Thursday 20 October 2022


It has been a while since a Brazilian band graced these pages, which is a little weird as there was a time when it seemed that every other band we were listening to seemed to hail from this South American country. This recent lack of coverage comes to an end today with the release of "Breathtaker" (All Good Clean Records) the second full length album from Londrina trio Red Mess, Douglas Labigalini (drums); Thiago Franzim (guitars/vocals) and Lucas Klepa (bass/vocals), who, for those not familiar with the band, play a super cool blend of stoner rock and heavy psych undershot with elements of alt-rock/grunge and old school hard rock.

If immediate impact is what you are looking for from an album well then you couldn't ask for anything more impactful than opening song/ title track "Breathtaker". This is a song that literally leaps out of the speakers in a whirlwind of gnarly riffage and thunderous drumming but then just as suddenly drops away into a languid and grungy blues groove over which  hushed, almost whispered, vocals tell of "trying something new" and being "out of control" before then once again taking off into gnarlier territories with the vocals taking on a more strident and powerful dynamic, the song swaying back and forth in this way before finally signing off with a low slow doomic refrain. Following song "Deep Blue Fever", much like its predecessor, doesn't bother with clever intros and instead dives straight into the groove with amps turned up to eleven and effect pedals dialled to devastation, vocals here are pitched a little cleaner and a touch more melodic but any relief  from the onslaught of fuzzed out gnarliness they may provide is soon wiped out by the gloriously mind-fucking and heavily dissonant guitar solo that finally brings the song to its close. If you are already familiar with Red Mess, you will know they do love to get a little heady and cosmic from time to time and next song "Icicles" is the perfect vehicle for that side of their character, the songs mix of laid back and languid serenity and heavy stoner bluster sees luscious low liquid bass, sweetly swept arpeggios and shimmering percussion routinely trading places with growling bottom end, thunderous drum patterns and crunching power chords without once feeling disjointed or forced. "Extinction" and "Outta Sight" follow, both songs foot to the floor rockers but with the latter boasting an off-kilter and spaced-out middle section. Following these two comes "Dead End Stairs" a song that crams all Red Mess' eggs into one basket, a song that is in turns heavy, grungy, lysergic and bluesy and for its finale serves up another of those jaw-dropping dissonant guitar wig-outs while penultimate track "Atomic Tide" has somewhat of a desert rock feel due to its strident rhythms and the grainy tones of its bass and guitars. It has almost become a tradition in rock music to save your best for last and Red Mess uphold that tradition with closer "Crushing Gravity" a song with so many twists and turns it's hard to know sometimes if you are still listening to the same song and haven't accidently skipped onto a series of hidden bonus tracks, Heavy, heady spaced out and swaggering the song boasts some really impressive lead and harmonised vocal dynamics as well as some pretty slick musicianship, it is a monster of a song that does not just match the impact of the albums opening number it supersedes it!

"Breathtaker" contains everything a fan of underground rock music could ever hope to find gracing one album, it is heady and cosmic, snarling and gnarly, it touches base with heavy psych, proto-doom, hard rock, alt-rock and the blues while at the same time juggles melody with dissonance, it is in short, a nugget of Brazilian gold that more than lives up to its title!
Check it out ..... 

© 2022 Frazer Jones

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