Monday 22 November 2021


Angelo Catenaro  (guitars/vocals); Joe Grgic (bass/synth) and Emilio Mammone (drums) are Low Orbit a trio from Toronto, Canada who make a huge noise, and when we say huge what we really mean is MASSIVE! The band came to the attention of the wider world via their stunning self-titled debut "Low Orbit", a mix of spaced out stoner rock and heavy psych that prompted one Bandcamp listener to describe it, on the bands BC page, as "essential". The band followed this up three years later with "Spacecake" an album that found the band thickening their sound up by adding a little doom into the equation which in turn gave their music a danker, darker dynamic. Not a band to rush things the band have returned,, almost four years later, with a new album and if you thought their last two releases were "essential" wait until you hear "Crater Creator"!

Title track "Crater Creator" opens the proceedings and is an assault on the senses from its first note to its last, the songs crunching, chugging guitar refrains, swirling gnarly toned solos, low thrumming bass lines and tight pummelling percussion are accompanied by a perfectly pitched vocal that is both clean and powerful and possess a crystal clear clarity not usually associated with music of this genre. "Tardis" follows and opens with a short narrative on the origin of God and the Universe before exploding into an angular doomic groove underpinned by some incredible drumming and decorated in a slightly more aggressive vocal. "Sea of See" finds Low Orbit mixing things up with swampy sludginess, dank doomic bluster and heavy metal thunder all getting a starring role in this full on sonic maelstrom of groove while "Empty Space" sees the band revisiting the more spaced out stoner rock of their previous releases only with a bigger, thicker and more in your face dynamic. Next up is "Monocle" and if you ever wondered what American late 60's/early 70's heavy rock legends Mountain might have sounded like if they had been brought up on a diet of sci-fi novels and  Kyuss albums then this is it, "more cowbell please". "Wormhole" goes for the jugular with Sabbathian flavoured proto-doomic refrains pushed to the fore over which an ear-catching vocal melody holds sway but then briefly deviates into lysergic territory before just as quickly returning to its initial groove. Final song "Timelord" puts all Low Orbit's eggs in one basket, condensing all that has gone before into one face-melting explosion of groove that'll blow your mind at the same time as it blows your speakers.

How Low Orbit will top this incredible album is a question only time and the band will have the answers to but for now just bathe in the gloriously gnarly spaced-out doomic splendour of "Crater Creator" and pray to the gods  that the bands next release is as "essential" as this one is.
Check it out .... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Friday 19 November 2021

MORGANTHUS ~ CELLS ..... review

There is no getting away from the fact that Warren, Pennsylvania's Morganthus sound owes much to the proto-doomic blueprint first drawn up by the UK's Black Sabbath, however release by release the band have slowly been unravelling themselves from the umbilical cord tying them to the Birmingham Four and have steadily been developing their own signature sound, a sound still very much in the canon of proto-doom but one that is much more identifiable as their own. With their latest release "Cells" the band may not have fully thrown off their Sabbathian cloaks but they most certainly have redesigned them

.Unusually "Cells" opens with a song that is not performed by Morganthus, "Prel'oud" is a lovely solo piece written and performed by friend of the band Jim Schreiber, it is a classical sounding composition with exotic leanings played on an oud, a fretless African stringed instrument not too dissimilar to the European lute. Morganthus finally make their entrance with "Rats, Whores and Corpses" a thinly veiled poke at organised religion that finds the vocalist snarling in menacing nasal tones "Take your pulpit share the woe, beg for tears for every soul, Martyrs to your phony pleas, a rat leads rats unto disease" against a backdrop of thrumming doomic refrains and thunderous percussion. Morganthus take us to the foot of the sacrificial altar with their next song "Injecticide" a brooding low, slow and heavy tome that finds the guitarist and the bassist crunching out dark reverberating bass and guitar riffs beneath a powerful and ponderous percussive tattoo over which the songs lyrics are narrated in a voice racked with a mixture of remorse and pain. "Witch Tits" follows and begins with a sample lifted from some obscure horror movie then explodes into a dank distortion drenched groove that features one of those recurring guitar motifs that once it has you hooked refuses let you go. Lyrically the song draws inspiration from Hammer House of Horror movies and the writings of Poe, Lovecraft and Dennis Wheatley, the vocalist telling of  "flesh writhing in sin" and "summoning ecstasy" against a musical backdrop so dank and cloying you can almost feel it touching you. Finally we arrive at "Dead and Perfect" a sprawling atmospheric finale that proves that doom is at it best when it carries an air of menace in its makeup, the track also boasts a killer solo that cuts through the gloom like a sacrificial knife through flesh, a solo delivered short and sweet but that is nonetheless scorching.

