Friday 29 July 2022


Blending genres is an art in itself and when those genres include grunge, stoner metal and doom well it takes a special band to pull it off. Grunge is a genre that tends to polarize opinion, there are many who will quite happily listen to stoner metal and dank dark doom yet will just not entertain anything associated with the word "grunge" often citing it as being a self-loathing and depressing music, which is ironic in a way as some of the best metal and doom ever recorded has come from a place of bleakness and sorrow. As we said earlier it takes a special band to build a bridge between genres and successfully blend them together so that the resulting mix will appeal to fans of each camp and in Desert Psychlist's humble opinion Illinois quintet Gamma Goat are such a band, something their latest album "Interlude" will more than attest to.

Things start off a little weird with the brief intro piece "Prelude" but then get really interesting with "Get In The Trough" a song that perfectly exemplifies Gamma Goat's penchant for mashing up grunge/alt-rock with doom and metal, the song boasting thick swathes of low tuned riffage underpinned by pummelling percussion over which the vocals are a trade off between bear-like growls. anguished screams and clean mellow croons before the song finally signs off on a wave of screaming feedback. "Sea of Flies". follows and is an absolute MONSTER of a song that jams a doom flavoured groove but decorates that groove with a a vocal melody that utilizes a mixture quiet/loud/quiet dynamics and Chris Cornell-like vocal pyrotechnics as well as including a lysergic mid-section over which spoken narrative tells of "valleys of the moon" and "desert plains" before erupting into a maelstrom of squealing guitar motifs and thundering take it to its finale. This is followed by "Interlude I" another brief experimental piece that leads into ""An Offering" an ever shifting blend of strutting grunge/alt-rock and stoner metal around which an array of vocal stylings are employed. "Drying Up The Bones" is up next a spitting spluttering full on metal/grunge hybrid that borrows flavours from both Soundgarden and Alice In Chains but comes out sounding pure Gamma Goat. "Interlude II" comes and goes in just under 39 seconds and opens the way for final number "Underwrath" a song that finds the band channelling the spirit of all of grunge's finest bands in one superb musical piece while at the same time adding into that mix their own signature stoner fuzz and metallic bluster.

After the deaths of  Kurt Cobain, Scott Wieland and Chris Cornell grunge/alt-rock as a genre found itself somewhat adrift of what was going on around it, it was a genre in dire need of a reboot. Gamma Goat's "Interlude" may not be the album that will lift grunge to the heights it attained in the 90's but by injecting elements of stoner metal fuzz, doom-ic dankness and heavy psych into the genre's ailing veins the band have certainly given it another lease of life. 
Check it out.... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 26 July 2022



One of the most important elements of doom as a music is probably the one that gets overlooked the most, you may have the low down-tuned riffs, you may have the slow ponderous and pummelling percussion and you may have the dark lyrical tales but if you can't create the dank brooding atmospherics that pull everything together and are such  an essential component of the genre then you might as well forget calling what you do doom. Fortunately Fort Worth, Texas quartet Realm DrifterJayson (vocals/guitar); Richie (guitar); Lee (bass) and Daniel (drums), do not have this problem their songs are absolutely drenched in atmosphere, as you will no doubt find out for yourselves when you give the bands self-titled debut "Realm Drifter" a spin.

You probably could not ask for a more atmospheric opener than "Fire for Wolves" its intro of liquid deep bass and solid drumming leads into a groove that sits somewhere between slow and mid tempo and boasts scorching blues tinted guitar solos that soar with dark majestic grace over a gritty edged vocal that borders on harshness but manages to retain an air of clarity. "With No Name" follows and has a slower more doom-ic dynamic and finds Jayson tempering his vocal almost to a croon in places, something that ramps the songs impact up several notches and gives the song added depth especially when set against the mix of crunching riffs and reverberating almost surf -like guitar textures that accompany it. Lee gets to introduce next song "Feeding Shadows" with a low growling bass motif which is then joined by Jayson and Richie's guitars in a low, slow heavy groove expertly anchored by drummer Daniel's powerful rhythmic patterns around which Jayson fashions a slurred hazy vocal melody that occasionally erupts into a feral roar, the song finally closing its account with a dank dark and atmosphere drenched jam that sees the guitarists trading off swirling solos and screeching feedback against a backdrop of deliciously dark doom-ic groove. "Sound of an Owl" sees Realm Drifter stepping into psych territory with hazy filtered vocals and twanging guitar tones routinely being interrupted by sudden bursts of low slung metallic mayhem. while final track "Realm Drifter" retains both the twang, haziness and quiet/loud/quiet dynamics of its predecessor but this time when it erupts it erupts like a volcano. 

