Wednesday 20 December 2023



Well that came around pretty quick, it only seems like five minutes ago Desert Psychlist was compiling our list for 2022, oh well here we go. The concept is the same as it was for last year, 30 albums/EP's that rocked our collective world at Stonerking Towers and made a stressful year bearable, as like last year we have to stress that these are our picks and may differ greatly from your own but then that's how these things work, also we need to tell you that the text accompanying these choices are a mix of snippets of reviews posted on these pages and blurbs we posted on the various artists Bandcamp pages. That done let's get this thing rolling. 


Psych, stoner, sludge, prog this album has it all, its main attribute however is atmosphere, an element the band wield as if it was an instrument in it's own right. We called it "a powerful and uncompromising album that picks its targets and hits them with unerring accuracy" and we still stand behind that statement.


Excellent space themed doom with a touch of Hawkwind in its make-up, heavy ass-kicking riffs, powerful rhythms and vocals that range from mournful to soaring, we dubbed this one "crushing AND spacious"


Those who think that a saxophone should not be allowed within a hundred miles of a doom album might have to rethink their stance after hearing "Preta", the introduction of the instrument into the bands dark but not overly crushing grooves does not detract one iota from their take on doom, in fact it enhances it tenfold..


Highly impressive blend of alt-rock, doom and occult rock from these Californian groovsters, an amalgamation of crushing heaviness and ethereal elegance that is as times jagged and jarring and at others soothing and seductive.


Given Desert Psychlist's love of the Italian acid doom/scuzz scene it was only fitting that one album from that genre would make it on to this list, so why this one we hear you ask well the answer is because this is the nastiest of them all!


This is an audial experiences that both enriches and elevates, an album that takes you to places only really great music can and "Arrival of the Waves" is REALLY great music. 


A stunning opus from a country whose music scene is fast growing in international stature, it is not a particularly heavy album nor is it one you could describe as being ambient but it does posses elements of both those dynamics. Tusoc's sound is an embracing one, it is a musical hug that wraps around you and pulls you in, and we all need a hug sometimes.


One of the best albums of blackened heaviness released by a British outfit this year, an album that borders on the edges of  the extreme in places but cleverly never goes fully over that edge, the band retaining an element of groove in their music that will appeal to ALL metal fans rather than just a select few.


Absolutely stunning blend of 70's folk rock, rural tinted psych and pastoral occult rock, great music played with true heart and a real belief in what they do.


Dixie Goat could put out an album of nursery rhymes and Desert Psychlist would still buy it, these guys just don't have a bad album in them and this release is testimony to that fact.


Probably an album that won't be found on many end of year lists but in our opinion should be gracing them all, this albums tales of serial murderers, police investigations and sons of deities are truly the stuff nightmares are made of..


Shadow of Jupiter jam a stoner/doom/heavy psych dynamic, a dynamic built not just on riffs but also on atmosphere and texture, all of which are major components of this stunning debut.


Fire Down Below hail from Ghent, Belgium so probably the nearest these guys have ever got to an actual desert is a sandpit in their local children's playground but that has not stopped them capturing that authentic driving desert rock sound we all love and cherish


Great songs, strong musicianship and grooves you can really get your teeth into what more could you 
possibly want from an album. A truly stunning mix of psych, shoegaze, metal and prog.


The second instalment of Cavern Deep's Lovecraftian flavoured saga is a masterpiece of musicianship and imagination.


Howling Giant deservedly sit at the the top table with the likes of Elder, All Them Witches and King Buffalo, bands who consistently deliver the goods while still remaining innovative and exciting. This is their best album yet!


Another release that possibly may not feature on many of those best of lists for 2023 but we fell in love with these tunes from the very first listen and we are still in love with them now.


Looking to dip your toes into the South American underground scene for the very first time then we could not recommend a better starting point than Peregrino's full length debut, it's not just a great South American album, it's a great album FULL STOP!


Those out there with a penchant for the retro tinted witchy grooves of Parrish, Sleepwulf and Green Lung will throw their wicker cross effigies into the air with unbridled joy when they get a load of Spiral Shades "Revival", but so will those who came to this crossroads on a diet of Pentagram, Black Sabbath and Pagan Altar.


A jagged mix of funky prog, spiky stoner metal and schizophrenic hard rock that breaks more musical rules than it adheres to.


If anyone wants to argue that Dopelord are not one the heaviest, most musically tight and most vocally melodic bands currently ploughing a furrow through the stoner-doom scene then they might want to take it up with the man they wrote these tunes for.


This is not an album populated with songs about wizards, witches and things that go bump in the night 
it is instead an album packed with songs that tackle everyday situations and events, subject matter we can all relate to.


This album sees Witchthroat Serpent moving slightly away from the Electric Wizard influences that have informed much of their previous work and finding their own unique signature sound, still a sum of those influences but not shackled by them.


The musicianship throughout Acid King's comeback album "Beyond Vision" is off the scale as is its concept of allowing each song to bleed into the next to make it feel more like a complete journey. Acid King are back, may they never leave us again.


Hail the Void, Hail the Riff, Hail the Groove! This is psychedelic doom of truly high quality, an album of music so good, so vital and so powerful you will be coming back to listen to it not just once or twice but for the rest of your time on this earth.


This Paris based trio know their way around a good groove and this album is full of such grooves but what is really mind-blowing is their understanding of how to weave into those grooves elements of light and shade.


Riffs and melody combined with strong song writing and killer arrangements makes this a must have in anyone's book. This is the musical equivalent of South African gold!


Trimming down to a trio and pushing their bass player in front of a mic seems to have been the making of Hippie Death Cult, not only do this band sound tighter than they have done before they sound more vital, more forceful and a hell of a lot more exciting, long may that continue.


Everything this band have released to date has been a step up in strength and quality from its predecessor and that is again the case with new album "This Heathen Land". Many people think rock music can only be deemed "classic" if it has been around for certain period of time, Green Lung disprove that theory by making classic rock for the here and now and hopefully the coming future.


We imagine there will be a few surprised faces reading that Lord Mountain's "The Oath" has made our #1 spot but this album has become a dominant force here at Stonerking Towers with hardly a day going by without its dulcet doomic tones being blasted out from the Towers upper windows. "The Oath" is an album that recalls a simpler time, a time when "sludge" was just a descriptive term for industrial waste and "blackened" referred to a cooking process using spices, however these grooves should not be considered "retro" as they carry too much originality, "vintage" (something that represents the best of its kind) would be a far, far better description.

Well, that's it for 2023 folks, only thing left to do now is the shout outs. 
Michele for all her love, hard work and support, stoner princes and princesses Vikki, Billy, Sian, Ethan, Austin, Rowan and Amber for being simply awesome, Steve Howe (of Outlaws Of The Sun) and Reek of Stoom (of Howls From The Hollows podcast) for support and constantly pointing us in the direction of new grooves and for those late night chats about life, football and music , Joop Konraad (of Stoner Hive) for all his support and regular shout-outs, all the members at Retro Rockets (Facebook page) for riding the time machine, the wonderful Leanne Ridgeway (of Riff Relevant) for always finding ways to make us laugh even while having to fight her own battles, all the contributors at The Doom Charts who monthly go that extra mile, all the record labels and PR companies for the promos and updates, all the musicians and artists who constantly amaze us with their music, and of course you the readers because without you there would be no Desert Psychlist.


© 2023 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 19 December 2023


Italian three piece Warcoe make no bones about what has influenced their sound, even adding to their Bandcamp page the legend "recommended for fans of: Black Sabbath, Pagan Altar and Pentagram". The band, Carlo (bass); Francesco (drums) and Stefano Fiorelli (guitar/vocals), are not troubled by being dubbed as "sabbathian" or being called "sabbath worshipers" in fact they actually embrace those terms and when you listen to to how close they come on their latest album, "A Place For Demons" (Regain Records/ Morbid and Miserable Records), to capturing that iconic Sabbath sound while still managing to hold on to their own musical identity, who can blame them.

Things kick off with title track "A Place For Demons" a song that shows why this band succeed while so many Sabbath sounding bands fall by the wayside, the vocals most certainly possess an essence of Ozzy-like nasality but the grooves supporting that vocal are unlike anything Iommi, Butler and Ward would have put together, there is a metallic rawness at play here that is far more stoner metal than it is proto-doom. Next track "Pyramid of Despair" is much closer to the tried and tested proto-doom attack of some of early dooms big hitters and its vocal melody is pure Sabbath "Vol.4" in flavour but again there are those subtle shades gleaned from present day metal that give the song it s own signature edge. Just like Sabbath did on many of their albums Warcoe throw in a curveball acoustic piece, this one is  called "Rune Dweller" and Desert Psychlist has to admit to enjoying it much more than we did some of Sabbath's more off-piste excursions. "Leaves" is up next and finds the band jamming a groove that leans more towards Pentagram than Sabbath and boasts a vocal with an un Ozzy-like gothic tone. There is a The Sword like feel to following track "Ishkur" albeit with an element of Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats in its vocal melodies while "Boys Become Kings" boasts a melodies and a riffs that'll be going around in your head for days. Penultimate track "Wounds Too Deep To Heal" is a mid-tempo doomic barnburner that carries an essence of that other Sabbath worshipping unit Orchid in its sonic attack and leads us nicely on to the albums final number "Buio" a nine minute plus instrumental riff fest that constantly alternates between a slow chug and a crawl, hardly ever deviating from these two dynamics but still able to retain the listeners attention from its start to its finish

Fans of Black Sabbath, Pentagram and Pagan Altar WILL no doubt enjoy Warcoes's "A Place For Demons" but so will fans of The Sword, Sheavy, Orchid, Uncle Acid and anyone who still holds a torch for riff heavy rock grooves that come replete with a good melody. 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Monday 18 December 2023


It is fairly well known knowledge that Indonesia has a thriving heavy/extreme metal scene but apart from the odd album or EP popping up here and there we in the rest of the world don't really have much clue about what else is going on down there. Those odd albums, from bands like Shankar and The Ring, do however point to there be a pretty healthy stoner/heavy psych scene happening in Indonesia and the sudden arrival of The Broken Heroes excellent debut "Whoreshiper" would seem to confirm that.

"Whoreshiper" opens with the instrumental "Exordium" a nicely crafted blend of driving stoner rock riffs and rhythms and off kilter excursions into psychedelic haziness offset with searing guitar pyrotechnics. Vocals enter the fray for next song "Hidden Lies", melodic, clean, heavily filtered and possessing hardly a hint of an accent they sit nicely against the crunching doom tinted heavy rock that serves as their backdrop. "Live In Tomorrow" follows a thrumming proto doom/heavy psych opus with a green message, lyrics like "every step forward we take bring us nowhere but closer to death. is this the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end" may seem slightly cliched but they still manage to hammer home their point. A gnarly bass motif introduces following track "Burn In Hell" then the rest of the band join in on a hazy psychedelic groove that despite its also slightly doomic dynamic boasts a surprisingly gentle and lilting vocal melody. Up next is "Paradise Worshiper" a proto-doomic barnstormer enhanced by some nice shifts in tempo and a brief but effective vocal. "Why" follows and finds The Broken Heroes vocalist reverting to his own native tongue over a backdrop that mixes strident stoner metal with bluesy heavy rock and leads us to final number "Son of Universe" a stunning amalgamation of gentle acoustic and subtle electric guitar noodling taken to another level by a beautifully delivered lilting vocal, it may not be the closing number you were expecting but its a good one nonetheless.

If you are coming to this review having never dipped your toes into the Indonesian underground rock scene then The Broken Heroes excellent debut "Whoreshiper" would be a great place to start your journey from, its muscular riffs, punchy rhythms and lilting clean vocals combine to create a wonderful amalgamation of crunch and haziness that is as good as anything of a similar nature coming out of North America or Europe.
Check it out ....  

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Thursday 14 December 2023



Put those pets in another room, remove any expensive nick-nacks you might have scattered around your place of listening and make yourself ready for a full on assault on your senses because Italy's Witchsnake are back with another album, this one even more gnarlier and uncompromising than their filth laden self-titled debut. Those thinking how could that be possible and pointing out that we called "Witchsnake" "a soundtrack for depravity and perversity that sounds like it could have been recorded in the fiery bowels of Hell with the Devil himself sitting at the mixing desk.” are in for a shock when "Deathcult of the Snake" (Regain Records) hits their ear canals as this one makes the bands debut sound like a collection of children's nursery rhymes in comparison.

 You will notice a couple of none too subtle changes when listening to "Deathcult of the Snake", the first is in its vocals, those deeply buried, heavily filtered vocals that graced the bands debut are gone and have this time around been replaced by gruffer growlier tones that posses a wrecked by cigarettes and whiskey dynamic not too dissimilar in delivery to those of Motorhead's late speed king Lemmy Kilmister. The second change is related to the first in that whereas the bands debut took much of its influences from Electric Wizard and similar bands this one has its roots so far implanted in Motorhead territory you almost expect a cry of "we are Witchsnake and we play rock'n'roll" to come hurtling out of the speakers. Have no fear though, Witchsnake are not trying to do some sort of copy and paste job or trying to fill that vast hole Motorhead left behind them as this duo plaster their own unique personalities all over the seven songs contained on "Deathcult of the Snake" with tunes like "Outlaw", "Inject The Venom", "Black Star" and "Laughing Among The Ruins" all possessing Witchsnake's trademark scuzzy riffs, Hendrixian solos and thunderous percussion, its not a pretty sound by any means but boy is it a great one!

"Deathcult of the Snake" does not mark a radical shift in direction from Witchsnake but it does mark a shift nonetheless, the change in vocal delivery and the leaning towards a more heavy metallic sound not only suits them it also gives them their own identity and sets them apart from all those other Italian acid-doom bands currently ploughing a furrow through the swampy fields of the underground's rock and metal scene. File this under G for gnarly as fuck!
Check 'em out .... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 12 December 2023


If you like your grooves to have one foot in the 70's and one foot in the present day then you cannot fail to be impressed by New Zealand's The Death Spell, The Auckland trio of Ozan Turan (vocals/guitar); Alessandro Iraci (bass) and Owen Drew (drums) have just released their self-titled debut "The Death Spell" an intriguing blend of heavy rock, metal, stoner rock and heavy psych surprisingly bereft of many of the usual Sabbathian cliches that permeate much of what is released these days.

The Death Spell may not jam a groove as dark and dank as say Sabbath or Pentagram but their lyrics are pretty damn bleak and in places quite disturbingly clever. Take opening track "Nail You Higher Than Before" for instance, the song boasts a fairly strident crunching stoner/heavy rock groove but its lyrics, sung in gritty slightly sneery tones, leave you wondering if you are listening to the threats of a would be killer or a cryptic rant against religion with lines like "clowns of your father, his majesty’s, they’ll savour your last breath in revelry" adding to the confusion. "Leave You Lying On The Ground" finds Turan inviting someone to take a walk with him, promising them to "save your sinking heart" and "free your captive mind" against a backdrop of chugging riffage and busy tight percussion, the lyrics shifting from sweet promises to vitriol and threats in the songs final quarter, scary stuff! Next song "Funeral Pyre" tells a tale of the assassination of what we can only guess is a witch, the groove here s is a touch darker than on the albums previous songs but the dynamic leans more towards doom-ish than doom-ic. "Die Alone" follows, its depressing lyrics promising a lonely death are delivered over a surprisingly upbeat and punkish backbeat a feel that also spills over into next track "Witches Coven". Proto-doom/metal is the best way to describe the dynamic of next track "Potter's Fields Forever", this is probably the only song on the album where the band do get close to a Sabbathian sound, albeit with a little heavy psych thrown in for good measure. "I Am The Shadow" finds The Death Spell toying with prog-ish textures and elements of a blues-ish hue and boasts probably the albums most melodic vocal while final number "Kill In The Darkness" takes those bluesy hues and twins them with heavy rock rhythms and soaring guitar solos to close the album on a massive high and ensures interest in any recordings this ass-kicking band may make in the future.

The mention of the 70's in this review will immediately lead readers to assume we are talking about big hitters like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and other giants of rock's golden age, and to some extent we are, but people forget that there were also a raft of what were called second division bands around at that time, bands like Stray, May Blitz and Buffalo, and there are elements of those bands also to be found in The Death Spell's sonic attack along with essences of many of today's movers and shakers. The Death Spell's highly impressive debut is not quite album of the year stuff but it shows the potential these guys have to maybe one day make an album that is.
Check it out ...

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Sunday 10 December 2023

MONTE PALOMAR ~ NADIR ..... review

Today Desert Psychlist find ourselves once again waxing lyrical on the charms of a South American outfit, this one hailing from Rosario, Argentina and sporting the name Monte Palomar. Desert Psychlist has to admit that the band, Sasa Fontana (vocals); Eric Flägel (drums/percussion); Leonardo Salani (bass); Alejandro González (guitars) and Pablo González (guitars), are completely new to us and up until pushing play on their new album "Nadir" had no idea they actually existed, we do now though.

Title track "Nadir" is first out of the box, a scintillating and engaging tome rooted in doom and heavy psych but boasting Middle Eastern/Moorish overtones, those overtones becoming even more pronounced in the songs middle section courtesy of singer Fontana's wordless wails and drummer Flagel's eastern flavoured percussion. "Tundra" follows its mid-tempo heavy psych/stoner groove moody and atmospheric, Fontana's vocals alternate here between a low-key croon and a soaring bluesy holler and are enhanced by the combined droning textures of Alejandro and Pablo González's guitar tones which in turn are anchored to earth by Salani's low booming bass and Flagel's tight busy drumming. "Las Formas del Aire" sees Monte Palomar easing back on the gas and jamming a slightly more lysergic groove around an easy on the ear lilting vocal and is followed by "El Mar" a song that follows a similar blueprint to its predecessor but adds into the mix a little gnarly spiciness. Things get bluesy on next track "En Llamas" a slow building opus featuring some scorching guitar work and an exceptional vocal from Fontana. We remain in blues territory for the wonderful "Penumbra" only this time we are treated to blues tinted with shades of old school doom that, apart from a galloping middle section, boasts an achingly emotive dynamic. The band close things out with "Caudal" an undulating slice of psychedelic doom as good as anything being put out by their Northern Hemisphere contemporaries, thick reverberating guitar tones and thunderous rhythms supporting a voice that could sing the phone book and still sound seductive.

Frustratingly Monte Palomar's "Nadir" will probably not get the international plaudits its stunning blend of doom and heavy psych deserves simply because its Spanish vocals are likely limit its appeal to those who speak the language and those non-Spanish speakers who can enjoy a vocal for its feel and not necessarily its content, which is a shame because this album rocks BIG TIME!

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Saturday 9 December 2023


Italian trio Holy Giant describe themselves as  "fuzz worshippers" and "earthquake makers" and its a description you won't find Desert Psychlist arguing with anytime soon. Holy GiantMarco di Pietro (bass, vocals); Massimiliano Rubini (drums)  and Francesco Sorana (guitars), make the sort of music the humble fuzz pedal was made to decorate, a mixture of hard driven riff heavy stoner doom and off centred heavy psych that is constantly switching back and forth between heavy and heady and boasts strong gritty vocals that occasionally feature elements of East Asian throat singing. The Bologna based trio have just released their first full length album "Diviners & Dividers", seven songs that fizz with fuzz and are seismic in impact.

First track "Cosmic Pilgrim" introduces itself with palm muted guitar and subtle drumming accompanied by low guttural throat singing, after a brief explosion of heaviness the vocals shift to clean and gritty and tell, with the help of a well chosen snippet of sampled narrative, of a cosmic being adrift in Jupiter's infamous Great Red Spot. The songs groove is mostly proto-doomic in flavour but does regularly dip its toes into more lysergic waters and in doing so gives the song an edginess it might have lacked if it had been a straight down the line doomic rocker. Next up is "Green Foo", more straightforward and rockier than its predecessor it nonetheless boasts some unexpected twist and turns along the way.  If the stop start dynamics, swirling guitar motifs and thundering rhythms that inhabit the first section of  next song "Asteroid Blues" are not enough to have you drooling then its heavily trippy final section most definitely will, this is a song that even carries its own review in its lyrics "guitar riffs are sick, huge wall of sound, bass lines are so thick they are shaking the ground, green goddess of smoke is our muse, you’ll be blown away by this Asteroid Blues", nuff said! The following "Three Witches" is a doomic delight with a low slow and heavy dynamic that also sees the band throwing a few folkish textures into the mix, especially in the tone and meter of some of its vocals. Title track "Diviners & Dividers" finds Holy Giant flying their psychedelic doom flag high for all to see while imparting to us a tale of conflict between men and gods, a seriously good song! Liquid bass lines and shimmering percussion announce the arrival of "Reincarnation of a Fallen Titan" and then crunchy guitar joins the fray and its upward and onward from there on in, bass riffs and searing guitar solos vying for attention with a grizzled vocal informing us of a journey across a distant land, a doomic travelogue so good you'll be scouring the web to book a ticket. If you are still wondering whether to throw some coins  at Holy Giant's debut then final track "Liberation" is the song that should convince you to invest, a huge sprawling tome that alternates between moments of serene psychedelic beauty and moments of crunching dank doominess, a song that lifts you to the heavens one minute only to slam you down to the pits of hell the next, the perfect end to what is a near perfect album.

Holy Giant's "Diviners & Dividers" is a totally different sounding album from many of those currently coming out of Italy, courtesy of acid doomers like Witchsnake and Demonio, despite the fact the album shares many of those same elements, The reason for this is in its dynamics, the songs populating "Diviners & Dividers" have an upward and downward trajectory, an ebb and flow that takes them from being just a fuzz drenched assault on the senses to being something just as speaker blowing but delivered with a touch more subtlety and delicacy. 
Check it out ...

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Thursday 7 December 2023


No one sounds quite like Mars Red Sky, the French trio's unique blend of sci-fi influenced heavy psych, stoner rock and post metal comes sprinkled with a magical element that is hard to describe but is nonetheless still there. The band, Julien Pras (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Kinast (bass, vocals), and Mathieu Gazeau (drums) were formed in Bordeaux in 2007 and first came to Desert Psychlist's attention via their self-titled debut "Mars Red Sky" and have since retained our interest via a series of one off tracks, splits, EP's and collaborations. What we really wanted however was another full release from these guys and what we wanted they have delivered with "Dawn of the Dusk" (Vicious Circle Records/Mrs Red Sound)

In the blurb accompanying "Dawn of the Dusk" on their Bandcamp page Mars Red Sky refer to their music as having a "unique and peculiar flavour" its a sentence that sums up their sound perfectly. Mars Red Sky's peculiarity and uniqueness comes from them being a band who though existing in a scene known for its blustering heaviness play music that is not actually that blustering or overly heavy yet still manages to draws praise from those for whom those dynamics are the golden ticket. There is a feyness and ethereality to the songs Mars Red Sky deliver on "Dawn of the Dusk" that, when set against those moments where the band DO get a little aggressive and gnarly, just seems so right. This especially true of the songs like "Break Even" "Maps of Inferno" (featuring Queen of the Meadow aka Helen Ferguson), "Choir of Ghosts" and "Slow Attack", songs that utilize heaviness and mellowness in a sort of symbiotic way, one element not being able to exist without the other, This symbiosis gives Mars Red Sky's new album an ascending/descending dynamic that evokes a feeling of constant motion throughout, it's breath-taking stuff! 

With "Dawn of the Dusk" Mars Red Sky have delivered their best release to date, a stunning blend of lilting ethereality and psychedelic tinted heaviness guaranteed to chill and thrill in equal measure. 
Check it out ...

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 6 December 2023



There was a part of Desert Psychlist that was worried, when Chile's Dixie Goat released their live retrospective "A Decade Of The Goat" last year (2022), that this was the  first signs of the band wrapping things up and riding into the sunset. Thankfully with the release of their new album "Order, Chaos, Life and Death" those fears have been allayed and we can rest easy that the band, Nikk (vocals/guitars); KF (bass) and Pipe (drums), are going to be about for a few years more. The new album is as strong. if not stronger, as anything they have released to date so far, which is another bonus.

Wind effects and a tolling bell introduce opening track "Se7en" followed by a low slow and heavy guitar and bass refrain driven by pounding percussion, it's all very Sabbathian up to this point but then in come Nikk's gritty vocal and suddenly the song takes on a whole different hue, still dank and dark but a touch more blues orientated. The Sabbathian elements of the opening track are partially discarded for next track "Lucky Break" and see the band jamming an upbeat heavy rock groove that boasts an easy to sing along to vocal melody, the band only returning to the proto-doom arena in the songs last quarter when Pipe and KF lock in on a thundering slow and heavy rhythmic groove which Nikk furnishes with some tasty dank and bluesy lead work. "Born To Be Dead" finds Dixie Goat going down a more traditional doomic path, a moody and atmospheric tome sporting appropriately downbeat and melancholic lyrical content delivered in measured and mournful tones. If we have one complaint regarding this album it would be that next track "Woman In Black" would of been better served appearing a little lower in the track listing, it is a great song but its vocal meter is so similar in places to it s predecessor that it sometimes feels as though you are listening to the same song. Up next is "He Waits For No One" and this song sees Nikk adding a little distorted gnarliness to his vocal attack, nothing harsh just a touch grittier and growly, the groove surrounding those vocals also boasting a grittier, growlier dynamic as well as some nicely off-kilter dissonance. There is an element of grunginess to next song "The Girl, The Rope And The Serpent" that Desert Psychlist is not sure we have heard Dixie Goat explore before, a slurred element to the guitar tones that had us recalling Alice In Chains, it is an element we really hope they explore further on subsequent releases. Second to last number "Dee Dee" is out and out rocker played hard fast and loud, a properly enjoyable foot to the floor stomper. Final number "Don't Say It's Name" is a chugging loud/quiet/loud opus packed to the gills with all the tropes and cliches we love and cherish in music of this nature, slow reverberating chord patterns, low growling bass lines and deliberately pounding percussion can all be found here along with a vocal that is suitably grave and solemn, its doomic perfection.

Dixie Giant have become somewhat the poster boys of the Chilean underground scene and rightly so, they are a band whose music is of a quality equal to that of any of their Northern Hemisphere counterparts. "Order, Chaos, Life and Death" is testament to why that is so, it is an amalgamation of hard rock, metal and doom that may have its origins in South America but is global in its appeal. 
Check it out ... 

© 2023 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 5 December 2023

SATURNA ~ THE RESET .... review


Many argue that "classic rock" has to come from a certain era of time or how can it be described as being "classic", others argue that "classic rock" has become a genre in its own right defined by possessing a certain dynamic and sound. Desert Psychlist has to admit to sitting somewhat on the fence in these discussions since we can see valid points to both arguments. however we do understand why these arguments rage on especially when there are bands like Spain's Saturna in existence. Saturna Rod Tirado (bass); James Vieco (vocals, guitars); Alexandre Sánchez (guitars, backing vocals) and Enric Verdaguer (drums), would most certainly have fallen into the category of "classic rock" had they been survivors from the late 70's or early 80's, the fact that they are not survivors from those periods but could easily be mistaken as such is because whereas a lot of the present day underground orientated bands live and die on the strength of their riffs Saturna are all about the strength of their songs and the bands latest release "The Reset" (Spinda Records/ Discos Macarras) is chock-a block full of  'em.

Opening track "Your Whimsical Selfishness" comes straight out of the traps melodic and classy sounding like something plucked from an unreleased album by Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow or Uriah Heep, crunching guitar work over a driving rhythmic groove and boasting a vocal melody perfect for those who remember when harsh was a not a description for a vocal style, the song unexpectedly signing off with a gently picked acoustic guitar section. Next we get "The Never Ending Star" a song that mixes prog-like textures with vocal melodies reminiscent of those employed by  80's American rockers Ashbury on their cult album "Endless Skies" and is followed by "Smile" a song that finds Saturna baring their teeth and getting gnarly. "December's Dust" follows and twins acoustic guitars with sweet vocal harmonies to create a sound not too dissimilar to that which was coming out of California in the early to mid 70's while "Into The Sun" finds the band blending 70;s hard rock with elements of 80's melodic rock and jamming on a groove that is an an amalgamation of the two. "A Few Words To Say" is up next and is a strident rocker that has somewhat of a Deep Purple Mk III vibe going on especially in its vocal attack which sits somewhere between Glenn Hughes' soulful wail and David Coverdale's rock god howl. No classic/hard rock album would feel complete without the addition of a heavy torch song or a bluesy ballad and and Saturna deliver both with "The Sign", and "Made of Stone" the former edgy and intense, the latter gentle and flowing. Penultimate number "On Fire" would have, in another age, been a shoe-in for repeated plays on British or American rock radio while final song "A Way To Reset" is a nicely balanced mix of bluesy gentleness and hard rock crunchiness that is just sublime in every department. Those opting to for the digital version of this album get treated with four cover songs, we won't spoil the surprise by revealing what they are here but each are well executed and highly enjoyable versions of "classic" songs.

If it were not for its modern production values it would be easy to believe that Saturna's "The Reset" was collection of tunes recorded by some 70's hard/classic rock band that had only recently been discovered buried away on a dusty shelf in the basement of an old recording studio, and that is because "The Reset" is an album drenched in authenticity, its songs boast old school values of melody, swing and structure and have grooves that takes you back to a time when "classic rock" was known as just "rock". 
Check it out ....

© 2023 Frazer Jones