White Stripes or The Black Keys because even those two well respected duo's, would be hard pushed to match the sheer ferocity and gnarliness that these Welsh wizards bring to the table. To say this EP kicks ass would be an understatement, "I" doesn't just kick ass it beats the crap out of ass and then drops a stack of amplifiers on it!

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 3 November 2020


Bluesy stoner/hard rock is not something new in fact a high percentage of what is released within the underground rock scene these days has its roots set , one way or another, in the blues. What is maybe not so much new but is kind of unique is a band who blend those fuzz drenched bluesy grooves with music of a more indie nature as is the case with Scotland's Earthcaster. Earthcaster are a four piece band whose sonic attack, which they have dubbed "Druidic Rock", possess more than a touch of  psychedelic jangle, a sound that informed much of the post-punk grooves that were coming out of Liverpool, UK in the late 70's, a sound that Earthcaster has rejigged, re-imagined and spiced up with some stonerized fuzz for todays audiences and released under the cryptically titled banner of "Samhain Wheel of the Year Vol.1"

That comparison to Liverpool's indie psych scene of the late 70's, made in the intro to this review, is never more evident than on this EP's first track "Samhain" it's reverberating fractured guitar motifs and slightly echoed vocal tones are reminiscent of those once employed by the likes of The Teardrop Explodes, The Mighty WAH  and Echo and the Bunnymen, however the advent of a scorching blues tinted guitar solo shifts the songs whole dynamic and we find ourselves being carried to the fade on wave of tasteful bluesy hard rock. "Blood Red Sky" follows and boasts a riff that could easily be mistaken for something Bedford folk/psych rockers Wolf People might have attempted on their debut album but also carries a little proto metal bluster in its musical canon. For third track "Burn" the band mix up their indie/psych leanings with Burundi style drumming and early U2 (ish) guitar texturing to create a groove that compels you to get off your arse and just dance! For the EP's final track the band go full circle with "Samhain (Reprise)" the band eschewing the indie/psych textures and subtleties that they employed in the songs previous form and just going no holds barred, hell for leather for the finishing line.

Unique if not entirely original Earthcaster's "Samhain Wheel of the Year Vol.1" is a superb EP from a band whose blend of styles takes the best bits from a cross-section of British musical styles and molds them into something that is fresh and of the moment.
Check it out ..... 

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 1 November 2020



It has always seemed to Desert Psychlist that an element of doom permeated much of Seattle grungsters Alice in Chains heavier tunes, as it did aspects of guitarist Jerry Cantrell's solo work, the bands low slung slurred riffs backed by thunderous percussion and deep growling bass could be argued were doomic in all but name. Cleveland, Ohio quintet The Plague PhysiciansDr. Pink (drums, cajon, udu); Dr. Blue (bass, backing vocals); Dr. White (rhythm/lead guitars, backing vocals); Dr. Blonde (lead/rhythm guitars, backing vocals) and Dr. Orange (lead vocals, cowbell, rhythm and acoustic guitars), have sort of tapped into that grungy doominess of AIC but have upped the doomic/occult quotient so that instead of it being, like with AIC, an element of their sound it is instead more a main component, as their latest release "In Arkham's Shadow" will testify to.

What sounds like heavy rain and thunder introduces opening instrumental "Arkham" and is followed by a deeply echoed spaced out guitar motif that then sees the rest of the band come in on what could only be described as laid back heavy blues groove. "Carcosa (Cassida's Song)" follows and finds the the band hitting a grungy stoner/hard rock groove with the two guitarists trading off riffs ,arpeggios and solos around a clean, strong vocal that tells of "twin suns","strange moons" and the "lost Carcosa". "Prove The Devil" is up next and here the band hit a groove that chugs and gallops along at a mid-paced tempo but is fractured with clever little descents into lysergic territory, it also boasts a great vocal melody that stays with you long after the song finishes. Up until now our doomy AIC comparison has not really held water but with "Difference In The Dose" that all changes and we get mellow Staley/Cantrell type vocal harmonies twinned with crunching low slung refrains and slurred guitar motifs pushed by solid tight drumming and boneshaking bass that would have AIC's Sean Kinney and Mike Starr applauding. "Dagon" takes things down a notch or two and finds Dr. Orange eulogizing about graven idols and leviathan brides over gently strummed acoustic guitar while overhead a majestic guitar solo soars and swoops. The calmness of the previous track leaks into the opening bars of next track "Madness at Sea" but then suddenly explodes like a bomb into a proto-doomic free for all before just as suddenly dropping back into its initial groove to take it to the close. The Plague Physicians go into full doomic grunge mode for the excellent "Crawling Chaos", its clever little recurring hooks and catches pulling you deeper and deeper into its warm embrace but then it suddenly shows its true nature by, at the three quarter mark, morphing into a lumbering proto-doomic monster in psychedelic armor. "Seed of Destruction" finds the band throwing off all vestiges of grunge and fully donning the black garb of doom with crunching power chords, swirling solos, strong vocals, pounding percussion and growling bass lines all present and correct. It's back to a spot of AIC worship for "Rats In The Walls", a mouthwatering slice of delicious grunginess with a groove to die for. The good doctors sign off with "I Am Providence" a romping balls out instrumental with each member going full out and giving 100% .# For those of you who go for a Bandcamp purchase you get a bonus track (we won't disclose it here) which we think should come as a pleasant surprise for those with a penchant for 80's British Ska

If you are of the same thinking as Desert Psychlist in that you believe part of Alice In Chains enduring appeal was the bands underlying doominess then The Plague Physicians "In Arkham's Shadow" should be your next port of call, it is an album that embraces all those dark grungy elements of Seattle's finest and then doomerizes them even further. 
Check it out .... 
© 2020 Frazer Jones