"Master of None" confirms that all is still well in the world of Desert Storm, the song boasting ear-catching twin guitar motifs and crunching riffs driven by a superb rhythm section over which singer Ryan delivers a superbly pitched vocal that oozes husky gravitas. The song seems to lean towards an almost Viking Metal dynamic in places, whether this is intentional or not Desert Psychlist does not know but it works. "Cheyne Stoking" is next, a song inspired by graffiti seen sprayed on a wall in Shane Meadow's excellent British revenge movie "Dead Man's Shoes", much like the movie the song is a blend of simpering menace and extreme violence which in the songs case takes the form of pastoral folkish prog progressing into chord crunching, drum skin pounding heaviness with its vocals following a similar progression. There is a touch of, fellow Oxfordites, Radiohead's "Street Spirit" about next track "Bad Trip" in its arpeggiated intro but that comparison soon gets dispelled when a third of the way in Desert Storm erupt into a heavy stoner/sludge groove that would make Thom York's damaged eyelid flutter like a butterfly. For "Melatone" Desert Storm take a leaf out of Green Lung's book by mixing their sludge and stoner grooves with touches of retro flavoured occult rock to create a sound that is at times achingly beautiful at others blustering and brutal. Gently picked acoustic guitar introduces "Salt of the Earth" accompanied by a mournful thick and gravelled vocal, the songs occasional eruptions into gnarled heaviness tempered by bluesy solo's, languid acoustic noodling and flourishes of lysergic keyboard textures. The next three songs "Druid's Heath", "Insomniac" and " Self Depreciation" finds Desert Storm sandwiching proggish textures and psychedelic colours between various degrees of heavy metallic stoner grittiness while final track "New Dawn" sees the band bringing things to a close with an uncharacteristic but quite delightful bright and airy instrumental.
Wednesday, 29 March 2023
DESERT STORM ~ DEATH RATTLE ...... review
Monday, 27 March 2023
ACID KING ~ BEYOND VISION ..... review
Friday, 24 March 2023
THE RHUBARB ~ SYMPTOM OF FAILURE .... review
If a band cites among its influences such luminaries as Black Sabbath, Electric Wizard, Sleep and High on Fire then you are probably expecting said band to have a somewhat similar sound, well you might unless that band hails from Scotland and goes by the surprisingly un-doom-like name of The Rhubarb. The Rhubarb, Hannah White (vocals/bass); Seán Maguire (vocals); Michael McConville (guitar) and Jack Donnelly (drums), may share some of the qualities of those bands they cite as influences but sounding like them is not one of them, this is a band who approach their doom from a whole different angle as you may come to realise when giving their latest release "Symptom of Failure" a listen.
Thursday, 23 March 2023
WIZDOOM ~ TROLLDOOM .... review
Majestica, Therion-live. ex-Captain Crimson bassist/guitarist/vocalist Chris David had a sound in his head, a sound that merged the doom of his fellow Swedes Candlemass and Witchcraft with the polished electric blues of the USA's workaholic guitarist Joe Bonamassa. To bring this vision to life David needed to recruit musicians who shared his vision and so in came Richard Eriksson on drums, Mattias Linusson on Hammond organ and Andreas Eriksson on guitar to record an EP of songs under the collective name of Wizdoom. Now whether this line up is set in stone or has been put together by David just for this project Desert Psychlist does not know but given the strength of the songs on the bands debut "Trolldoom"(Moving Air Music) and the way these guys bring those songs to life, we hope its the former rather than the latter.
Check it out ...
