Wednesday 28 February 2024


 A Viennese Whirl is a creamy light biscuit much loved by the British but we are not here to talk about cakes or biscuits we are here to review "The Subtle & The Dense" (Tonzonen Records) the new album from Austria's Samsara JoyrideFlorian Miele  (vocals/guitar); Daniel Batliner (bass); Andi Mittermühler (drums) and Michael Haumner (guitar), which we think is more of a Viennese Whirlwind

Samsara Joyride's jam is blues rock but blues rock laced with a little lysergic languidity and desert rock dustiness, a combination which you get straight out of the bag with opening track "I Wont Sign Pt.1" a mid tempo rocker interspersed with moments that veer into Americana thanks in part to Miehe's vocals which possess a warm lived in quality, a quality that is especially effective when delivering lines like "we dye the night in neon light and still walk blindly through the dark". Next up is "I Wont Sign Pt.2" the instrumental sister piece to the opening track, hazy and heavy in equal measure it shows that these guys are as delightfully dynamic without vocals as they are with them. We get "Too Many Preacher's" next, its groove, a mix of Sabbathian proto-doom and heavy blues, is delivered just a notch or two above sedate which adds extra depth to its overall impact and creates the perfect platform for the Nick Cave meets Mark Lanegan style vocals that are its decoration.. The Americana of the opening track is rekindled for "Silver" twinned with semi-spoken/semi sang sermonised vocals, the song boasts a dank smouldering groove for most of its duration but then sparks into life in its last quarter bowing out in a blaze of heavy blues glory. The smouldering qualities of the previous track are replicated on "Who Tells The Story" a song that sits somewhere between a torch song and bluesy lament, the guitar work on this song is outstanding, Haumner's lead work combining with Miehe's riffs and fills to really take things to a whole other level while Batliner and Mittermühler do an exemplary job of keeping things anchored down to earth with delicious low liquid bass lines and solid tight drumming. Things get a little more traditionally bluesy for the superb "No One Is Free" while final song "Safe and Sound" sees Samsara Joyride getting laid back and jazz-like, Miele sharing vocal duties with backing singer Laura Fichtenkamm over a backdrop of undulating rhythms enhanced by swirling guitar and soulful saxophone.

To call what Samsara Joyride do just simply blues rock is an injustice, yes the music they make has its roots in the blues but there is so much more going on here. There are colours and textures to be found in the grooves that inhabit "The Subtle & The Dense" that when combined with the albums  rich vocal tones and its intelligent lyrical content takes the bands music out of the realms of the ordinary and into the realms of the otherworldly. 
Check it out ....

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 27 February 2024


If there is one thing we at Desert Psychlist like above all else it is bands who dare to be different but don't overplay their hand by trying to be so different that they become unlistenable. Athens, Greece outfit HariessaTheodoros Kaparelos (guitar/vocals); Panagiotis Syrios (bass/vocals) and Panagiotis Markopoulos (drums), are one such band, there are no straight lines to Hariessa's grooves, the music this band make together may have its roots in heaviness but it is a jagged and unpredictable heaviness interspersed with glorious "what the fuck" moments, the only rules this band adhere to are those they make up themselves, as you will discover for yourselves when checking out their debut "The World Undying".

 The weirdness that Hariessa brings to the table is no more evident than on opening track "They Didn't Git Him Pt.1", a maelstrom of whirling noises, electronic buzzes and bleeps surround a parping, honking saxophone before things return to some semblance of normality with a simple drum and bass pattern, but even this is surrounded by high droning post-rock guitar textures. Next out of the bag is "Lakes of Molten Glass" and here we find the band grooving on a delicious heavy proto-doom/stoner metal groove over which powerful clean vocals wail their message, nothing however is straightforward in Hariessa's world and its not long before we find ourselves entrenched in prog/psych territory with wailing blues tinted guitar leading us to a space rock like fade out. Things get a little blackened for next track "A Rightful Death" with harsh guttural vocal tones growled over a chugging Sabbathian flavoured groove tinted with prog-metal complexity, most bands would have been content to end a song like this in much the same fashion that they started it but Hariessa are not like most bands and so instead of a crunching gnarly finale we get spaced out heady ambience, an ambience that also serves as the introduction to title track "The World Undying" a stunning Floydian flavoured opus that utilizes a mix of harsh and clean vocals to decorate its spacious grooves. "Duh Fuh" follows and finds Hariessa blending the Floydian textures of the previous track with elements of heavy sludge and blackened doom, the songs vocals once again a mix of clean melodies and guttural roars. If you were expecting something epic to close out this mind-blowingly diverse album then you might be disappointed to find that "They Didn't Git Him Pt.2" is not quite that, if however you get off on weird mixes of traditional music and spaghetti western soundtracks then this song will be right up your alley.

