Monday 30 May 2022


 Desert Psychlist returns to Italy for the subject of our latest review and before you start preparing yourself for another wordy praise fest on the Italian "scuzzy" acid doom scene let us tell you that not an ounce of "scuzziness" is to be found on this particular release. Red Moon Shaman seem to be another of those bands who like to shroud themselves in mystery, Desert Psychlist can find no information regarding the bands personnel and what photo's we have seen, on their social media, depict a trio clad head to foot in monkish attire. Personnel and instrumentation don't really matter though because at the end of the day we are here for the music and Red Moon Shaman's music is an exhilarating and constantly shifting blend of eastern exotica, spaced out cosmicness and good old heavy rock that refuses to be put in a conveniently labelled box. The band have just recently released their debut album "Chapter One" and already we are looking forward to "Chapter Two".

  A Shamanic mantra introduces opening song "Pale Rider" and sets the scene for something slow and doomic but Red Moon Shaman are not a band who  deal in the expected and instead explode into a strident stoner rock gallop replete with fuzzed out bass and guitar riffs driven by tight busy percussion over which strong vocals tell their tale in clean but grainy tones. We did however mention the word "shifting" in our opening piece and as the song approaches its finale that "shifting" starts to make its presence felt with the song  first moving into heavy psych waters, guitar solos majestically soaring and swooping overhead, and then subtly slowing down and taking on a more doom-like dynamic. Up next is "Rolling Sunshine" and Desert Psychlist cannot find enough good things to say about this song, its vocal melody and accompanying harmonies are like a drug you never want to kick, they go around and around in your head long after the song has reached its finish, and the eastern motifs and themes that lie just beneath the songs thrumming riffs are a thing of rare beauty. "Spirits" follows, its caustic guitar riffs routinely subsiding to allow the vocals space to weave their melodic magic then erupting again when those spells have been weaved, the song also takes on one of the bands customary "shifts" as it reaches its close with things moving towards something a little more heady and lysergic. "Thorns" finds Red Moon Shaman adding a little touch of rocky space to proceedings while "Filaret" finds them ramping that space element up a level and adding a little proto-doomic bluster to the mix. Penultimate track "Mindcrawler" has an almost mainstream vibe, its easy on the ear groove is coupled with an equally easy on the ear vocal melody, it also boasts a killer guitar solo that sees the guitarist making full use of his wah pedal. "WanderLUST" brings things to a close, it is a song that amalgamates everything that has gone on before and throws us a glimpse of where this band might takes us next, post-rock textures, swirling spaced out backdrops, lilting harmonies and powerful lead vocals all combining together to create something very special indeed.

There is heaviness to be found on Red Moon Shaman's "Chapter One" but it is not an all encompassing heaviness it is a heaviness tempered by the knowledge of how to construct a song to best maximise its impact, the band utilising musical tools like melody and dynamics to add light and shade to their compositions and to make them accessible to all and not just a specific clique and that's something we think worthy of applause. 
Check 'em out .....

© 2020 Frazer Jones

Sunday 29 May 2022

REDWHORE ~ REDWHORE ...... review


After recently singing the praises of the burgeoning Spanish scene Desert Psychlist once again find itself back in the Mediterranean reporting on the release from yet another Spanish outfit. The band in question this time are a five piece combo from Madrid going by the name RedWhore, a band who jam a groove that is rooted in hard rock and the blues but is not shy to spread its branches into other areas. The band, Leny (vocals); Óscar (guitar/vocals); Carlos (guitar); Javi (drums) and Abel (bass), describe what they do as RedWhore as something they manage to fit in around their real lives, which kind of makes the band sound like a hobby, but if it works for them (as it obviously does) and they continue churning out albums of the quality shown on their self-titled debut "RedWhore" then who are we to grumble.

Looking at the artwork accompanying RedWhore's debut album, which resembles something you might find on a special occasions chocolate box, and then looking at the rather clean cut images of the band on their social media you might mistakenly come to the conclusion that what you are about to hear is some sort of sanitised version of rock of the type usually performed for suited patrons at office parties and weddings, but how wrong you would be. RedWhore might look like a bunch of corporate business workers who like to let off steam by playing gigs at the weekend but the truth is these guys are the real deal and boy can they play!
 First song "Desert Pool" stands testament to that last sentence by coming out of the blocks like a racing greyhound on steroids, driven by a boogie style blues groove the song is mix of "old" and "new" school hard rock tinted with just the right amount of fuzziness and swagger to appeal to pupils of both. RedWhore are of course not unique in blending their stoner with their blues and their classic rock, there are a million and one bands out there ploughing a similar musical furrow, but RedWhore have something those bands don't have and that something is Leny. Leny may be diminutive of stature but she is not diminutive of voice the singer possess a vocal spectrum that can range from a low gutteral growl to a high Geddy Lee style wail and everything in between. Ably supported by Óscar and Carlos' crunching guitar riffs and swirling blues drenched solos, Abel's booming bouncing bass lines and Javi's busy tight drumming Leny roars, growls, croons and screams her way around songs like title track "RedWhore" the metallic and progressive "East Winds" and the superb "The Red Night" with a verve, gusto and confidence that is usually the reserve of much more established vocalists, in short she is a virtual powerhouse of  bluesy soufulness.
The band close out their debut with "We All Fall" a metallic torch-like tune that sees Leny trading off vocal lines with Óscar (also an impressive vocalist), it is a song that sails a little close to Evanescence territory at times but is thankfully saved from that fate by the sheer force of its musical attack and the gritty beauty of its dual vocals.

"RedWhore" is a debut album that seemingly came out of nowhere and has since proceeded to the blow minds of everyone who has so far heard it, lets pray to the Gods of Groove that fitting in their lives as a working band around their lives in the "real world" will not impinge on them making more music of this power, drive and sheer enjoyability.
Check it out..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Thursday 26 May 2022

GYPSYBYRD ~ VISIONS ...... review


Multi-instrumentalist Jake W Lewis, the brains behind Burn Ritual and King Earth, has revived his partnership with Sun of Grey bassist Freddy Allen to propel back into flight one of his other ongoing projects the mighty Gypsybyrd. Now those of you familiar with Jake's work will know that both Burn Ritual and King Earth were projects that come from a place of DOOM, riff heavy affairs inspired by the likes of Sabbath and bands of that ilk, those same people will also know that Gypsybyrd's debut outing, "Eye Of The Sun" came from a more heady, hazy and psychedelic place far removed from the heavy doomic darkness of his previous projects. In conversations Desert Psychlist had with Jake prior to the release of "Eye Of The Sun" we sensed a little apprehension about how this new lysergic flavoured direction might be received by those who might be expecting another Burn Ritual, would they buy into his vision or would they just turn away in their droves. Jake needn't have worried "Eye Of The Sun" was received with as much, if not more, praise as his previous projects and saw the album rocket up to #16 in January 2020's Doom Charts as well as featuring in many of that years Best of 2020 lists. This year (2022) with his new album, "Visions" we expect Jake to not only emulate the success he had with "Eye Of The Sun" but to go further and surpass it, yes it really is that GOOD!  

Things get off to fine start with "Crimson Earth" its languid tempo and hazy dynamic is measured by what can only be described as a simple and straightforward drum pattern it is however what goes on around that drum pattern that is of real interest. Shimmering percussion and a low liquid bassline are the bedrock around which Lewis layers multiple guitar tracks, swirling keyboard textures and a vocal that sits nicely at the falsetto end of the spectrum. Lewis being Lewis can't help but throw a few crunchy riffs about from time to time but nothing really nasty and they tend to lean more towards the Floyd-ian rather than they do the Sabbath-ian ."Born of Electricity" follows and once again the vocals are pitched high and hazy, there is an almost late 60's feel to things here, a mixture of psychedelic guitar textures similar in essence to those from the likes of Jefferson Airplane, The Doors and the harder bluesier Quicksilver Messenger Service all spliced together with a bit of fuzzy heavy psych from the present day. Up next is "Fly With Me" a song destined  to be a fan  favourite simply due to its ear-catching guitar motifs and Allen's deliciously addictive bass line. Given Lewis' doom credentials it is not surprising that some of that ol' dankness creeps into his work with Gypsybyrd and on "The Fog" it most certainly does only this is not really doom it just possesses qualities from that genre and those are soon blown away when the song shifts into early Santana territory in its final throws. "Soul On Fire" is probably the closest Lewis gets to an out and out blues song on "Visions", it is a stunning mix of hazy 70's heaviness and late 60's American psychedelia decorated in mellow laid back vocal tones. "Captive By Your Choices" and the short instrumental "Earth Meets The Sun" follow, the former a hook laden mid tempo psych workout the latter a Floyd-ian flavoured post-rock jam notable for its swirling synths and spacious dynamics. "Travel The Universe" closes "Visions", its heavy crunching riffs, offset by languid and luscious keyboard textures, soaring guitar solos and hazed vocal tones is the perfect end to what has been a thoroughly enjoyable time spent in the company of a couple of top notch musicians.

"Visions" is an album ideal for listening to on a pair of quality headphones while smoking something exotic and herbal, an album that doesn't bludgeon but caresses and hugs you in a warm embrace, the perfect soundtrack to a warm hazy summer.
Check it out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 23 May 2022



Spain is a country fast gathering momentum in the underground rock stakes, the Mediterranean country might not be up there at the front of the pack with the likes of the USA, Sweden and Greece quite yet but it is certainly making its presence felt. Desert Psychlist may be mistaken but we think "Turn To Stone", the debut release from Santander quartet Grey Giant, may possibly be the first Spanish release we have covered on these pages not coming from either the Spinda Records or Discos Macarras labels so if you guys are reading this get on Grey Giant they're a band worth investing in.

If the first few notes of a songs intro grabs you by the throat and demands your undivided attention then its a pretty safe bet that the rest of the song is going to be a keeper, ok there are exceptions but on the whole if the intro rocks then nine times out ten the whole song will. This is certainly the case with "The Man, The Devil & The Grey Giant" the opening song from Grey Giant's debut release "Turn To Stone", a song that begins with a solitary crunchy guitar motif and is then joined by the drums and the bass and a second guitar in a stuttering heavily fuzzed out groove that is sure to have budding guitarists of all ages running to their axes of choice in the hope of emulating its addictive refrains. If the riffs and the rhythms were not enough to get your juices flowing the band then level up the songs groove factor by including clever little lead guitar hooks and fills behind a vocal that is powerful grainy and possess just a hint of semi-stoned slurriness in its execution. "Unwritten Letter" follows and this time we find the band hitting a stuttering groove drenched in fuzz and distortion that boasts just a touch of dank proto-doominess in both its vocal and musical dynamic. "Reverb Signals In Key F" takes the proto-doominess, touched upon in the previous track, and shifts it up a notch or three and adds into the mix a swaggering bluesiness that especially makes itself presence felt in the soaring guitar solos that weave in and out of the the songs raucous riffs and thunderous rhythms, the song also boasts some seriously out there lyrical content such as "Cigarettes in the wall, The Caps smoke another song" and "Four plus four is two turns, Shout loud and you're welcome" cryptic lines presumably written under the influence of something sweet and exotic which may go some way in explaining the singers semi-stoned vocal tones. Finally we arrive at the appropriately named "Last Bullet" a lyrically enigmatic anti-war tirade built around a heavy stoner/desert groove that has some nice shifts in pace and dynamic and adds an element of lysergic colouring to Grey Giant's already impressive musical palette.

Mario Hospital "Pitu" (bass/vocals); Javi Echeverría (rhythm/lead guitar); Hugo Echeverría (rhythm/lead guitar) and Pablo Salmón (drums) are names you should try to remember as they are names that hopefully will pop up again and again with the release of subsequent EP's and albums. Being a debut "Turn To Stone" is slightly naïve and raw in places, which should be expected, but this naivety and rawness in no way detracts from its appeal, in fact it adds to it.
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 16 May 2022


William Gunn (bass/backing vocals), Jeffrey Ponce-Carre (drums), David Lamothe (guitars) and Kurtis Labelle (vocals/guitars) are Hempress a Canadian quartet from Gatineau, Québec with a penchant for writing lyrical ditties concerning the darker side of life. If your lyrical content is based around drugs, murder, extra-terrestrials and horror then its more or less a given that the music you surround those lyrics with is going to carry a similar dark and dismal dynamic and Hempress do not disappoint on that score. Hempress' sound is a gnarly blend of grainy stoner metal and sludgy doom fronted by semi- harsh demonic toned vocals that sit just the right side of understandable, something you will no doubt discover for yourselves when checking out their debut release "Masters Of The Trade".

If you want to attract Desert Psychlist's attention to your music then there is no better way to do that than by gracing your grooves with artwork similar in style to that once gracing the covers of comics like Marvel's "Creepy" and DC's "Witching Hour" and Indonesian artist Resy Purnomo has certainly captured that vibe with his excellent illustration for "Masters Of The Trade". The second way to attract our attention is to have the necessary grooves in your armoury to compliment that artwork and Hempress have those grooves in abundance.
"From The Sky" opens "Masters Of The Trade" its dark droning intro, eerie and slightly dissonant, slowly morphs into a gnarly distortion and fuzz drenched proto-doomic groove that although may have its roots in Sabbathian soil is probably closer in dynamic to the current wave of "scuzzy" acid doom coming out of the Italian underground scene from bands like Wizard Master and Demonio. This "scuzziness" is further accentuated in the vocals that accompany this song, and for that matter all the songs on "Masters Of The Trade", with Kurtis Labelle not so much singing as tunefully sneering his way through the eight songs on offer, his vocals bordering on harsh and demonic but possessing much more clarity than is usually associated with this type of delivery.  Musically Hempress are all about the riffs and they serve up some beauties on this album with Labelle and Lamothe crunching out thick reverberating grainy refrains on songs with titles like "Melancholy Of A Dead Flower"," Funeral Haze" and "Into The Doomshere" ably supported in their endeavours by Gunn's deep growling bass lines and Ponce-Carre's tight thunderous drumming. Desert Psychlist is not sure if it is Labelle or Lamothe handling the guitar solos on "Masters Of The Trade" or a combination of both but they are delivered dark dank and swirling with just the merest hint of Iommi-esque tonality in their execution.

If you, like us, have been digging the "scuzzy" acid doom that has been slowly creeping out of Italy lately then this Canadian take on that same dynamic is going to be right up your street. Gnarly, slightly untamed and proto- doomic Hempress' "Masters OF The Trade" might not be everybody's cup of tea but it is ours and it might well be yours.
Check it out ...... 

  © 2022 Frazer Jones

Sunday 15 May 2022



Wigan, Greater Manchester is probably better known for its Rugby League than its contributions to music but it did give us the short lived The Verve and Limahl, member of pop group Kajagoogoo and singer of "Never Ending Story", so that's gotta count for something hasn't it?  Hoping to add their names to Wigan's not so extensive list of  celebrities are Deepshade a trio of hairy Wiganites consisting of  David Rybka (guitar/vocals/keys), Tom Doherty (bass) and Adam Owens (drums), the band have been knocking around in one form or another since 2015 and in that time have released two full albums and are about to unleash onto the world a new EP entitled "Gloaming", a release that heralds in a whole new approach to their art.

There is a touch of Spinal Tap about the way Deepshade go through drummers, the bands current drummer Adam Owens is the latest in a long line who have sat behind the traps, Owens has so far managed to avoid spontaneous combustion, bizarre gardening accidents or chocking on vomit from an unknown source but who knows what the future may hold for him. Owens plays on only two of the tracks on "Gloaming" with previous (hopefully still surviving) drummer Paul Barlow providing the beats on the other three. 
"Eat My Dust" kicks things in fine style, its crunching hard rock/stoner groove is buoyed by a guest contribution from saxophonist Christian Berg whose various  honks, trills and screams bring an almost soulful quality to proceedings. Rybka's vocals are not quite as soulful but have a clean grittiness totally in keeping with the equally gritty fuzz drenched riffs emanating from his guitar. "Mountain" follows and finds the band mixing the Seattle-like grunginess of their previous albums with some exotic eastern flavoured heavy psych  Although "Mountain" shows traces of  Deepshade's newer musical direction it is on "Life Is Beauty (Explicit)" that you really get to experience how much this band have moved on musically, the songs psychotic mix of jangly lysergic headiness and thrumming heavy metal riffage has an almost West Coast of America flavour in places. Its back to the riff'n'roll for "The Wolf" a hard driven rock song that boasts one of those vocal melodies that once heard is damn hard to forget. Deepshade sign off their new EP with title track "Gloaming" an enthralling and delicious Doors flavoured opus made even more Doors-like and delicious by Rybka's spot-on Lizard King vocal, Doherty's deep liquid bass, Owens mix of tight and loose drumming and the contributions of Francis Lydiatt on keyboards and Christian Berg on sax.

When  fellow Doom Charts contributor Marc-Eric Gagnon reached out to Desert Psychlist and suggested we check out Deepshade's new EP, with a view to giving it a write up, we were a little bit dubious as up until hearing "Gloaming" we had regarded Deepshade as more of an alt-rock combo with Nirvana-esque leanings, however on hearing the bands latest offering that opinion has drastically altered. "Gloaming" is a stunning opus packed full of interesting twists and turns, the band have found their own identity with this release, granted those grungy textures still exist in their music, and probably always will, but now they are blending those textures with elements gleaned from a broader musical palette and its a move that perfectly suits them.
Check 'em out ..... 

 © 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 9 May 2022

SNAKE HEALER ~ OBLATIO ...... review

Snake Healer
, a doom/sludge collective from Miami, Florida are a band shrouded in mystery, they are a band who like to keep their identities a guarded secret, refer to themselves as "Monks of the Serpentis Dominus"(Serpent Lord) and list among their hobbies exorcism, rituals, worship and prayer. Some reading that last sentence might well make the assumption that Snake Healer are some Ghost-like combo, playing with a similar occult themed formulae in order to give themselves an edge, whether this is the case or not Desert Psychlist can't say but what we can tell you is that Ghost even at their most satanic never sounded as dark, dank and as convincing as these guys do on their debut EP "Oblatio"

Things begin suitably dank and devotional with "Serpentis Dominus" a ritualistic affair which finds the band chanting their lord's name in monastic mantras over a backdrop of varied and sparse percussion around which a miasma of low dark droning keyboard effects add an extra level of creepiness. By now you are probably wishing you hadn't pushed play with the lights off and that situation is not going to improve by much when next track "Evocation" erupts out of your speakers in an explosion of crunching old school doom riffage and thunderous drumming accompanied by a vocal that lyrically borders on the edges of religious fanaticism. For next track, "In His Name", Snake Healer not only summon up the spirit of their lord but also that of  those LA thrashers Metallica cleverly hijacking part of the chorus and melody of "Master of Puppets" and swapping the word "Obey" for "Embrace". Musically however this could could not be further removed from thrash, the band jamming a low slow heavy groove decorated in a weirdly hypnotic mix of clean clear lead and harmonised vocal tones. Things start to get a little weird now (if they weren't weird enough already) with a piece of narrative entitled "Record Entry February 22 1922", this is a piece supposedly narrated to a recording device (reel to reel?) documenting one Robert E Brown's first contact with the Lord of Serpents and his observations. Things return to some semblance of normality with "Call On Me" an intriguing doomic number that lyrically intones the Lord of Serpents words to Mr. Brown inviting him to "take my hand, I'll show you the way" in pristine clear vocal tones backed by a groove that is "old school" in nature yet carries an air of dissonance in its execution. This is followed by "Record Entry November 22 2021" another spoken to tape piece this time documenting the handing over of power from one Coven leader (Speaker) to another by way of sacrifice which leads nicely to "Oblatio", a song chronicling this handing over of power from the perspective of the new "Speaker" that is played out to a soundtrack of dank and delicious doom over which Gregorian style mantras support a clean and suitably devout vocal.

Whether you buy into Snake Healer's tales of coven life, sacrifice and devotion to scaly skinned deities or believe this is all a cleverly constructed gimmick in order to give them an edge over their peers is nether here nor there, although it would be quite worrying if it were not, what really matters is do they DOOM and on the evidence of "Oblatio" they most certainly DO!
Check 'em out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 2 May 2022

GNOME ~ KING ........ review

Music does not need to be po-faced and deadly serious all the time, there will be times in all our lives when the continual tide of introspection, social commentary and general navel gazing begins to feel a little overwhelming and starts to have an impact on our mental wellbeing. It is in times like these that we need music that will lift us out of ourselves and replenish our chakra's, of course you don't want this music delivered to you by by some novelty act who mask their lack of instrumental ability with a little comedy, what you want is a band who can play the shit out of their instruments but are not adverse to bringing a little light relief to the table. Enter Gnome, three guys from Belgium with a penchant for wearing pointy red hats on their heads, who jam a groove that is heavy, sometimes complex and sometimes brutal but is at all times imbued with a tongue in cheek sense of the ridiculous, something their second album "King"(Polderrecords) will more than attest to.

Gnome are first and foremost musicians, they may wear slightly odd headgear and fill their songs with references to fantastical beasts and dubious royalty but these guys can PLAY! First track "Ambrosius" is both evidence of Gnome's musical prowess and their sense of fun, it is a song built around just a couple of riffs and limited lyrical content but has a groove that will stay spinning around in your head for days and days, its infectious guitar motifs thunderous bottom end and solid busy and tight percussion are twinned with a sparse but anthemic style vocal that transitions into a sludgy harmonised roar as the songs dynamic slows to a doomic finale. "Your Empire" follows and finds Vintage Caravan's Oskar Logi helping out on vocals, the songs dynamic is a little more stoner(ish) and strident than its predecessor and is slightly more wordy and melodic in the vocal department.. Up next is "Bulls of Bravik" a joyous slice of strident stonerized heavy prog that shows that as well as laying down the heavy these guys are no slouches when it comes to laying down something a little more complex either, the song also boasts Desert Psychlist's favourite lyric of the album, "here come the Bulls of Bravik, you better run away, they smell your fear and magic, they come to eat your face". Instrumental "Antibeast" takes those complexities hinted at on the previous track and raises them to another level, the songs constant shifts in tempo, dynamic and groove will leave you wondering if the song that just ended was really the same one you pushed play on three minutes earlier. It's back to the fun and frolics for next track "Wencleslas" an infectious up tempo stoner/sludge rocker chronicling our heroes displeasure with a certain monarch that features some clever little twists and turns along the way. Desert Psychlist recommends you check out the bands intentionally kitsch video for this song (here) so you have the necessary dance moves down if you ever get to see them live. Two instrumentals follow, "Kraken Wanker" and "Stinth Thy Clep", both are a mixture of dark doomic bluster and playful stoner swagger with the former boasting Celtic flavourings and the latter prog-metal textures. Gnome close "King" out with the ambitious "Platypus Patrol" an eleven minute plus epic that finds the band tempering their penchant for playfulness with a little dankness and darkness as well as a brief and unexpected foray into more lysergic waters. 

Gnome with "King" have managed to find a balance between their need to be taken seriously as musicians with their need NOT to take themselves TOO seriously, they are a band with the musical chops to compete at the highest levels but a band that can't help but inject their own sense of the off kilter, the weird and the ridiculous into what they do. "King" is heavy and brutal in places and complex and intelligent in others but it is also playful, light -hearted and fun and in these hard times that is a commodity we should not turn up our noses at. 
Check 'em out ....

© 2022 Frazer Jones

"King" releases May 6th 2022 on Polderrecords