Morganthus have had a few issues to contend with prior to the release of this EP, we won't go into those issues here, but they say that the best art comes out of adversity and Morganthus have certainly had there fair share of adversity during the making and and up to the release of "Cells". The band describe "Cells" as a recording "brought to you by a year of frustration, turmoil, and perseverance", so was it worth all that effort? We think so.
Check it out ..... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Monday 15 November 2021


Lincoln, Nebraska's Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships first came to Desert Psychlist's attention earlier this year via their debut album "TTBS" a devilishly delicious collection of low slow and heavy grooves decorated in (surprisingly for this genre) clean clear vocals. Not a band to sit about twiddling their thumbs when, in their words, there is some "existential pondering" still to be done the band, Jeremy Warner (guitar, vocals); Justin Kamal (drums) and Karlin Warner (bass) soon set about writing and recording new songs. Those songs are now finished and have had all the rough edges sanded off, and some added, and appear on the bands latest EP "Rosalee, we think you'll like it.

TTBS's new EP begins with "Core Fragment" a song that unusually jumps, after a very brief flurry of  thunderous percussion, immediately into the vocals, now we think Jeremy Warner will be the first to admit that his vocal delivery is not exactly what you would call rock god powerful but his clean low key vocal approach and melodic tones are very effective and work as a nice counterbalance to the sedately paced heavy rhythms and refrains that accompany them and at times even threaten to drown them out. "Destroyer Hearts" follows, a song steeped in dank dark doominosity that routinely builds towards a crescendo only to then dissipate into a swampy murky meander, rising and falling in this fashion throughout its duration driven by some thunderously impressive drumming from Kamal while "URTH Anachoic" takes low slow and heavy to a whole new level of ponderous and boasts a slightly weird but totally effective vocal meter. Title track "Rosalee" sees the band sign out with a deliciously dank sixteen minute plus instrumental anchored to the earth by Karlin Warner's deep thrumming bass it is also strangely the first and only song on the EP that guitarist Jeremy Warner gets to cut free and unleash the full potential of his guitar playing chops, his searing lead work in the songs last quarter taking the songs dynamic out of the realms of stoner doom and into more lysergic territory.

"Exploring the claustrophobic void of space" is how Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships describe their music making process and there is very much a claustrophobic element to much of what goes down on  their latest EP "Rosalee". The trio create a groove and sound that feels  more like an implosion than it is does an explosion, the bands low slung riffs and rhythms collide and crash into one another like matter falling into a gaping black hole, their grooves slowly gathering in mass until collapsing in on themselves under the immensity of their own weight, Jeremy Warner's clean melodic vocals the last pinpoint of light in the all consuming darkness, or to put it another way... some damn heavy shit!
Check it out .... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Friday 12 November 2021



Black Solstice guitarist Anders Martinsgård is an awful tease, long before Black Solstice were officially "a band" Anders would drop little video snippets on social media sites of what he was working on with (what was then) an unnamed band, wickedly whetting our appetites with promises of grooves yet to come. This was not a new phenomenon for Anders as he would often do the same when he was with his previous band Ponamero Sundown, sending to Hard Rock Revolution, an online forum Desert Psychlist was a part of, teasers for upcoming releases by the band. The best thing about Mr Martinsgård's little game was that whatever he promised he always delivered on and nothing has changed in that respect, That unnamed band we saw working on songs has now become a fully fledged unit with Anders holding down guitar duties joined by his old Ponamero Sundown bandmate Peter Eklund on drums, Lelle B Falheim on bass and Magnus Lindmark on guitar and vocals, and those riffs and licks that the band were trying to flesh out have become songs in their own right and now grace the bands debut album "Ember" ( Cd; Ozium Records, Vinyl; Majestic Mountain Records)

"Ember" opens with "Intervention" a brief instrumental that begins life on a wave of screaming feedback segues into a circular groove driven by tribal -like percussion and then finishes the way it started, its a strange introduction but it does set the scene for "Firespawn" a song that boasts a similar circular its fall-back, we say fall back because that refrain is the only constant in a groove that never stays still with Martinsgård and Lindmark riffing and soloing sometimes in unison, sometimes in competition while drummer Ekland and  bassist Falheim test them with a diverse array of rhythmic meters and tempos. Lindmark also handles vocal duties his voice possessing an unusual clean weary tone that although not powerful, in a rock god sense, nonetheless sits comfortably on the ears. Title track "Ember" is a next and has a groove that sits somewhere between old school heavy metal and the type of hard rock that was the territory of bands like Thin Lizzy and UFO. "Calls From The Deamons" follows and although boasting doomic flavoured lyrical content the song rolls nicely along on a strident heavy rock groove, something that is continued on "Signs of Wisdom" only here the band stagger the pace with some nice shifts in tempo while, despite its reference to  a Flying V, also throwing in the occasional Iommi type guitar lick and while we are talking Iommi it has to be said that the following hazy trippy instrumental "Celestial Convoy" is not too far removed from Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" in both name and feel. "Part Of Me" and ""Sweet Misery" both follow a hard 'n' heavy rock blueprint and both are full of crunching riffs and hard riven rhythms with the latter standing out just that bit prouder than the former due to the flow and lilt of its vocal melody. Penultimate track  "Burned By The Sun" is a superb mid tempo rocker that unashamedly borrows, plunders and steals from every 70's and 80's rock band you have ever laid your riff beaten ears on, as well as a few you may not have, yet still manages to sound fresh and original. "If We Fall" closes the album and begins life with a crescendo of thunderous riffery then melts into a laid back doomic lament that has the feel of something Candlemass or Solitude Aeturnus might have attempted back in the day, however that only tells half the story as around the mid-song mark the band ascend into a chugging, almost proto-metal refrain with the vocals following a similar path before a searing guitar solo signals the grooves descent back into mellower waters.

If you were forced to stick a label on what Black Solstice bring to the table with "Ember" it would have to be "hard rock", the dynamics that the band employ throughout the the ten songs that make up this debut are far closer to hard or heavy rock than they are the stoner rock they will undoubtedly and wrongly get tagged with, maybe not so much the early 70's model of hard rock but most certainly its later 70's/80's model, and that can never be a bad thing in our book.
Check it out .....

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Sunday 7 November 2021

THE CROW'S EYE ~ THE CROW'S EYE ...... review


Sleaziness is not something you usually associate with doom metal, horror the occult and Satanism are all a given but sleaze not so much. Maryland's The Crow's Eye however are the exception, here are a band who are wholly adept at laying down dank dark grooves of a proto-doomic nature but are just as adept at bringing to the altars of doom elements of inner-city griminess and urban commentary, elements that run rife through all of the eight songs that make up their self titled debut "The Crow's Eye"

"Don't look into the eyes of a crow, (it'll) steal your soul" is the advice given on first track out of the bag "The Eyes of a Crow" these sage words imparted to the listener in a heavily filtered vocal over a backdrop of Zeppelin-esque bluesy doomic groove awash with warm grainy fuzz. Lyrically the song has all the attributes you would expect from something pitched within the doom canon, mention of Lovecraftian like "sacred groves" and "days of old", but are then offset with warnings about telling children "not to play out in the road" a line that has the effect of placing the songs imagery in a more urban scenario. Next track "All Is Pain" is a heady piece that begins life in the fast lane then morphs into trippy heavy psych and would probably float away into the turquoise skies if it were not for the equally exquisite bass line that keeps it anchored to the ground while "Dying In The USA" borrows a riff from Sabbath's "War Pigs" before going off on a tangent into lysergic waters and playfully bastardizing Bruce Springsteen's chorus from "Born In The USA" for the now generation. "Crawl A Little Closer" is a powerful tome that scores high on the sleazeometer, its bluesy guitar motifs screech and scream over and around a filthy stonerized blues groove while the singer tells of "dying everyday" and "crying tears of acid rain" in a voice racked with mournful gravitas. "Die Alone" follows next its full on angular attack is driven hard by some incredibly busy drumming and is decorated in a heavily filtered and gloriously hazy vocal. "Reap The Whirlwind", and its follow up "Awaken The Beast" are both steeped in heavy bluesiness with the former having a more traditional feel and the latter leaning towards a more stonerized dynamic. Final song "I Got A Bad Reputation" finds The Crow's Eye bowing out on a slow blues bereft of the filtered vocal effects and trippy lysergic doomic dynamics, that have up until now been their signature, and instead playing it straight and in doing so showing that beneath all their vocal effects and fuzz pedals they are also a very credible classic rock band. 

Sleazy, off kilter bluesy doom heavily tinted with elements of lysergic colouring is what The Crow's Eye bring to the table with their debut album, their version of doom has a modernistic urban slant that takes doom out of the unconsecrated cemetery's and altars that have been its home for so long and places it slap back in the streets where we live. 
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Friday 5 November 2021

BLIND TENDRIL ~ α ...... review

 Let us start by thanking, UK residing Greek band, Blind Tendril for calling their latest release "α" and causing us no end of grief by having to cut and paste every time we mention the albums title in this review, use the alternative keyboard we hear you shout, we did but the code Google suggested for the alpha symbol gave us us a completely different symbol altogether. Good natured rant over lets get on with dissecting this stunning release.

Liquid toned guitar chords that have an almost Cure like feel open first track "Dead Trees" and that on its own tells you more about where Blind Tendril stand musically than a thousand words could. Blind Tendril are not your archetypical underground rock band , yes they have crunching riffs and hard driving rhythms to spare but they also have melodies, ear catching choruses, alt-rock flavoured dynamics and a penchant for writing songs that "swing". It would not come as too much of a surprise to hear something from "α" make its way on to the playlist of some mainstream rock radio DJ's show as songs like "Genetic Freaks" and "Brace" certainly contain more than an element of "crossover" appeal. However having said that, there are also songs, like the excellent "Hanging By A Thread", which features Bjorn Strid (Soilwork/ The Night Flight Orchestra) on vocals, where the band show they can get down dirty and gnarly if  the mood/song so dictates. There will be many who may pick up on a slight Alice In Chains feel to some of the grooves and vocal inflections on "α", as well as some rather exotic influences ,whether AIC were a large influence on the band is not known but those exotic elements are totally intentional the band taking traditional eastern instrumentation and mixing it with more modern equipment to give their sound a more layered effect and international flavour.

Blind Tendril, Dimitris (vocals/guitar); Jonny (guitar); Rob (bass) and Cameron (drums), started their musical journey in 2006 in Thessaloniki, Greece but have since relocated to the lush countryside of Devon, UK, quite why they made the move you will have to ask the band but if living in this green and (occasionally) pleasant land is even partly responsible for the superb grooves they unleash upon us with "α" then they are more than welcome to stay here until their bones crumble into the Devonshire dust. 
Check 'em out ....

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 2 November 2021



A year ago Desert Psychlist penned a few words on Indianapolis, Indiana band Ancient Days Bandcamp page, regarding their album "Black Magic Nights", we stated that we dug the albums heavy doomic bias but found it  "a little generic and Hammer House of Horrors" in places. Whether our little blurb went down well with the band we never found out but over the last year there has certainly been somewhat of a sea change in the bands approach to their music. On their latest album "Sign of the Times" they have seemingly jettisoned the more stoner doomic aspects of their sound and embraced a more expansive dynamic, a dynamic that is still very much within the canon of doom but also encompasses elements of old school classic rock and heavy metal.

Ominous swathes of organ combined with spoken narrative opens first track "Intro/White Smoke" then segues into a groove built around what sounds like Native American rhythms, Derek Fletcher's voice, aided with a little echo, soars above Jake Dwiggins tribal beats and Brian Yates' liquid bass lines in tones strong and powerful Alex Wangombe's keys, comping just beneath the vocal, giving the song an extra dimension of depth and texture, Papillon Burkett who up until now has been content to lay down crunching chord progressions and tasty licks unleashes a scorching feel drenched solo at the three quarter mark to take things to the close. "Uncle Acid" is up next and literally prances out of the speakers on a riff you'll be remembering long after its last note has faded into the void while "Black Shadows" proves there is still doom running through this bands veins but only this time that doom has a more traditional flavour. The doom continues to flow through next track "The Conjuring" an atmospheric number made even more atmospheric by Wangombe's cathedral sounding keyboards, the song also highlights the bands new found confidence in their own abilities by suddenly shifting up the gears and finishing on a rampant heavy psych wig-out. The first part of "Welcome To Hell" could almost be called a "boogie" its strident up-tempo groove, periodically interrupted by an ear catching guitar motif, is full on and in your face and is accompanied by a superb Fletcher vocal but as we learnt in the last song this is a band who have now thrown off the shackles and are unafraid to take chances and so for the second half of the song the band launch into a blistering instrumental jam that finds Burkett throwing every guitar trick and lick he has ever learned into the ring to great effect. There is a slight return to old ways with "Trail of Serpent", a song that also features producer Kamaron Lockwood on guitar, but do not worry because although there are parts to this piece that are low slow and damn heavy those parts are countered by an almost Doors-ish dynamic sitting beneath a powerful lay preacher like vocal. Desert Psychlist has no idea if Ancient Days are familiar with the UK's low- budget sci-fi TV franchise DR, WHO but the opening riff to next track "Night Witches" is very reminiscent of that shows theme tune, that aside the song is one that undulates between traditional doom and its more galloping proto cousin and boasts an absolutely mind-blowing solo from Burkett. All good things have to come to an end and with "The Devil Made Me Do It" Ancient Days end this good thing with an absolute banger, an atmospheric lament decorated in a superb Fletcher vocal and  underpinned by Yates' booming bass and Dwiggins solid tight percussion,  the song is given further depth and gravitas by Wangombe utilising both piano and organ to give the song added  texture while Burkett peels off searing emotion drenched solos.

With "Sign of the Times" Ancient Days  may have, with the exception of Green Lung's excellent "Black Harvest", made one of the best keyboard drenched doom flavoured albums of the year. The slow. low and heavy grooves of the bands previous output were always a pleasurable listen but you were often left with the feeling that they were missing that vital element that could give their grooves the wings they needed to really fly. That element, whatever it was, has thankfully been found and with "Sign of the Times" Ancient Days have transformed their sound from what were once leaden trudges across dank mires into boundless gallops through sun dappled forests.
Check it out .... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones

Monday 1 November 2021



Today is Halloween in the UK so what better time could there be to being reviewing an album entitled "Haunted" (Exile On Mainstream) , an album from a collective called Confusion Master hailing from Rostock, Germany who some may remember from their 2018 debut "Awaken" or their 2020 "Split" with metallic punksters Angoisse. Confusion Master, Mathias Klein (bass); Stephan Gottwald (drums); Gunnar Arndt (guitars/fx) and Stephan Kurth (guitars/fx/vocals), are a band who, in their own words, "walk traditional doom paths, deeply rooted in sabbathian mud" while explaining that they also have a tendency for leaning towards "sludge and underground hardcore". A heady mix you might be thinking, and you would be right in your thinking, especially when you factor in that the band also have penchant for a spot of heavy psych too.

A high pitched droning effect opens first track "Viking X" followed by a brief period of grainy guitar noise, the band then explode into a groove that although possess a proto-metallic vibe is most definitely rooted in doom and predominately the "stoner" variety. The band have been compared with Electric Wizard by their record company and there are places throughout this song and the rest of "Haunted" where you can hear why that comparison has been made, there is a similar crushing gnarliness in the guitar tones and like Electric Wizard Confusion Master tend to use volume as weapon of mass destruction, but to our ears there is a little more going on with these Germans, especially given their preferences for the occasional wade into more lysergic waters. Vocals throughout the album are delivered at the monotonic end of the spectrum yet at the same time are melodic and easy on the ear and their clean delivery works perfectly as a counterbalance to the heavy sonic barrage constantly being unleashed above and beneath them. As with many bands within the underground rock scene these days Confusion Master supplement their vocals with occasional sampled narrative but these snippets are not thrown in randomly but are cleverly placed so as to add atmosphere and a degree of context to the lyrical content of each song they appear on. As we said earlier Confusion Master's groove predominantly dwells within the realms of stoner doom but that doesn't mean they should be just dismissed as just another low, slow and heavy outfit as there are moments on songs like "The Cannibal County Maniac", "Casket Down" and "Jaw on a Hook" where the music steps outside of itself and begins to explore newer avenues, admittedly these moments are rare but when they do crop up they tend to send shivers down the spine.

If you are a fan of bands like Electric Wizard, Sleep and Monolord or have a leaning towards the likes of Dopelord or Spelljammer then you will find plenty of common water to rock your boat in on Confusion Master's "Haunted", this is an album that ticks all the heavy boxes but hides beneath its tough dark exterior nuggets of bright shiny silver that occasionally glisten in the sunlight.
Check it out ...... 

© 2021 Frazer Jones