Hariessa describe themselves as a stoner doom/heavy psych outfit but one listen to "The World Undying" will tell you they are so much more than just that, Hariessa's sound is not just low slung riffage tinted with lysergic colouration it is a sound that also employs elements of the avant-garde, space and post-rock, an unorthodox sometimes challenging sound that at first will confuse you but will with time eventually seduce you.
Check it out ... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Monday 26 February 2024



Shroom Eater describe their new album "God of the Gaps" as chronicling "humanity's odyssey in quest of the divine and their idols, born from myriad events and circumstances" and  "a time when the mysteries of phenomena eluded our scientific grasp". Heavy stuff we think you will agree but we are not here to deep dive into themes and theories we are just concerned with the music and on that score the Indonesian outfit more than deliver.

Things start off quite symphonic and operatic with the brief but very interesting "Insrotroom" but then get down and dirty with its follow up "Bending the Lights", gnarly guitar tones to the fore over a deeply distorted and dank backdrop of low bass and loose/tight drumming, the songs vocals, clean strong and melodic, telling of  thunder gods and "oceans of perception". Wind chimes introduce the appropriately titled "Wind Control", the songs groove, a grainy mix of stoner rock fuzziness and garage rock attitude, is enhanced by some nice lead/backing vocal trade offs and searing lead guitar work as well as some unexpected but hugely enjoyable flute work. For their next track, "Deathly Ashes" Shroom Eater go proto-doom, but an off-centred proto-doom that has one foot placed firmly in the pool of heavy psych. There is an enjoyable jerkiness to next track "Illumination Divers" both in its vocals and its music while "Mother Earth" finds the band toying with aspects of the blues. Its back to the proto-doom for "Big Step" and its follow up "Hanging Garden in the Desert" the former blended with a little stoner grittiness and the latter touched with elements of theatrical vocal playfulness. Things get a little political on next song "Holy Killers" a barely concealed rant at the powers that be delivered over a backdrop of chainsaw riffage and thrumming hard driven rhythms. Things are brought to a close with the eerie "For the Praiseworthy", with remote and distant voices singing in unison beneath swirling wind effects, the results of which create in the minds eye a dystopian vision of a choir singing praises to a god who has clearly stopped listening, a haunting yet quite captivating curtain call on a really good album.

Shroom Eater have gone above and beyond with "God of the Gaps" and whether you buy into the albums concept or not doesn't really doesn't matter, these tunes rock both as part of a whole and as individual songs.
Check 'em out..... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 23 February 2024


Its been six years since Boston's Sundrifter, Craig Peura (vocals/guitar); Paul Gaughran (bass) and Patrick Queenan (drums), released their excellent second full length album, "Visitations", a stunning opus that secured a very respectable #17 in Desert Psychlist's "Best of 2018" end of year list. What the band have been up to in those six years is a question best asked of the band themselves we are just glad that they have returned and that they have marked that return with "An Earlier Time" (Small Stone Records) an album that in our humble opinion is a game changer.

