Monday 30 August 2021


Desert Psychlist has never been to Poland but given the heaviness of the music that spews forth from many of its underground rock bands it would be easy to imagine it to be an intense place populated by bearded denim and leather clad hairy's swigging from vodka bottles while composing odes to old gods on weird shaped guitars. Of course Poland is not at all like that, it has a broad and diverse music scene just like any other country and its people are just as normal as you and us (if we can class ourselves as normal) it just seems sometimes that the music emanating from the Polish underground rock scene seems to sound just so much heavier and just so much more intense than anywhere else in the world.
Taxi Caveman hail from Warsaw, Poland and consist of Bartosz Nauman - (bass/vocals); Piotr Rutkowski (guitar/vocals) and Vincent Grabb (drums/vocals), they are a trio who jam grooves that blend furious stoner metal with elements of punk, sludge, doom. psych and classic rock that is then decorated in a variety of vocal tones, it is not what you would call an atypical Polish sound but it does carry all those traits of heaviness and intensity we have come to expect from that part of Eastern Europe. The band have just released their self titled debut "Taxi Caveman" (Piranha Music)

Those elements of  psych and classic rock we spoke of in our intro piece do not make their presence felt on opening track "Building With Fire" but the rest of those elements most certainly do, the band hitting into a groove, just a few BPM's below thrash tempo, that sees both bassist and guitarist dialling their fuzz pedals all the way to eleven to create a raucous noise pushed hard by incessant and solid drumming which is then coated in a mixture of sludge like roars and throaty growls. For their next song, "I, The Witch" Taxi Caveman opt for a raucous proto- metal dynamic spliced with stoner metal/sludge overtones around which they apply a mixture of harsh and clean vocal tones, the clincher though has to be the totally insane guitar solo that erupts just before the song signs out, a solo that has all the hallmarks of great classic rock and blues solos of the past but is played at what can only be described as breakneck speed. "Prisoner" follows and has a bluesy doomic vibe and boasts a superb ear catching melody delivered in clean semi-monotonic tones, Rutkowski excels himself here by laying down an achingly emotional, but slightly dissonant, solo around which Nauman and Grabb lay down a restrained and tasteful rhythmic backdrop. "Asteroid"  mixes its punk with its sludge to create a cocktail of  furious and raucous groove that should carry a Government health warning while penultimate track "426" finds the band easing off the gas just a little (but not a lot) to bring us an instrumental jam packed with searing lead breaks and a modicum of psychedelic colourings. "Empire of the Sun" brings things to a close and is, for Desert Psychlist, the albums best song, its slightly funky groove is decorated with clean melodic vocal harmonies that have an almost "Caravanserai" era Santana-ish feel, a feel that is further enhanced by Grabb and Nauman laying out on a jazzy psych/desert fusion groove to allow Rutkowski free rein to release his inner guitar hero and take things way out there his guitar dominating proceedings but not in a ego-tripping look at what i can do way his choices of notes and voicings are considered and tasteful and are played within the song rather than over it, a stunning piece of music.

Taxi Caveman are not a doom band, a sludge band or a punk band but at the same time they are all those things, they are a rock band who can turn their hands to all of rocks various forms and styles and  do so while still managing to sound fresh and original. Taxi Caveman have great musical chops and on this their debut album they display those chops to great effect across a wide spectrum of styles, where these guys take their music next is going to be very interesting indeed.
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Sunday 29 August 2021



Let us introduce you to Sign of the Sorcerer, a trio from Knoxville, Tennessee consisting of Sky Brooks (guitar/vocals); Justin Hembree (bass) and Josh Watts (drums), who describe their sound as "downer rock" and "music for the grave" while also telling us that their debut album, "Obsessions of the Vile", has the propensity to "eat you alive and leave your veins dry". 

"Necropsychodelia" kicks off "Obsessions of the Vile" its intro utilising orchestral samples, probably lifted from some obscure horror B movie, before then erupting into a dank heavily distorted slow to mid-tempo doomic groove spliced with choppy WAH drenched guitar textures and a vocal that sits somewhere between sinister demonic growling and throatily whispered narration. Any doom band worth their weight in grooves are sometime in their careers going to pen a tribute to the red dude with the horns and the tail and Sign of the Sorcerer are no exception to that rule and so we are presented with "Satan's Choice" a gnarly slice of psychedelic heaviness built around a rumbling bass and guitar riff  pushed hard by thundering percussion over which the deeply buried in the mix vocals take on a more grainy tone. Up next is "Black Night 666" a stoner doomic juggernaut with recurring guitar motif's that sounds a little like something Welsh doomsters Dope Smoker might have attempted if they had swapped their weed for something a little more morphine based. "Meth Queen" follows and here we find the band ramping up the dankness and adding an extra level of menace by running the vocals through effects to give them a feeling of liquidity. Things are brought to a close with "Nosferatu" an epic blend of leaden stoner doominess and dank gnarly psych that allows the guitarist to show us the full range of his effects and that WAH pedals are not just the territory of the funksters, they can DOOM too!

Desert Psychlist has been accused in the past of overusing the word "gnarly" when describing music but in the case of "Obsessions of the Vile" it is difficult not to because what Sign of the Sorcerer present to us with their debut album is some of the filthiest, heavily distorted proto-doom you are likely to encounter this year, this is "gnarly" with a capital G
Check it out ....

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Monday 23 August 2021


We at Desert Psychlist are always up for something that is a little off-kilter and left of field so when we were introduced to Canadian outfit Slowpoke it was a match made in heaven. Slowpoke , Ben Chapman-Smith (bass/vocals); Cameron Legge (guitar) and Adam Young (drums), are not what you would describe as your basic rock'n'roll band, they are a band who play all the right notes but not always in the order you might expect, it is a trait that makes their self-titled  debut "Slowpoke" not just a great listen but an essential one.

To label what Slowpoke do is a difficult task, is it stoner, is it doom, is it sludge? Well the answer is yes it is all three questions but there also so much more going on here too. Take opening number "Stony Iommi" for instance, for a song that references Black Sabbath's "Lord of the Riff"  Tony Iommi it does not carry even a vestige of Sabbath-ness in its sonic attack, in fact for the first couple of minutes of its life its sounds more like something from System Of A Down, both vocally and musically, than it does Sabbath, but that's still not the whole story as the following seven plus minutes of the song finds the band quite unexpectedly jumping into an instrumental heavy psych groove. Just as you are getting your head around what you have just heard up pops "Slumlord", a song with a strong QOTSA vibe its smooth clean vocals interspersed with demonic sludgy growls, if your not confused by now you will be when the groove devolves into a slowed down proto doom refrain with those sludgy  growls finally taking precedence. It's all change again for "Sid The Cat" a constantly shifting kick-ass hard/stoner rock workout decorated in a mix of clean and throaty vocal tones. By now you are probably beginning to realise that Slowpoke are not a band with a definitive signature sound and this is confirmed by next track "Miami Camo" a schizophrenic mix of desert grooviness and sludge like bluster that signs out on a mixture of sampled soundbytes and weird SFX. Up next is "Windtalker" a song that blends playful pop rock melodies with guttural growls and bluesy guitar solos's over a chugging stoner(ish) groove while for "Sanctuary" Slowpoke sprinkle a little goth-like flavouring over their heavy rock and sludge while still managing to inject some bluesy doominess into the equation. Final track "Slowpoke" finds the band fully flexing their doom muscles but like everything else on this album nothing is a given and the doom Slowpoke present to us with here is far from straightforward and is spliced with elements of sludge, goth rock and whatever else they can find to throw in to the mix resulting in a groove that is most definitely doomic but might not quite be the doom you are expecting.

