Saturday 5 August 2023


If you are disciple of fuzzed out guitar tones and you like those tones leaning towards the rawer end of the fuzz spectrum and you also like the vocals accompanying those tones to possess a mixture of power and melody then we at Desert Psychlist think we may have the perfect band to meet all your needs. Now the description we have outlined in the previous sentence could probably lead you to the conclusion that we are introducing you to another of those Italian acid doom bands we tend to harp on about on a regular basis on these pages, however you would be wrong. The band we are reviewing today hails from Pretoria, South Africa and go by the name of Acid Magus. Some of you maybe already familiar with the band via their debut release "Wyrd Syster", a kick ass collection of tunes boasting elements of hazy heavy psych, cosmic spaciousness and good old four to the floor stoner/hard rock, if that is the case then you will already know how good this band are. If, however, the bands new album, "Hope Is Heavy", is your very first taste of what Acid Magus bring to the table, well then buckle up and get ready for the ride of your life.

"Hope Is Heavy" opens with "Demon Behemoth", eight minutes nine seconds of fuzzed out riffage and thunderous percussion underscored with Hawkwind-esque swoops and swirls and decorated in hazy melodic vocals, you really could not ask for a better opening number or one that so perfectly captures what Acid Magus are all about. The band follow this up with "Progeneration" a song that in its initial stages follows a similar path to its predecessor but then routinely dials down the fuzz to allow the band to explore more lysergic waters, listen closely to the bass tones on this one, they are monstrous! "Caligulater" rears its head next, its punishing heavily percussive groove is enhanced by ear catching guitar motifs and a slightly more aggressive, but no less melodic vocal. Things take a turn for the cosmic with "A Planet, A Deathstar" with clean semi-acoustic guitar arpeggios flitting  majestically over militaristic drum patterns and spoken narrative, as the song progresses so does its intensity morphing into torch-like heavy psych on its journey, the spoken narrative replaced by a powerful and melodic vocal. Fellow South African Johni Holiday (Ruff Majik) pitches in with the vocals for "Dead Weight" his unmistakable tones adding an element of garage rock sneer to a song that is probably the closest  Acid Magus get to straight ahead stoner rock on the whole album, that is if you ignore its post-metal flavoured middle section. Final track "Trillion Tonne Sun" sees Acid Magus pitching heady psych against heavy sludge and come up winning on both levels, heaviness and haziness in perfect balance.

 Acid Magus' "Wytch Syster" was an amazingly good debut but the trouble with having an amazingly good debut is that you are expected to follow it up with something equally amazing. Many bands over the years have fallen at this hurdle but not Acid Magus, if anything "Hope Is Heavy" is even better than its predecessor, in fact its amazing! 
Check it out ...

© 2023 Frazer Jones

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