Thursday 11 May 2023


Many cite Birmingham, UK's Black Sabbath as the founding fathers of occult flavoured rock but there are also many who will argue that it was Chicago, USA outfit Coven who really brought a darker edge to the altar of  rock'n'roll,  Why are we mentioning this you may ask, well the reason is the release of "Arrival of the Church of Psychic Mass" an EP from Australian trio Psychic Mass that, intentionally or unintentionally, carries an essence of Coven's psychedelic occultism in its grooves. The Melbourne trio, consisting of Lizard (vocals); Lang (guitars & bass) and J.R.(drums), have together, with the help of their friend Daniel Tucceri (keys), created a sound that harks back to a time in rock's history when light shows at gigs were a provided by a light shone through a rotating disc of painted plastic and beads and headbands were  mandatory fashion accessories, in other words the 60's.

Most would describe what Psychic Mass do musically as retro or vintage and each of the four songs that appear on "Arrival of the Church of Psychic Mass" most certainly do fall into one or both of those categories but then there is such a high level of authenticity involved here that you could almost be fooled into thinking these were songs originally recorded by some obscure 60's band that had been given a present day studio make-over. Opening song "Tumbleweeds" is a prime example, its guitar tones possess a warm vintage jangly fuzziness, its rhythms have an old fashioned swing and its vocals, although more Grace Slick than Jinx Dawson, are the embodiment of a clipped style of delivery not uncommon with female vocalists back in those days of free love and LSD. Having bigged up the bands occult rock authenticity the band then throw a spanner in the works by going full on garage rock with "Godspeed" a gnarly assed rocker fronted this time by a throaty, slightly manic male vocal, it is a song still rooted in a late 60's sound but this time one that takes its lead from very early Alice Cooper, The Stooges and the MC5. Its back to the female fronted occult rock of the first track with "LSDemon", the band jamming a groove that is a mish mash of heady 60's psych and present day occult rock, it is however Tucceri's keyboards that are the real star of the show on this particular number, they majestically wash over and around the crunchy guitar tones and searing solos the band lay down and in doing so add extra texture and colour to what is already a quite colourful little ditty. Final song "Devil Master" finds the band jamming a groove that is a little more proto-metallic, a heady mix of  heavy psychedelic bluesiness and dark lyrical imagery that is similar in sound to the aforementioned Coven but also possess the early doom feel of bands like Black Widow, Bulbous Creation and the lesser known Astaroth and Earth & Fire.

Fans of bands like Jex Thoth, Blood Ceremony and The Devil's Blood will find much to admire on "Arrival of the Church of Psychic Mass" but so will those with an interest in the early days of occult themed heavy metal and garage rock. The EP title suggests that Psychic Mass may be on the cusp of starting their own religion. if that is so then this EP makes for one hell of a hymn sheet.
Check it out .....  
© 2023 Frazer Jones

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