© 2023 Frazer Jones
Tuesday, 21 March 2023
GREEN YETI ~ NECROPOLITAN .... review
Pick a colour then pick a mythical creature to pair it with seems to be the thinking behind many of the names bands choose to call themselves, why this is Desert Psychlist could not say but run your finger down a list of albums owned by any discerning stoner, doom or psych fan and you would be hard pushed not to find a black this or a red that. Today's review concerns one such band who have used this colour/creature combination, a Greek doom/stoner psych trio called Green Yeti, consisting of Dani Avramidis (bass); Michael Andresakis (guitar/vocals) and Giannis Koutroumpis (drums), who have just released their latest album "Necropolitan"
Green Yeti kick off their new album with instrumental "Syracuse" a stunning heavy psych jam packed full of interesting little twists and turns that slides effortlessly into following track "Witch Dive" a song that is an unashamed declaration of love/lust for a woman sporting "witch eyes" and "blond hair" played out to a backdrop of old school flavoured stoner/desert groove enhanced by some seriously impressive lead guitar. With not a second to catch our breaths we are then propelled into the albums second instrumental "Jupiter 362" a stunning blend of spaced out rock and lysergic laced experimentation that seems to be going a million places all at once yet somehow never losing its way. The groove that sees the previous track leave us is also the groove that introduces us to next song "Golgotha" the band ramping up the grooves intensity until it can go no further and instead erupts into a discordant heavy stoner groove over which Andresakis roars unintelligible vocals like he was having some sort of mental breakdown, which is exactly what this track feels like musically. "Dirty Lung" finds the band getting their doom groove on with Andresakis guitar and Avramidis' bass dialled to dank and Koutroumpis' drums set to thunder mode, the songs mix of gravelled and clean vocal tones adding an extra air of doomic gravitas to a song with an already considerable doomic impact. Penultimate track "Kerosene" is a song that sits halfway between an anguished lament and an impassioned rant with a soundtrack very much in keeping with those two emotions, raucous chord progressions vying for dominance with soaring emotionally charged vocals over a platform of tight solid drumming and thick growling bottom end. The excellent "One More Bite" rounds things off its crunchy dank riffs framing another anguished and angry vocal from Andresakis, the guitarist/vocalist perfectly summing up the songs thrumming heavy dynamic with the line "feral riffs, reverse your mind".
© 2023 Frazer Jones
Saturday, 18 March 2023
SANTO ROSTRO ~ DESPUÈS NO HABRÁ NADA .... review
Friday, 17 March 2023
WITCHROT ~ LIVE IN THE HAMMER ..... review
Monday, 13 March 2023
BASTARD SWORD ~ BASTARD SWORD I .... review
Sunday, 12 March 2023
DRYAD ~ Y .... review
In 2018 German trio Dryad, Michael Rudolf (bass | vocals), Alexander Atzinger (guitar | backing vocals), and Sebastian Spahn (drums | percussion), released "Rehearsal Tape" a five song collection of proto-metal flavoured heavy stoner grooves recorded live at one of the bands rehearsals (hence its name). "Rehearsal Tape" was a little raw and rough around the edges but it had something about it that caught The Psychlist's ear and prompted us to make a note of the bands name in the hope that they would soon release a follow up, little did we know that it would be another five years before that follow up materialised. "Y", the bands brand new full length debut has finally arrived, a little later than expected but patience pays its own rewards and the band has rewarded us well.
The thing that prompted Desert Psychlist to hit the buy button, on Dryad's Bandcamp page, for "Rehearsal Tape" was its drive, its vigour and its full on ferocity, thankfully five years has not seen any watering down in those departments. All five of the songs that appeared on "Rehearsal Tape" have found their way onto "Y" the songs all still retaining the raw edginess of the original recordings but enhanced by a better production and mix. Of the five songs "Y" shares with "Rehearsal Tape" it is probably "Overload" that benefits the most from its re-working, on "Rehearsal Tape" it felt almost like the band were trying to race to the finish whereas on "Y" it feels less rushed, its rhythms tighter and it solo's a touch less caustic. The newer songs are as good if not better than those reworked songs "Pulsar", begins tranquil and ambient then erupts into a chugging stoner riff fest decorated in a surprisingly mellow vocal, "Darvaza" toys with heavy psych textures and alt-rock quiet/loud/quiet dynamics, "The Devil's Breath" is off-kilter and punkish and "Of Knaves and Fools" is a delightfully ear catching blend of 70's heavy rock swagger and 90's desert rock fuzziness. The band even throw in some ambient weirdity with the extremely brief "Ludus Interruptus". The highlight of "Y" for us, at The Psychlist however is the same song that was our favourite from "Rehearsal Tape" and that is "Meghalaya", a song that is an absolute blistering force of nature, thick gravelled vocals roaring and barking over a backdrop of fierce percussion, bone rattling bass and crunching riffage that culminates in a thunderous finale, a real barnstormer in an album full of barnstormers.
© 2023 Frazer Jones
Friday, 10 March 2023
REZN ~ SOLACE ...... review
REZN have evolved massively since their coming together as a band in 2015, the bands first album "Let it Burn" was a little raw around the edges but it showcased a band who where attempting to break out of the usual riff/vocal/solo box and take their music to places a little more universal and cosmic. The bands next release "Calm Black Water" took the ideas explored on their debut a little further but also sanded off those rough edges to give their sound an element of polish. The band then released the keyboard heavy "Infected Ambient Works", in collaboration with Catechism, a massive collection of ambient, and quite beautiful, soundscapes released in order to raise awareness and funds for the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund. 2020 saw the band release "Chaotic Divine" a game changing album both for the band and psychedelic doom as sub-genre, everything about this album was on another level, its guitars crunched and rang, its keyboards swooped and soared, its rhythms ebbed and flowed and its vocal melodies swooned and swung. Many, Desert Psychlist included, wondered how REZN would ever be able to follow up an album of such majesty and magnitude, had the band pushed the bar too high? The answer to that question is a firm NO, the bands new album "Solace" has not just lifted the bar higher its thrown the damn thing out of the stadium.
"Allured By Feverish Visions" is a title that suggests psychedelic textures and lysergic liquidity and that is exactly what the first track from "Solace" delivers with its washes of droning guitars punctuated by snatches of ethereal flute and swirling synth, its steady drums only just anchoring down an instrumental that feels as if it could just waft away into the ether at any given moment. Beautiful is not a word banded about much when talking about underground rock music but this most certainly is. "Possession" follows its intense heavy psych textures enhanced by a vocal that is elegant and other-worldly, things do get a touch heavier as the song progresses but it is a structured heaviness that amplifies the songs stealth like intensity rather than detracts from it. Dank and doomic is the only way to describe the opening bars of next track "Reversal" a brief moment of raw brutality that shows that if you stripped away all the psychedelic colours and heady cosmic textures you would still find a pretty gnarly doom combo underneath. However it is only a brief moment and its not long before the songs set sail into more lysergic waters with a to die for vocal melody floating serenely over a backdrop of chiming guitar arpeggios, low liquid bass, tight percussion and tasteful keyboard flourishes. "Stasis" is the heaviest song on "Solace" and probably its most straightforward both in its vocals and its musical dynamic, well that is up until it reaches its last third when things start to get a little experimental and ambient while "Faded and Fleeting" finds the band adding hazy jazziness to the list of things they can turn their hand to, the addition of saxophone giving the song a feel not too dissimilar to that of 70's jazz/rock fusion pioneers Weather Report. Finally we arrive at "Webbed Roots" a stunning opus that has a constantly shifting dynamic that is languid and loose one minute, blustering and brash the next with surprises coming at you from all angles one of which is a spoken word passage narrated by guest contributor Marie Davidson.
Wednesday, 8 March 2023
EVILLEAF ~ SLOW BURN ..... review
Tuesday, 7 March 2023
WITCHTHROAT SERPENT ~ TROVE OF ODDITIES AT THE DEVIL'S DRIVEWAY ..... review
It was way back in 2014 when Witchthroat Serpent first came under Desert Psychlist's radar thanks to their Electric Wizard inspired self-titled debut "Witchthroat Serpent", the album had a raw slightly unrefined sound but promised much for the future. Two years later the band followed up with "Sang-Dragon" a slightly more polished affair but still retaining that raw edginess that was fast becoming the bands signature. This was followed by the two song EP "Striped Dragon" which was followed a year later by the bands third full length album "Swallow the Venom". By now people were starting to sit up and take notice and realise that these guys were more than just Electric Wizard clones, that they were a band with something a little extra in their armoury. One of those to sit up and take notice were Heavy Psych Sounds Records who invited the band to contribute to their "Doom Sessions" series of splits ("Vol.666" with Dead Witches) which in turn led to Heavy Psych Sounds picking up the option to release the bands new album "Trove of Oddities at the Devil's Driveway", their first as a quartet.
Up until this release Witchthroat Serpent had been a trio consisting of Fredrik (guitar/vox), Niko (drums) and Ügo (who replaced original bassist Lo Klav after the release of the bands third album). In 2020 Djé joined as second guitarist and the band almost immediately set about recording two brand new tracks for Heavy Psych Sounds Records "Doom Sessions Vol.666" with Dead Witches,. The two tracks Witchthroat Serpent premiered on that split saw Djé's inclusion bringing a denser thicker dynamic into play, a sound not too far removed from the bands original sound but a sound that felt a shade danker and a shade more slower and intense, it is this darker, denser sound that Witchthroat Serpent have chosen to explore further with new album "Trove of Oddities at the Devil's Driveway". If you needed further proof of the slightly darker sound the band bring to the table with their new line-up then you need look no further than first track "Multi-dimensional Marvellous Throne (M-DMT)" a song with a sedate and heavy stoner doom dynamic decorated in monotonic clean vocal tones underscored by low thrumming guitar tones, growling bass and pounding slow percussion. It is hard to believe that things could get more darker, denser and intense but Witchthroat Serpent manage to do just that with next song "Nosferatu's Mastery" and ode to the legendary vampire of legend and cinema, Fredrik asking, in crystal clear tones, "did you hear a voice behind you" over a backdrop of thundering sedately paced doom that in its final third boasts some very impressive off kilter and lysergic laced lead work. Mellotron is not an instrument you hear gracing many albums these days but the staple of so many 70's albums makes an appearance on next track "The Gorgon" a weird but compelling experimental piece with a horror movie soundtrack vibe, the humble electronic keyboard more than holding its own against the movie samples and droning guitar effects it is forced to share space with. "The House That Dripped Blood" is doom in its most pure and basic form, deliciously slow guitar riffs reverberating and thrumming with malignant menace over crypt level low bass and pummelling percussion. Vocals are delivered clean and powerful and tell us of a house filled with terrors, where evil dwells in every room and "vampires lay down in the wet cellar", the only relief from the doom and gloom being its searing guitar solos' which are scorching and heavily blues tinted. Penultimate track "Yellow Nacre" finds the band upping the pace to something a little closer to mid-tempo, the drums a touch more insistent, the bass a little more fluid and the vocals a tad brighter but with the guitars still very much remaining low, slow and thrumming. Witchthroat Serpent brings things to a close with "Mountain Temple in Bleakness" its bass heavy intro making way for a lysergic laced stoner doom groove that routinely swells and dissipates around a strikingly clean and clear vocal. In its initial stages the song follows much the same path as the majority of the albums preceding tracks, low slung guitar riffs, thundering slow pounding rhythms and morose, mournful vocals but then as the song reaches towards its finale things start to take on a more experimental air with screaming feedback and sinister droning guitar textures vying for space with a variety of movie sound bytes and samples.
Friday, 3 March 2023
TEMPTRESS ~ SEE ..... review
Floydian is how Desert Psychlist would describe opening song "Death Comes Around", its guitar textures and colours are Gilmour-esque in both flavour and execution, its drumming is straight out of the Nick Mason less is more handbook. and its low slung and liquid bass lines would even make that old curmudgeon Roger Waters smile. Vocals are delivered harmonious, hazy and melodic with Wright's deeper tones only just winning the battle for prominence over those of Cuba and Wilson. Coming in at just over ten and a half minutes there was always a danger of the band meandering off into a musical cul-de-sac but they avoid this by filling up every second of this stunning opus with subtle shifts and unexpected twists and turns that ensure interest from start to finish. Its all change for next track "Into My Soul" out go the Floydian textures and in come the crunching chord progressions and heavy hitting percussion, despite these heavier dynamics the vocals, sung in the main by Wilson, possess a melodic catchiness, especially in the chorus, that you might not expect given the ferocity of the music surrounding them, As the song progress so does its heaviness with Wilson's clean vocal taking a backseat to allow Wright to exorcise his demons with some throat ripping harsh and blackened roaring, the band finally taking things to a close on a doom tinted jam. "Waiting" follows and sees the band getting down and dirty on a dank plodding groove over which Wilson and Wright execute vocal trade offs while "Cry" is a soaring and atmospheric lament beautifully sung by Wilson, her serene emotional tones only just matched by her swirling guitar solos which are perfectly framed by Wright and Cuba's sympathetic bass and drum grooves. "Serpentine" marks a slight departure from the Floydian psych and the metallic heaviness that has been prevalent up to this point, here we find the band going fully cosmic with clipped vocal tones poetically intoned over a backdrop of wordless wailing and thick crunchy chords, the song still heavy but in a quirky, off-kilter way. "Hopeless" brings things to a close with a song that is an old school sword rattler and has a touch of Celtic folkiness running through its veins, listeners to Irish black metal/folk extremists Primordial might recognise some similarities in the way the riffs here are structured and also in the way Wright pitches his vocals, especially in the upper register.,