If you like your grooves slightly off-the wall and unpredictable then you won't go far wrong by giving Slowpoke's self-tiled debut a listen, they are a band whose music draws its inspirations from the blues, stoner rock, doom and sludge but never quite commits to, or fits into, any of those genres, an eclectic mix of styles melded and merged together to create a sound that is totally unique, unquestionably quirky and refreshingly exciting.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Friday 20 August 2021


All of us within this scene love a bit of old school grit'n'roll and none of us are likely to complain if those old school grooves incorporate a little Sabbath worshipping proto doom into the equation from time to time. Brazil's Murdock, Guilherme Sezoski (guitar/vocals); Pholl Gregorio (bass): Guilherme Franco (drums) and Rafael Sezoski (guitar), deliver that grit'n'roll in spades as well as more than a fair share of Sabbath-esque proto grooviness with their latest EP "Entre Tigres e Lobos", the songs are sang in Portuguese but don't let that be a put off for those of you who don't speak the language because these grooves speak volumes on their own.

Now we spoke of gritty rock'n'roll and we spoke of Sabbath-esque proto-doom and for first track "Ironico Maldito" Murdock put the two together and then top it all off with a strong throaty vocal and a guitar solo's straight out of the classic rock guitar bible, ok its not boundary pushing stuff but sometimes all you need are the basics. For next track"Ser", Murdock go full Sabbath, specifically the Birmingham bands "Master of Reality" period, however Sezoski and Rau's trade off solo's, that take the song to its close, are probably closer to Thin Lizzy's Robertson and Gorham than they are to Iommi's double/triple tracked efforts with Sabbath. "Pesadelo Acordado" jams an outrageously addictive groove that finds Murdock, in places, coming across like a doomic version of British hard rockers UFO while title track " Entre Tigres e Lobos" finds the band once again harvesting fruits from the riff laden orchards of Black Sabbath. There is a very slight change tack for "Vingança das Bruxas" a song that sees Murdock dipping their toes into bluesier waters, those waters still heavily doomic but with slightly more restrained dynamic and a slower more atmospheric feel. Final track, "Olhos Sinistros", is a remastered/reimagined version of the bands first ever release, the songs groove is more stoner than it is doom and sounds much more polished and immediate than it does in its original form, it is also a great way to sign of on what is a highly enjoyable little EP.

Like we said in in our intro "Entre Tigres e Lobos" holds nothing that you might call boundary pushing or ground-breaking but it is nonetheless a highly enjoyable romp that is a good reminder to us all that rock music was not always meant to be highbrow and deeply thoughtful and that it could be, and can still be, honest and fun to listen to.

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Thursday 19 August 2021


You, the long bearded fans of 70's prog, in your army coats and bell bottoms, musing over the various line-ups of Yes, you the battle jacketed heavy metal aficionado's, in denim and leather covered in patches proclaiming your love for Iron Maiden, Motorhead and and Judas Priest and you the dope smoking stoners, wearing your cargo shorts and Kyuss emblazoned t-shirts, telling everyone Black Sabbath's Master of Reality was the first "stoner" album, all of you stop what you are doing and listen up because Desert Psychlist has found a band and an album that'll appeal to you all... and for that matter many others.
Terminus, Sebastian Thomas (vocals/guitar); Julian Thomas (bass/vocals) and Scott Wood (drums/percussion), have with their latest album "The Silent Bell Toll" created something quite unique and frankly quite brilliant, the band have put together a collection of songs that beg, borrow and steal  from a multitude of genres, era's and styles yet despite this still manage to sound wholly original.

Ok we mentioned those giants of prog Yes in our introduction to this review and opening track "The Failure of Grief", with its neo classical acoustic guitar intro, does point towards a time when songs with titles like "Siberian Khatru" and "Roundabout" were accompanied by intricate musical passages that leant towards a more orchestrated classical sound but as this song progresses and the music takes on a heavier, more metallic dynamic we slowly come to the conclusion that maybe you the reader would of been better served if we had named prog metal giants Mastodon as an example. This revelation/realisation is given further credence when following track "Dying To Breathe" explodes from our speakers in waves of crunching distorted riffs and powerful incessant rhythms that lean towards the more heavier end of the prog spectrum. however what sets Terminus apart from Mastodon and other bands of that ilk are the vocals that the band employ, both on this song and throughout the rest of the album, dual harmonies delivered in clear clean tones that carry with them a vestige of pop commerciality. At first these vocals sound a little at odds with the heavy crunching grooves they decorate but as the album progresses, through songs with gnarly sounding titles like |"Lion's Den", "Origin of Fossils" and "Dawn of Fire", it soon becomes apparent that this amalgamation of sweetness and sourness is what makes Terminus' sonic attack of lilting melodies sang over grooves of gnarly complex prog metal and sludge such a unique and refreshing listen.

Terminus' approach to heavy music is totally different to many of their contemporaries, here we find a band unafraid to add a little "pop" to their rock, a band who write the type of heavy grooves you can easily throw horns to but are also a band capable of writing melodies you can singalong with and in this scene that is a rare feat indeed.
Check 'em out .....

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Friday 6 August 2021


It was 2007 when Washington D.C.'s Borracho first pinned our ears back with their raucous blend of stoner fuzz and hard rock bluster and since that date the band have hardly put a foot wrong. The trio, who incidentally began life as a quartet, have consistently delivered the goods and in doing so have built themselves a reputation that is the envy of many of their peers. Tim (bass), Steve (guitar/vocals) and Mario (drums) are not names you will see regularly topping those best in their instrumental field polls but together these guys make a noise that will see any album they release almost guaranteed to feature in many of those end of year lists so beloved of this underground scenes movers and shakers. The bands latest release, "Pound of Flesh" (Kozmik Artifactz) has just been released and Desert Psychlist has already placed it high on ours.

Things start well with "Holy Roller" a song blessed with one of those stuttering desert grooves guaranteed to hook you in and keep you hooked until its final note, raucous, gritty and coated in vocals of a similar nature this song doesn't just blow the doors to Borracho's new album wide open it takes the wall's down too. Borracho are firm believers that once you've got an audience's attention then you should do your utmost to keep that attention and so the stuttering groove of opener "Holy Roller" is replaced by the circular riffage of "It Came From The Sky" and we are plunged headlong into another maelstrom of overdriven and fuzzed out sci-fi themed grooviness driven by thunderous percussion over which we are asked the question "whatever happened to the land of the free", the songs lyrics, although being penned prior to Covid, tying in nicely with the world's current health crisis crisis. "Caravan" finds Borracho tinting their desert fuzziness with a little doomic dankness with a refrain that owes a small debt to Led Zeppelin's "Kashmir" in that it is built around recurring eastern motif and has a similar orchestral feel, the song also boast an unbelievably strong and emotive vocal that brings a real sense of gravitas to the songs lyrical tale of hopelessness and adversity. "Dreamer" follows, a brief but beautiful oasis of Floydian instrumental tranquillity that allows the listeners time to reflect and to catch their breath before the hammer goes down again and the band explode into the raucous desert/stoner riff fest that is "Judgement Day". A sample from Naughty by Nature's "Here Comes The Money" introduces next track "Dirty Money" before the band explode into a filthy up-tempo southern tinted blues groove dripping with equally dirty distortion and fuzz. "Year of the Swine" is a heavy stoner rock workout decorated in throaty vocal  tones that along the way manages to briefly throw in the riff from Black Sabbath's "Paranoid" while "Burn It Down" reflects its title by starting out gently smouldering then erupting into a furious blaze of  gnarly riffage and punching percussion draped over a gritty preacher in the pulpit type vocal. Finally we arrive at "Foaming At The Mouth" a weird but quite addictive instrumental built around a repeating refrain that trades in its vocals for a series of politically themed samples and movie/TV soundbytes.

"Pound of Flesh" is not a radical departure for the band nor is it a carbon copy of what has gone before, Borracho's new album is what we all want it to be and that is a stonkin' collection of raucous rock'n'roll songs played loud, proud and fuzzy.
Check it out ..... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones