Wednesday 22 June 2022


New York's Smoke The Light are a four piece heavy psych/sludge/doom combo who after starting their individual journeys playing raucous punk rock in bands with names like The Rebel Dead, Seer, Six Kills and Taking Back Sunday decided they wanted to try their hand at something that was a little bit darker and a touch heavier. The Long Island quartet, consisting of Jarett Slionski (rhythm guitar/vocals); Paul Komsic (bass/backing vox); Jerzy Kurjanski (lead guitar) and Steve DeJoseph (drums), tell us their intentions are to "play loud catchy music pulling inspiration from bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Elder and High on Fire".

The band have just recently released their debut EP "Ego Death" a riff heavy ass-kicking collection of songs that'll leave you battered, bruised, blown away and highly entertained.

Given the bands punk rock backgrounds and their intentions to hit the doom-ic road it might come as a surprise to find the band opening their debut release with "Intro/We Are Not Alone" an experimental piece that leans more towards the avant-garde than it does the low. slow and sludgy, its mixture of throbbing bass and industrial noise making for an interesting listen if a somewhat unsettling one. Things return to some semblance of normality with next track "InHell" its grainy heavily distorted bass and guitar refrains are driven by pounding percussion and decorated in wah pedal drenched lead work, a combination that gives the song a sludge-like dynamic but a dynamic not reflected in its vocals which retain a little of the punkish snarl that was part of each the members pasts. Smoke The Light really get to show their doom credentials on next track "Wizards" its slow to mid-tempo groove boasts some seriously fuzzed out riffs and is fronted by some really impressive vocals which are crooned clean and mellow on the songs verses transitioning to a feral scream on its chorus and if that wasn't enough there is also a nicely paced Iommi-esque guitar solo to look forward to. "The Heroic Dose" is next and here we find our heroes jamming a galloping groove that sits somewhere between stoner rock and old school heavy metal and is furnished with clever ear catching guitar motifs and an easy to singalong to hook laden vocal melody. "Detached" follows and is a song that starts out raucous with bluesy undertones and then explodes into a desert/stoner groove interspersed with some clever musical twists and turns something that is mimicked in its vocals which are roared and raw for the most part but then revert to mellow doom-ic mantra as the song reaches its conclusion.  Last song and title track "Ego Death" is a song that employs everything from galloping Sabbath-esque riffs to stuttering sludge like crunching chord progressions, it also features this EP's best vocal performance, heavy, riff fuelled and strident the song stands as a fitting finale to what has been a very good and highly enjoyable listen from a band Desert Psychlist is sure we will hear much more from in the future

Smoke The Light's "Ego Death" is a debut release and as such it is a little naïve and untamed in places but that is not a criticism that should put you off giving this a spin or laying down a few dollars/pounds on their Bandcamp page to add this to your collection. "Ego Death" is a solid highly enjoyable release from a band who if they continue on this trajectory will become one of those bands, much like those bands they wish to emulate, whose albums/EP's are pre-ordered unheard long before their release dates.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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