The track "Limitless" kicks things off and straight away it feels like these guys have never been away those clean clear powerful vocals are still in place as are those spacious feeling desert rock grooves that made their previous album such joy to listen to, but Sundrifter have not returned to the studio just make a carbon copy of "Visitations" as next track "Space Exploration" goes to prove. "Space Exploration" is a song built around an off-centred and pulsing circular refrain, the songs overall vibe is totally different from its predecessor in that it as a spaced out quality that is part Hawkwind(ish) and part Elder(ish) but graced with far better vocals. There is an eastern tint to next song "Nuclear Sacrifice" both in its guitar work and its vocal which sees Peura, when not delivering a deep plea for the powers that be to push the button, warbling in wordless Arabesque flavoured tones. "Prehistoric Liftoff" finds Sundrifter jamming a chugging, almost proto-doomic, groove interspersed with proggish textures and boasts a sublime vocal melody while following song "Begin Again" sees the band once again dipping their toes into exotic waters but this time more akin to the dancing music of Turkey's Whrling Dervishes. Fans of UK bands Muse and Radiohead will find much to enjoy about following tracks "Want You Home" and "Final Chance" with the former having that same mix of indie rock and prog-like majesty that Muse made their calling card and the latter boasting Thom York like vocal melodies and those slightly off- kilter alt-metal refrains and rhythms that set Radiohead so far ahead of the chasing pack. Sundrifter sign off their new album with "Last Transmission" a moody and quite beautiful piece delivered in a minimalistic style with sparse guitar textures and droning effects framing a simple but highly effective vocal, the song a lyrical wave goodbye with the promise of an eventual return, something we will all be looking forward to after listening to this wonderfully diverse and essential album.

Sundrifter's "An Earlier Time", is one of those albums with the potential to live on much longer than the band that made it actually exists, a game changing album much like Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" was back in its day, Radiohead's "OK Computer" is today and how Elder's "Lore" will no doubt be perceived in the future, a bold statement you might say but this album really is that GOOD!
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Sunday 18 February 2024

BIRDS OF VALE ~ LIMBO ... review

Birds of Vale, Nikos Liakos (vocals); Lazaros Kangelidis (guitars); Kostis Papagiannopoulos (bass) and Nikos Manatos (drums/percussion), describe themselves as simply a "rock n' roll band from Athens, Greece" and that is all well and good but we at Desert Psychlist believe there is much more to this band than just basic rock'n'roll, something you may discover for yourselves when giving the bands debut album "Limbo" (Bitter Tea Records) a spin.

Opening track "Chora" tells you everything you need to know about what Birds of Vale bring to the table with their music as well as serving as the perfect indicator of what to expect from the rest of the album. The songs heavy blues groove, enhanced by exquisite sliding guitar and grainy emotive vocal tones is the stuff those of us of more advanced years grew up listening to and those of more tender years may of have heard blasting out of their parents sound systems, in other words classy melodic blues tinted hard rock of the type bands like Bad Company, Cry of Love and Free once called their own. Following song "Indian River" sees Birds of Vale showing us that along with classic rock bluesiness and southern swagger they also have some alt-metal grunginess in their locker, Kangelidis laying down a mixture of slurred refrains and searing solos ably supported by Papagiannopoulos' grizzled bass lines and Manatos' blend of tight and loose drum patterns, Liakos applying the cherry to the top of the cake with a powerful vocal that channels touches of the late Chris Cornell (Soundgarden/Audioslave) in its delivery. Its back to the heavy blues for "Howler" an atmospheric torch-song boasting a full on and feel drenched vocal sang mostly at the higher end of Liakos' range, a stunning opus that is then followed by title track "Limbo" a more traditional country blues song that sees the band getting low down and suitably swampy. Fans of early Led Zeppelin will be left with gaping jaws while listening to next track "Caviar" the song giving the chance for Kangelidis to play Page to Liakos' Plant while Papagiannopoulos and Manatos lay down a groove Bonham and JP Jones would have been proud to call their own. A deliciously dank Papagiannopoulos bass motif kicks off next track "Dream" a mid tempo rocker that melds aspects of grunge/alt-metal with the blues that then leads us into "Raff" a song boasting much the same dynamic as its predecessor only this time with a little more sting in its tail. Finally we arrive at "Sungun", here we find Birds of Vale  closing out, what has been an utterly engrossing and highly enjoyable album, with a soaring blues heavy opus that routinely switches between smouldering smokiness and white hot heaviness, incendiary stuff!

Many bands have attempted to meld grunge/alt-metal with doom and stoner rock, and done so quite successfully, but not too many have attempted to merge grunge/alt-metal with heavy blues, Birds of Vale have, with "Limbo", done just that and in doing so may well have made one of the best heavy blues based albums released this year!

