Thammuz's second album bursts into life with an absolute barn burner in the shape of instrumental "Electric Sheep", though to call it an instrumental is not strictly accurate as it does contain a heavily filtered robotic voice quoting the title of Phillip K. Dick's celebrated novel that inspired the movie "Blade Runner". The track begins with a delicious circular guitar motif that is then joined by the bass, drums and second guitar in a groove that recalls the heydays of Kyuss and Fu Manchu, a raucous, grainy and strident groove that would make the perfect soundtrack for an overhead shot of cars racing through deserts in some futuristic road movie. Leaving us no time to catch our breaths Thammuz then slam straight into the album's title track "Sons of the Occult" a thrumming blend of doom tinted riffage interspersed with curly little QOTSA flavoured guitar licks and motifs overlayed with a superbly pitched throaty vocal that at one point intones the immortal lines "We all have the power in our hands to kill, some of you want to but just a few will". Next up is "Guayota" a semi-acoustic instrumental that slowly builds layer upon layer and along the way incorporates a mixture of Floydian and Elder type guitar textures and colours in its sonic makeup This is then followed by "Had A Blast" a hypnotic tome decorated in a mix of falsetto and husky vocal tones, the song subtly increasing in intensity and volume but never quite exploding. "Self-taught Man" is the type of song Alice Cooper might have pitched to his record company back in his early days only to be told not to risk his career, it is a song that shares many of the musical characteristics Alice toyed with back in those early days. Its lyrical themes of horror and perversity are almost vaudevillian in content and are backed by a mixture of musical backdrops that range from Victorian music hall theatrics to Sunset Strip hard rock sleaziness, and who could resist a line like "i want to play with your remains" or the offer to "make love to you when you were dead". Next is "Dumuzid's Descent" a brief but interesting instrumental with strong lysergic overtones which then leads us to "Death Song's" a crunching riff monster with an old school hard/desert rock vibe that routinely shifts between a strident gallop and a satisfying chug. "People From the Sky" follows next and is a nicely paced desert rock workout perfect for driving along to while "Peyote", an instrumental, blends heavy psych haziness with desert rock swagger without drifting too far into either territory. Finally, we arrive at "Insomnia" a song that shifts with keen regularity between laid back and languid and raucous and gnarly boasting along the way low liquid bass motifs, crunching riffs, searing solos and thunderous solid percussion all topped off with a superb vocal that lyrically sways between weary introspection and questioning anger.
© 2022 Frazer Jones