Doom is a music that trades heavily on atmosphere and there is no lack of that commodity in the five songs that make up Realm Drifter's debut, brooding moody and dark "Realm Drifter" is most definitely the real deal!
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 25 July 2022

PARALYZED ~ HEAVY ROAD ...... review

When reviewing Paralyzed's self-titled debut "Paralyzed" Desert Psychlist waxed lyrical over the authenticity of the bands late 60's, early 70's heavy blues attack and we also unashamedly gushed over how well the band had managed to bring that sound up to date by incorporating elements of today's stoner rock, doom and psych into their sound. Desert Psychlist also noted that in doing this Paralyzed were not only pandering to those who grew up listening to the likes of Zeppelin, Hendrix, Cream and The Doors but were also effectively introducing heavy blues to a whole new generation of listeners who were not even born when those giants walked the Earth.
The band, Michael Binder (vocals/lead guitar);Caterina Böhner (organ/rhythm guitar); Philipp Engelbrecht (bass) and Florian Thiele (drums), have returned this year (2022) with their second full length album "Heavy Road", and if you were hoping to hear more of that voodoo tinted hard rock and heavy blues "Paralyzed" brought to the table then you will not be disappointed as "Heavy Road" brings you more of the same only this time with the bands music sounding even more bombastic, bluesier and blustering than before!

A band needs an edge to elevate itself above the wannabees and also rans that populate any musical scene and Paralyzed have quite a few edges in their armoury but by far the biggest edge Paralyzed possess has to be the voice of Michael Binder, Binder's Danzig meets Morrison meets Warren Haynes vocal tones are blessed with a gruff lived in weariness that is a perfect fit for the authentic late 60's mix of  hazy and heavy blues grooves Böhner, Engelbrecht and Thiele lay down around him, grooves that Binder himself also contributes to with his searing lead work. Binder has a voice tailor made for the blues, he can portray anger, melancholy, pain and passion without ever needing to go overboard on the vocal pyrotechnics, his voice coming across at times like a quiet storm underlined with a rumbling thunder. This is no one man show however and Engelbrecht, Thiele and Böhner more than justify their places on this outstanding album. these three are the engine room that drives Paralyzed's blues drenched grooves. Thiele's drumming, a mixture of solid tightness and loose fluidity, combines with Engelbrecht's deliciously deep and grumbling bottom end and Böhner's rhythmic riffs, crunching chords and keyboard textures, on songs like "Orange Carpet", "Pilgrim Boots", and "Coal Mine", to anchor down Paralyzed's bluesy grooves and in turn allow Binder the freedom and room to not only express himself vocally but also to unleash an absolute scorching array of solos, together these four musicians creating something that is both magical and mind-blowing.

Desert Psychlist could easily have gone into a track by track analysis of all the songs that populate "Heavy Road" but we felt that would detract a little from you, the readers/listeners, discovering for yourselves the many delights that inhabit this excellent album, all we will say is that "Heavy Road" is an album that will make any "skip" functions you may have attached to your mode of listening totally and utterly redundant.
Check it out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Friday 15 July 2022


Desert Psychlist has probably bored some of you rigid with our slavering appreciation of Italy's scuzz rock/acid doom sub-genre but we refuse to apologise for promoting the likes of Black Spell, Demonio, Sonic Demon and others because the lysergic laced fuzzed drenched doom these bands explore is something we think deserves your attention. The sound these bands bring to the table obviously owes a huge debt to Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard (especially the latter) but it also possible it owes a debt to a band living literally almost on their doorstep. Black Capricorn hail from the island of Sardinia and although their early sonic attack leant more towards doom of a traditional flavour there was always an element of grainy fuzzed out "scuzziness" about their sound,. The band, whose current line up consists of Rachela Piras (drums); Virginia Piras (bass) and Fabrizio Monni (guitars/vocals), briefly disbanded in 2019 only to reconvene again  in 2021 whence they almost immediately started working on new songs , those songs have now been finished, recorded and are now ready for consumption via the bands fifth album "Cult of Blood" (Majestic Mountain Records), an enthralling mix of old and new school doominess tinted with just a hint of good old "scuzz

Things start off suitably "scuzzed" out and fuzzy with "Secret Society of Seven", Rachela and Virginia Piras laying down an impressive grainy bedrock of rhythmic proto-doom over which Monni layers distorted guitar refrains and searing guitar solos while also telling us in clean melodic and ear catching tones of some of the "Seven's" nefarious dealings and ritual practices. Some will be reminded of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats in the way that Black Capricorn blend this songs blustering heaviness with a hook laden vocal melody but for their new albums next track, "Worshipping the Bizarre Reverend" the band pay homage to another band with a song referencing the traditional doom and heavy metal of  Finland's Reverend Bizarre, the band dispensing with the grainy stoner-like fuzz of  of their opening track and opting for a thicker denser dynamic that alternates between strident and galloping and low, slow and heavy with Monni's vocals taking on a deeper darker tone. It is the previous songs lower slower dynamic that informs next song "Giants of Prama" , its atmospheric dirge-like groove, driven by Rachela's steady pounding percussion and Virginia's growling fuzz drenched bass, is given extra atmospheric gravitas thanks to Monni's crunching power chords, tasteful blues infused solos and monastic like vocals. For "Godsnake Djamballah" Black Capricorn opt to go instrumental and experimental and manage to pull it off surprisingly well, the Piras sisters laying down a low slow doomic groove over which Monni layers a smorgasbord of effects and guitar trickery. We are back in Uncle Acid territory again for "Snake of the Wizard" with Black Capricorn once again successfully balancing melody with might on a song that walks a nice line between scuzzy proto-metal and traditional doom while for "Witch of Endor" they re-enter the realms of low slow and heavy but then take the songs enjoyment level up several notches by adding a little heavy psych texturing and colour into the equation. Black Capricorn close "Cult of Blood" with "Uddadhadder" a hypnotic opus with exotic undertones that boasts Arabian guitar textures, eastern rhythms and droning bass motifs over which mantra-like vocals are reverentially intoned, the song serving as a bewitching finale to a totally captivating album of quality Italian doom.

Black Capricorn are back and with the release  of "Cult of Blood" it almost feels like they never went away, the dank dark tones we have come to love from this band are still all very much in evidence on their new opus as is their commitment to delivering doom of quality and substance, let's hope this superb doomic combo never go away again.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 13 July 2022



Gather around Ladies and Gentlemen for today, for your entertainment, we present a marvel of the modern age, a a two headed beast from the depths of the Southern Hemisphere that will cause you to swoon in amazement and gasp in wonder. This dual headed phenomenon has resided in the Argentinian province of  Córdoba for many a year and up until now has been kept a closely guarded secret, its existence known only to a chosen few, but now, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, we can reveal its identity to the world. This beast goes by the name of Les Nadie and the sound emanating from the two heads that make up its whole is one that can cause mountains to crumble and buildings to shake and if you don't believe us then listen to this recording of this beasts roar which has been released for your listening pleasure beneath the title "Destierro y Siembra"

Of course the intro to this review is just Desert Psychlist flexing our artistic licence and attempting to tongue in cheek mimic the verbal spiel of  one of those moustachioed top hat wearing barkers that can be found at fairgrounds and circuses, however that does not mean that there are not grains of truth to be found in those words. Les Nadie does have two heads in that it is a band made up of two individuals, Juan Conde (guitar/vocals) and Rodri Deladerova (drums), and as for the beast part well the sound these two make together most definitely has its fair share of feral and bestial moments.
What we didn't allude to in our intro is that Les Nadie are a band not averse to throwing a few off kilter and quirky curveballs into their blend of stoner metal and heavy psych grooviness. This becomes immediately apparent on the albums first track, "Grito el indio", a quasi instrumental that starts life with a lightly distorted blues motif then explodes into fully fuzzed out and overdriven stoner/desert riff with doomic overtones. So when do these curveballs make their presence felt we hear you ask... well if  high pitched wordless wailing, bell mimicking effects, discordant guitar solos and weird grunting is not curveball enough for you...well we don't know what else will be. "Zhonda" follows and begins strident and busy with Deladerova laying down a barrage of busy powerful percussion over which Conde layers raucous and heavily distorted guitar refrains, that is until the vocals appear (Spanish) and the raucousness of the guitar falls away to be replaced by what sounds like keyboards, but could be a guitar effect, pinging and popping over Conde's clean gritty lyrical warbling's and wordless falsetto. The rest of the album follows a similar path to what has gone before but with subtle deviations along the way, "Siembra/Destierro" jams a desert style groove broken up by going off on weird and wonderful tangents, "Helledén" eases things down a notch or two and sees Conde getting in touch vocally with his Latin roots, "Babas D'allah" throws the hammer down with a stop start groove that alternates between liquid and lysergic and crunching and metallic while "Del Pombero" takes everything that has been explored previously on this album and crams it all together in one song. The album signs out with "Venenauta" a short experimental piece that is more a soundscape than an actual song, all weird effects and guitar arpeggios, its a strange piece to finish on but then again there is nothing straightforward about anything on this album so it could be argued that its inclusion is quite fitting and in keeping with the albums underlying quirkiness.

Slightly skewered and left of centre Les Nadie's "Destierro y Siembra" is an album that alternates between following all the usual musical rules and breaking them, it is an album that confuses as much as it enthrals but that is also its beauty, it can be a challenging listen at times but despite this always a worthwhile one.
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 12 July 2022

SAMÁN ~ II. MONTAÑA ROJA .... review

Colombia is a country that rarely gets a mention when discussing underground rock music emanating from the Southern American continent, whether this is because the structures needed to promote Colombian underground rock to a wider international audience are just not in place or its simply a case of there being a dearth of bands playing this type of music in Colombia, Desert Psychlist doesn't know. What we can tell you however is that if there is one band who could change that state of affairs and firmly plant Colombia's flag on the international map then it has to be Bogotá four piece Samàn.
Samàn, Iván Rodríguez (vocals, guitar, keyboards); Santiago Mora (guitar); José González (bass) and Ricardo Silva (drums), will already be known to those that invested time and/or money in their 2017 EP " La Caída del Ancestro", a pummelling blend of stoner metal bluster and doomic dankness shot through with elements of old school heavy metal and heavy psych, but even those familiar with the band will not be prepared for what they are about to hear via the bands debut full length album "II, Montaña Roja"

If a finger of criticism could be pointed at Samàn's debut EP "La Caída del Ancestro" it would be that the vocals sat a tad too high in the mix however that criticism is one that cannot be applied to "II, Montaña Roja", here the vocals sit further back in the mix a development that has seen the occasional harshness of those vocals becoming tempered slightly and thus making for a much more enjoyable listen. Another development that makes a huge difference to Samàn's overall sound is the introduction of keyboards something that adds extra texture and colour to their compositions and allows them the extra space to fly. From the very first moment of hearing the instrumental opener "Montaña Roja (parte uno)" you will think you are listening to a completely different band to the one that made "La Caída del Ancestro", here we have a sound that ebbs and flows with a majestic fluidity that has in parts a Colour Haze(ish) vibe, González's deep liquid bass and Silva's mix of restrained and thunderous percussion holding down a foundation of groove around which Rodríguez and Mora layer swathes of tasteful keyboard and guitar textures that even when things do get a little heavy and raucous retain their flow and clarity. Vocals enter the fray for next track "El sueño" and you are immediately struck by how much difference shifting vocals slightly back in the mix can make to a bands overall sonic impact, the songs vocal interplay (sang in Spanish) that shifts between clean mellow and harmonious and harsh and guttural feels organic and natural and sits within its backdrop of raucous crunching riffage and punchy pummelling rhythms perfectly while following track "Camino a la piedra" twins Samàn's love of the lysergic with their love of a few good riffs, the song routinely swapping back and forth between languid and loose and blustering and tight, seamlessly shifting between these two dynamics without ever once losing a grip of its groove, the song also boasts a great vocal and some searing guitar work.
And so it goes on through "Alba", "En el siguiente valle", "A las puertas", "Tierra muerta"and "Cumbre" to closing song "Montaña Roja (parte dos)" the band blending the sort of lysergic heavy psych that has become the hallmark of bands like Colour Haze, My Brother the Wind and Sungrazer with the blustering heaviness of bands like Dopelord, IAH and in some respects Elder yet managing to still come out the other side with their own unique signature sound.

Not one guitar note, drum beat, keyboard flourish, bass run or vocal inflection is wasted on "II, Montaña Roja" each merits its place in the whole and each combines to make that whole something  quite special AND essential!
Check it out!

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Sunday 10 July 2022

OBIAT ~ INDIAN OCEAN ..... review


London based quartet Obiat should be no strangers to those who prefer their grooves to have a leaning towards the progressive end of the underground rock spectrum or those partial to to some sludge-like heaviness. The band first came onto Desert Psychlist's radar via their debut "Accidently Making Enemies"(2002) a stunning mix of crunching sludginess and stoner metal fuzziness shot through with elements of heavy psych and prog which was followed up three years later by "Emotionally Driven Disturbance" (2005) an album that saw the heavy psych and prog textures of the previous album taking a more prominent role in Obiat's overall sound. Four years later (2009) the band released "Eye Tree Pi" which followed much the same path as its predecessor, an album that continued the bands mission of balancing out of their love of a meaty riff with their equal love of complexity and intricacy. Its been a long time since Obiat last released an album but despite all the line-up changes (Raf Reutt is the only member to have played on all the bands releases)) and the long periods between albums the bands music has continued to develop and evolve, the bands latest release, "Indian Ocean", with the current line up of  Alex Nervo (bass/guitar/keys and FX); Neil Dawson (drums/percussion); Sean Cooper (vocals) and the ever present Raf Reutt (guitars/keys and FX), is testament to that ongoing evolution, ok it may have taken thirteen years to arrive but believe us when we say the wait has been worth it.

Obiat are not averse to inviting other musicians to contribute to their albums and there are a whole slew of guests making an appearance throughout "Indian Ocean" the first of these guests being Arek Kasprzak who adds traditional South American and Japanese bamboo flute textures to the languid and quite beautiful middle section of opening track "Ulysses". "Ulysses" is a song that begins life with swirling keys reminiscent of something you might hear in a Hammer House of Horrors movie but then explodes into a spluttering prog(ish) metal groove tempered by a lilting yet powerful vocal melody. It is this juxtaposition of melody and might that sets Obiat apart from many of their contemporaries, where a similar sounding bands might throw some harshness into their vocals Obiat go the other way and layer their crunching metallic grooves with mellow soaring harmonies and clean strong lead adding a contrast that you might think won't work but ultimately does. "Eyes and Soul" follows and finds the band jamming a layered prog-like groove around a heavily filtered vocal that gives the song an almost submerged vibe almost as if the singer is trying to communicate his thoughts from beneath some sort of liquid shroud, that is until just past the halfway mark when the song takes on a heavier dynamic with the guitar and bass hitting into a chugging stuttering metallic refrain driven hard by some seriously impressive drumming. The track also features Marta Rakowska (trombone) and Tomasz Bachorz (saxophone) but their contributions are more a case of adding texture and colour than anything else and tend to get a little lost here. "Acid Wake" is up next and finds Obiat adding a a touch of dank doom-ic pacing to their repertoire something that the band offset with a nicely ambient/post-rock sections which once again features flautist Arek Kasprzak. For "Nothing Above" the band go all in on the post rock utilizing not only the skills of  Rakowska and Bachorz, whose contributions here are much more prominent, but also the voice of  Swedish alternative artist Sofia DeVille whose sweet ethereal vocals give the song a haunting, almost folk like, quality. "Sea Burial" finds us back in sludge metal/prog territory with the band once again offsetting their crunching distorted riffs with lilting melodies that soar in opposition to the heaviness surrounding them, a heaviness added to by the occasional bursts of free jazz blowing from Rakowska and Bachorz. "Ad Mellora" is a wonderfully diverse trip from post-rock serenity into sludge drenched chaos while the epic "Beware The North Star" builds from humble and languid to atmospheric and torch-like touching base along its way with alt-rock and doom before slowly fading away into silence. All good things have to eventually come to end and "Indian Ocean" closes its account with the quite beautiful  "Lightness of Existence" a track that is more a tone poem than an actual song, its majestic backdrop of Oriental flavoured percussion, keyboard effects and flute is accompanied by spoken narrative from Japanese musician Fumio Takaki, his whispered words (spoken/intoned in his native language) combined with the serenity of the music that surrounds those words may not quite be what you were expecting to hear close an album that started so explosively but that's Obiat for you, a band you can guarantee will always deliver the unexpected.

Thirteen years between releases is a long time to wait for a new album but when you are presented with and album of the depth, intensity and sheer musical brilliance of Obiat's "Indian Ocean" well then the  time waited becomes an irrelevance and you just have to thank the higher beings of your choice that a band like Obiat exists and is still out there making music of this quality and calibre. 
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

Monday 4 July 2022

PARISH ~ PARISH ..... review


"Pastoral" is a word that can either mean "land used for the the grazing of sheep and cattle", "spiritual advice from clergy" or "the portrayal of an idealized life in the country via literature or music", so given that London, UK proto-metal power trio Parish describe their music as having "pastoral" themes and (as far as we can make out) seem to have no connections with either farming or religion we can only assume that it is the latter that has the greater influence on the songs that inhabit their debut self titled album "Parish" (Crypt Of The Wizard). 

Ironically enough, for an album called "Parish" by a band called Parish, it is a song called "Parish" that kicks things off, a song that perfectly encapsulates the albums, and for that matter the bands, "pastoral" approach to their music. "Parish" is a song that possesses all the riffs and rhythms you could possibly ask for in a rock song but never goes overboard on its heaviness or gets needlessly over raucous in its musical attack, this is not to say heaviness and raucousness are elements that this song lacks it just they are somewhat tempered by the bands more considered and somewhat light-handed approach to their art, something that is also reflected in the songs vocals which are sang with clean clarity and possess just the merest hint of mellow huskiness. The relaxed, "pastoral" approach of the first track is something that runs right through the albums ten tracks, songs like "Lucinda", "Soil and Scythe", "Pilgrim's End", and "Poseidon Song" all contain their fair share of crunching riffs, growling bottom end and punchy rhythmic patterns but the band utilize these elements in support of their song writing rather than in an attempt to hide any lacking in that department. The band also cleverly keep their songs short sharp and to the point, you will find no meandering ten minute jamming on this album, each song, apart from Sabbath-esque "Gaolbreak" is kept under the five minute mark and each benefits greatly from this approach with each song feeling that bit more immediate, focused and impactful. The real "pastoral" element of "Parish" (the album) can be found in its lyrical content the band filling their songs with references to demons, witches curses and Puritan fire set in rural landscapes of an age long past. Quite what led three London based rock musicians to explore such rural themes is unknown to Desert Psychlist but given how well they integrate those themes into the retro flavoured proto-metal grooves that are the backbone of "Parish" we are pleased they did,  this is one seriously good album!

Parish, Joe Bulmer (drums); James Paulley (guitar/vocals) and Tom Hughes (bass), jam a groove that harks back to a bygone age, a groove inspired by bands like Pagan Altar, Ashbury, Home and Wishbone Ash, bands whose rock and metal incorporated aspects of traditional music and folk and relied a little less on the blues than many of their late 60's to mid 70's contemporaries. It is a sound many may describe as "retro" or "vintage", and in truth it is both of those things, but would be better described as just bloody good rock music (if just a little "pastoral")
Check it out ...

© 2022 Frazer Jones