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Thursday 15 February 2024


Paris, France is renowned for being the city of romance but the city also possesses a dark underbelly, especially its underground music scene which over the years has given us bands like Domadora, Red Sun Atacama, Hyde and Grandma's Ashes, bands whose grooves could hardly be described as a reflection of their cities romantic reputation. Today we bring you another Paris based band, this one going by the name Witchorious, a trio consisting of Antoine (guitar/vocals); Lucie (bass) and Paul (drums) whose music could be described as sitting at the gnarlier end of stoner/hard rock but the more accessible end of doom and sludge metal. Witchorious first came to Desert Psychist's attention via their two song EP "The Haunted Tapes", an intriguing two song release that although a little disjointed in places showed a band brimming over with promise and potential, a promise and potential that has now come to fruition on their debut self-titled album "Witchorious" (Argonauta Records).

We tend to expect new albums to open up with something monstrous so as to set the scene for what is to follow and Witchorious deliver on those expectations with the appropriately titled "Monster", a track that encapsulates everything that is good about this band, the songs mix of sneery clean melodies and low guttural harshness supported by thrumming refrains and thunderous rhythms is manna from heaven for those of us who like our sludge and doom crunching and heavy but at the same time imbued with an element of old school classicality. "Catharsis" follows and here we find Witchorious ramping up the gnarliness by adding a little extra bite to their sonic attack but then routinely dialling back on that nastiness with off kilter vocal harmonies and alt-metal flavoured, guitar textures. The band dip their toes into occult rock territories next with the wonderfully atmospheric " The Witch", again the vocals posses a delicious sneery quality in their delivery but what really makes this song great rather than just good is the horn like motifs employed on the songs more up beat sections which punctuate the songs gloomy occult atmospherics like angels trumpets announcing the coming of divine judgement. "Blood" seeps out of the speakers next, a deliciously dank and dark opus boasting an intriguing  mixture of clean and quirky vocal harmonies and harsh growls over a groove that carries an essence of Polish riffmeisters Dopelord in its execution. An element of spacious heavy psych is introduced into the mix for next song "Eternal Night", bassist Lucie handles lead vocals here, her fey but not quite ethereal tones adding a pleasing haziness to the proceedings, a haziness enhanced by the cosmic swoops and whirls that wind themselves around the songs heavily psyched out doomic groove. And so it goes for the rest of the album, the gloriously schizophrenic "Sanctuaire", the instrumentally weird "Amnesia", the gnarled and sludgy "Watch Me Die", the reflective "To The Grave" and the superbly atmospheric final track "Why" are all well above average songs that are rooted in doom, hard rock and sludge but not anchored down by those roots, the band bringing elements of off-centred quirkiness and otherworldly spaciousness to their grooves to create a sound that resides in the canon of doom but is sat way to the left of its centre.  

Witchorious state in their liner notes that they "wanted to create more modern sounds and structures to avoid doing doom that we’ve all heard before" and listening to their debut album it would seem they have succeeded in doing exactly that. 
Check 'em out ....

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 7 February 2024

DEAD RUNES ~ RAIDHO .... review

Dead Runes hail from Nashville, a place where musicians outnumber the ordinary citizens, the band make a noise they describe as "head-bangable, dynamic, fuzz-drenched rock'n'roll" quantifying that statement by telling us they jam a groove that blends the "frantic anxiety of Mastodon with the chill majestic vibes of The Sword". To find out if your ears agree with Dead Runes self-assessment you will have to give their debut "Raidho" a spin, a task we are quietly confident you will end up thanking us for.

An instrumental piece entitled "Secrets of Mountains" opens proceedings, a majestic blend of blues flecked post-rock guitar noodling and sludgy dank riffage supported by dark toned bass lines and tight solid percussion that then makes way for "Allfathers Path" a galloping heavy rocker that along with its highly impressive strong clean vocals  and "Immigrant Song" like rhythms also boasts some searing shredded guitar pyrotechnics. If you have not fell under this bands spell yet then the doom tinted "My Freya" will change all that, its chugging refrains and pounding rhythms twinned with an absolute peach of a vocal melody is on another level especially in its last quarter when things go slightly off piste prior to the songs final verse. "Iron Song" follows next, the songs atmospheric intro of spaced out guitar textures, sparse percussion and hazy echoed vocals is soon shattered by crunching refrains and punchy drumming over which the vocals take on a a more powerful dynamic, things do revert back to the ambient nature of the songs intro but only briefly and its not long before the song pushes to its finish on a wave of  deliciously crunchy stoner-like riff'n'roll. Title song "Raidho" is up next and blends elements of prog with post rock, blues and alt-metal to create a groove that is in constant flux but never once loses its flow or its focus, it also boasts both the albums best vocal performance and its best guitar solo. "Different Stars" is probably Dead Runes at their most accessible and boasts a superb vocal backed by a groove with a slightly dialled down hard rock dynamic while "To Hel and Back" finds Dead Runes getting pleasingly angular and off-kilter. Final number "Sea Tripper" finds the band experimenting with textures and colours both musically and vocally, the music part of the equation an undulating blend of stonerized psych, off centred blues and  hazy doom, the vocal part mantra-like and slightly monotonic, it is not quite the foot to the floor barnburner you might expect an album of this nature to sign off with but is, despite that, a very impressive curtain closer on a seriously entertaining album. 

Dead Runes may think they have a sound that captures essences of Mastodon and The Sword but what we at Desert Psychlist hear is a sound closer to the likes of Elder, All Them Witches and King Buffalo, an intelligent and varied mix of prog- like complexity, lysergic languidity and swaggering heaviness fronted with smooth yet wonderfully powerful vocals. 
Check 'em out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Saturday 3 February 2024


A few years ago Desert Psychlist reviewed an album called "0=1" by Ukrainian alternative metal doomsters Dreadnought by the Pond and we remember getting VERY excited by the bands off-kilter and angular approach to their music. The same excitement we felt that day is again coursing through our brains only this time that excitement is being triggered not by an Eastern European outfit but one from our own British backyard, a band going by the name Troy The Band, a four piece from London, England consisting of Sean Durbin (bass); Sean Burn (guitars); Craig Newman (vocals) and Daniel England (drums). The band have just released their first full length album "Cataclysm" (Bonebag Records), an album with a sound that is as an amalgamation of off-centred stoner metal and angular doom offset with elements of heavy psych and post-metal, a raucous and highly entertaining stroll down the left side of the metallic path.

To try and describe "Cataclysm" in words is no easy task, this is an album that really needs to be heard to truly appreciate its layers, shades and textures however we will do our best to explain why, in early February, we think this album could already be a contender for one of those end of year lists so beloved of our community. It is probably the opening/title track "Cataclysm" that best exemplifies why we think so highly of what TTB bring to the table, its doom laced back drop of slurring refrains, low basement level bass lines and varied rhythmic patterns is enhanced by vocals that range from shoegaze(ish)  and mellow to harsh and growly but what really puts this song on a pedestal is its layers, peel this song back to its core and you would be listening to a pretty acceptable doom tune but with layers of colour, atmosphere and texture constantly being added and subtracted what was acceptable suddenly becomes extraordinary and dare we say it... exceptional. Ok so that's the opening track and most opening tracks are geared for impact so can TTB maintain that level of impact over the duration of a whole album? Well the answer to that is you bet your bottom dollar they can, in fact this is an album that just keeps giving and getting better and better as it goes along, songs like "Flesh Wound", "Only Violence" and "Fauna" are packed with all the righteous heaviness you could possibly ask for but also contain moments that leave you slack-jawed with amazement and disbelief, sometimes those moments are subtle sometimes blatant but they take each and every song gracing this album to a level that far exceeds that which we have come to expect from music of this nature.

Stoner doom can often find itself trapped in a cul-de-sac of its own making, limited by its reliance on slow, low and heavy guitar dynamics and plodding rhythms, this is not the case with Troy The Band's "Cataclysm" the band have identified the genres short fallings and attempted to fix them by adding an angular and off-centred element to their sound, the quartet still remaining true to the roots of the genre but then making things a little more exciting by taking left turns where many of their contemporaries might turn right.
Check 'em out ... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones