Wednesday 27 March 2024

THIRTY DORADUS ~ EP ..... review

Thirty Doradus, Daniel (drums/vocals); Olli (bass/vocals); Jens (guitar) and Christoph (guitar), describe their music with all the straightforwardness and efficiency we have come to expect from Germans, they don't try to dress things up with all the usual bells and whistles they say it how it is and that is that Thirty Doradus play "heavy psychedelic blues with progressive elements and deeply layered sounds and rhythm arrangements". Although bluntly accurate that statement does not really tell you everything you need to know before dropping the needle /pushing play on their equally straightforwardly titled release "EP" which is why we at Desert Psychlist are writing this review, efficiency is all well and good but a release this good deserves a few flowery words.

 Things start well with opening number "Under My Stone" the song coming straight out of the traps on a wall of shimmering guitar textures and thundering rhythms before settling down into a hazy loose and bluesy psych groove over which smooth clean vocal tones tell a tale of chosen isolation and escapism, the songs occasional eruptions into a heavier dynamic adding tension and depth to the songs overall impact. Next song "Rimless Hole" finds Thirty Doradus jamming a slow lysergic blues groove around a smoothly crooned vocal, the band using this groove to launch off on musical tangents into territories that include both prog and jazz fusion, often seeming in danger of losing themselves in those territories but always managing to navigate their way back to the songs initial bluesy core. "Parasomnia" finds Thirty Doradus flexing their alt-metal/grunge muscles on a deeply fuzzilicious mid tempo workout, the song employing all the necessary loud/quiet/loud dynamics associated with genre but boasting much more complexity and intensity. Up next is "Gargoyles" a song that mixes off-centred bluesy funkiness with equally off-centred grunginess and features seriously off the scale musicianship from all concerned. Finally we come to "Blue Fish" a moody prog/psych hybrid routinely interrupted by bursts of heavy rock bluster, its not quite the  big curtain closer you might have been expecting but that said its still a pretty impressive tune.

There is no reason why, unless knowing the band personally or living in their hometown, the majority of us would have been aware of  Thirty Doradus' existence, and lets face it their description of their music and the simplicity of their debut releases title is not exactly a big selling point. That said anyone pushing play or dropping a needle on this understated gem is in for a real treat, a truly remarkable collection of songs deeply rooted in the blues but tinted with elements from a wide range of other musical sources.
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Monday 25 March 2024


For those familiar with the long-running TV show 'The Walking Dead' and its various spin-offs, you'll know that zombies often appear in hordes. Typically, these hordes are merely a collection of shambling, decaying humanity whose sole purpose is to feast on the flesh of the unturned. Today, however, we present a horde of a different sort. Let us introduce you to Zombie Hunger, an ensemble comprising Patient Zero on vocals, Coffin Queen on bass, Graveborn on rhythm guitar, Wormfeast on lead guitar, and Skineater on drums, an Australian outfit with a flair for delivering old-school doom tinted with an element of theatrical shock-rock, as is showcased on their self-titled debut release 'Zombie Hunger'.

The instrumental "Rise From Your Graves" opens up proceedings its swirling effects are joined by rhythm guitar, bass and drums in a thrumming doomic groove over which a circular guitar motif holds sway before suddenly segueing into its follow up "Zombie Children", this song a chugging proto-doomic tome that would sound Sabbath-esque if it were not for Patient Zero's distinctive vocals which for this song sit nicely at the sneery end of sinister despite, in places, bearing a remarkable similarity to The B52's Fred Schneider. Patient Zero reverts to a more traditional doomic tone for next track "Mask of Satan" with Coffin Queen, Graveborn and Skineater laying down a pulsating mid tempo proto-doom groove over which Wormfeast layers incendiary lead. "They Multiply" follows", its core tempo may be set at just a notch or two above low and slow and its atmospherics may reside at the danker end of the doom spectrum but its vocals are powerful and fiery, its lead work scorching. Things get a touch stoner-ish and bluesy for penultimate track "Coming For You", its delicious earworm riffs, powerful rhythms and searing solos are taken to a whole new level of enjoyment by an absolute peach of a vocal melody. Its back to traditional doom for final track "Death Without Rest", a song that is essential listening for any of those brought up on a diet of Reverend Bizarre, Candlemass, Count Raven and bands of that ilk, the songs delightfully dank, lurching and thundering groove is enhanced by a superbly delivered gothic flavoured vocal, the like of which has sadly become a rarity in this age of growlers and screamers. 

If you are a fan of doom, especially its earlier forms, then Zombie Hunger's self-titled debut is going to tick more boxes for you than it leaves blank. The band took their name from a Saint Vitus song and it is the spirit of Saint Vitus, along with bands like Solitude Aeturnus, Pentagram, Hidden Hand and others from that golden era of doom that informs every beat, refrain and vocal inflection of this superbly delivered album, yes it is "old school" in both feel and execution but when has "old school" ever equated to "bad school".
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 22 March 2024

DAEVAR ~ AMBER EYES .... review

Pardis Latifa (bass/vocals); Moritz Ermen Bausch (drums) and Caspar Orfgen (guitar) are not names you will immediately recognise UNLESS, that is, you happened to chance upon "Delirious Rites"(2023) by a German band going by the name Daevar."Delirious Rites" was an album that blended the dense atmospherics of bands like Katatonia and Anathema with the low slow stoner doom dynamics of bands like Windhand and Sleep and benefited from generous sprinklings of occult rock ethereality and alt-metal colouring , elements that saw the album achieve a very respectable #16 placing on the January 2023 edition of The Doom Charts. This year the band return with a new album, "Amber Eyes" (The Lasting Dose Records), a release we feel will achieve much the same levels of love and appreciation that were afforded its predecessor.

"Lilith's Lullaby" opens Daevar's new album, the songs eerie and atmospheric first few minutes features a haunting vocal from bassist Latifa that moves up to an ethereal croon when her bass is joined by Bausch's drums and Orfgen's guitar in a fairly lo-fi but nevertheless substantial doomic groove flecked with some very impressive lead work. Low thrumming bass introduces next track ""Pay To Pray" and is then joined by the drums and guitar in more traditional low slow doom groove over which Latifa layers a strong emotive vocal, her dulcet tones a perfect match for the restrained heaviness of the music framing those tones. There is a cinematic air to next song "Caliban And The Witch" that is reminiscent in some ways of those soundtracks gracing shows like "Vikings" and "The Last Kingdom", well that is until around  the halfway mark when things take on a more dark and sinister dynamic both vocally and musically.  Title track "Amber Eyes" bursts out of the speakers next and is a much harder affair than much of what has passed previously, Orfgan and Latif's guitar and bass possess a much crunchier tone while Bausch's drumming takes on a much more thunderous quality, Latif's vocals here a mix of fey wispiness and sneery menace. "Lizards" brings a touch of those Katatonia/Anathema like atmospherics into play and twins them with subtle alt-metal textures while all the time keeping things rooted firmly in doomic soil. Final song "Grey In Grey" has the musical feel of something you might hear emanating out of the Polish heavy underground but boasts a vocal sittings at the more occult end of the doom spectrum, a stunning blend of light and shade that just seems to get better and better with each and every listen.

Daevar have with "Amber Eyes" made the album we all hoped they would make , an album that doesn't stray too far away from the blueprint the band drew up with the excellent "Delirious Rites" but is at the same time a progression in both its ideas, its arrangements and its musicality.
Check it out ....  

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 20 March 2024

SONIC WOLVES ~ III .... review

Those with a knowledge of the underground rock scene will immediately recognise the names Kayt Vigil and Gianni "Vita" Vitarelli, but for those not so clued up let us tell you that Vigil once supplied bass for doom legends Pentagram and Vita was up until a few years ago the drummer driving the groove behind psych/sludge/doom meisters Ufomammut. In 2015 Vigil and Vita, a married couple, decided they wanted to do something together and so Sonic Wolves was born. Paulo Melotto and the singularly named Diniz were recruited in on guitar duties for the bands first album "Before The End Comes" (2016) then Melotto departed leaving the band as a trio for the follow up "Sonic Wolves" (2018), both albums were well received garnering plaudits and good reviews from all the right quarters. Unfortunately any thoughts the band might have had about following up on this positivity came to an abrupt halt when Covid hit their Italian homeland with the force of a hurricane which is part, but not all, reason why we have had to wait until 2024 for the next instalment of the Sonic Wolves story. That story now continues with the release  of "III" (Argonauta Records), this time featuring Nico Nigro on guitar duties, an album that has been a long time coming and delivers on every level.

There is no slow gentle easing in with opening track "Shapeshifter" this is a song that goes for the throat right from the off, raucous guitar tones, furious drumming and growling bass framing an almost snarled punkish Vigil vocal around which Nigro coils scorching solos that are a mix of  bluesy old school feel and modern day shred, breath-taking! That raucous old school/new school feel is combined with a more cosmic dynamic on next track "O.B.E." an exhilarating instrumental that pins you against the wall with its crunching ferocity one minute then wraps you up in a blanket of cosmicness the next. Its pedal to the metal for the stoner(ish) "Dead To The World" next with Vita laying down a barrage of beats beneath booming bouncy bass lines, searing lead work and catchy vocal melodies. Our ears may be deceiving us at Desert Psychlist but we are sure we can hear a hint of an AC/DC turnaround nestled away on the meaty rocker "Dark Recollection",  and if there is you won't find us complaining, nor other listeners we should imagine. It is conceivable we may be wrong about hearing an essence of AC/DC in the previous track but we are not wrong in hearing shades of Deep Purple in the first quarter of its follow up "Heavy Lies The Crown", especially in Nigro's earworm guitar riff which has Ritchie Blackmore written large all over it, that said the songs second half is a completely different animal in that it is a truly beautiful spacious jam with strong Floydian undertones. Sonic Wolves return to stoner/hard rock dynamics for "The Ten Doors" while "Won't Be Their Fool" finds the band twinning those same dynamics with a little punkish attitude and  garage rock aggression beneath a strong angsty vocal. Finally we arrive at "Gotta Do It Right" an up tempo rocker that comes over like a cross between Deep Purple's "Highway Star" and The Damned's "New Rose" and sounds as impressive as both, an ass kicking song that, like the album it closes, demands repeated plays.

Sonic Wolves "III" is an outstanding release that ticks all the boxes any discerning rock music fan could ever want ticking, it's aggressive in places soothing and spacious in others, it is an album that will appeal to those brought up on the classic and hard rock of the 70's, those who cut their teeth on 80's metal and those with an investment in the stoner rock, psych and doom that has graced record collections from the 90's to the present day, to misquote Rudyard Kipling "The strength of the groove is the Sonic Wolves, the strength of  the Sonic Wolves is the groove"
Check 'em out ..... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 15 March 2024


July 2020 saw Swedish outfit Malsten release "The Haunting of Silv​å​kra Mill" a scintillating concept album telling of an ancient evil emanating from an old abandoned mill, it was an album we at Desert Psychlist described as being "like listening to the musical equivalent of a horror story told around the flickering flames of a campfire". Things went a bit quiet for a while after the release of this doomic masterpiece until in 2022 when Malsten released "Entr'acte" a single track intended to serve as a bridging piece between the first chapter and the next instalment of the Silv​å​kra Mill story, it seemed that the campfire we mentioned was still burning and an unfinished tale was still waiting to reach its conclusion. That next instalment has now arrived in the shape of "The Haunting of Silv​å​kra Mill - Rites of Passage" (Svart Records) so lets hunker down, make ourselves comfortable and let Malsten continue their tale.

Opening song "Path of the Nix" opens with melancholy strings then erupts into a slow dank dark doomic refrain, driven by pounding percussion, over which strong clean but mournful vocals tell of Silv​å​kra's wearied preacher continuing his hunt for the killer that slipped through his fingers at the end of the first album, The song boasts an almost touchable atmospheric, the preachers confusion, frustration and fear perfectly captured not only in the songs lyrics but also in its slowly building musical dynamic. "Larum" follows and sees our preacher still following the path he has set out for himself but at the same time starting to experience a strange darkness calling out to him, the ancient evil emanating from the cursed mill infiltrating his thoughts much like it did the murderous miller he hunts, this all set to a backdrop of some of the dankest and most menacing doom you are likely to hear this side of Armageddon. Parping church-like organ and a lone vocal make up "Intercession" a brief piece that sees our preacher making a plea/prayer to his god for some sort of intervention against the darkness that is slowly enveloping him. Next song "Terra Inferna" builds its part up slowly, its initial post-rock textures taking on a more malevolent dynamic as the song evolves, that dynamic easing off slightly when the vocals make an appearance but nevertheless remaining in the air throughout the songs duration. Next up is "Ceremony" a sombre lament sang in melancholy tones against a backdrop of sparse piano and synth generated strings that then segues into final song "Laurenti Berth" a song that marks the confrontation between hunter and hunted but twists the songs narrative so that it becomes unclear who is which, the musical backdrop accompanying this final confrontation a mix of sinister spacious post-metal and sprawling heavy doom boasting a vocal that ranges from unsettling semi-crooned narration to impassioned gothic howling, spine chilling stuff! 

Malsten, much like their fellow Swedes Cavern Deep, love to tell a story over a series of releases and much like Cavern Deep they try not to overcomplicate things, preferring instead to lay out their musical tale like a novel with a beginning a middle and an end, leaving some things for the listener to work out for themselves but on the whole keeping things nice and straightforward. It is this old fashioned style of story telling, delivered without going off on convoluted tangents, that makes "The Haunting of Silv​å​kra Mill - Rites of Passage" such an engrossing listen not only as a chapter in the whole Silv​å​kra Mill saga but also as a stand alone album in its own right. 
Check it out ... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 13 March 2024


Supernaut, Oliver Niemann (guitar); Will Iermini (bass) and Sean Niemann (drums), hail from Santa Cruz, California and have in the past released albums, "Supernaut", "The Green" and "Soul Awaken", that have been notable for their vocal parts however the album we are reviewing today is a collection of instrumental jams all recorded in one session which the band have dubbed "No Mind Volume I",

"No Mind Volume I" is basically four smaller pieces bookended by two sprawling epics, the first of those epics being "Ronin", a song that retains a prog-like funkishness throughout its tenure and uses this as its platform to launch off on convoluted flights into instrumental cosmicness, O.Niemann's guitar is the main focus throughout, his constantly ascending/descending solos, his shard like chord progressions and his delicate tonal textures are what most listeners will come away remembering but if you dig deeper and isolate O.Niemann's contributions from your mind you will also discover a really tight rhythm section going hell for leather underneath, Iermini's bass work a mix of growling funkiness and liquid jazziness, S.Niemann's drumming tight solid and swinging. For the albums next jam "Pizza Basement" Supernaut go for a more metallic riff orientated dynamic which they played at a breakneck  tempo, if we have one complaint about this song it is that it finishes far too early. "Cold Waters Of The North" is next,  a chugging, stuttering groover decorated in spacious guitar texturing that sees the songs fade out signalling the fade in of the next track "Wake The Dead" a brief but enjoyable jam built around a groove heavily reliant on Iermini and S.Niemann's rhythmic prowess. Second to last we have "Bestill" an eerie mood piece that utilizes raked and hit guitar and bass strings echoing over achingly sedate rhythmic patterns and has the feel of one of Ornette Coleman's more avant-garde jazz compositions. Final jam "Lizard City" mixes its grooves between stoner(ish) psych and funky space rock and sees O.Niemann layering over those grooves a blend of textures and colours that range from screaming bluesiness through to lysergic languidity while also managing to visit all stops in-between.

Whatever it was that drove Supernaut to ditch the vocals and go down the fully instrumental route for "No Mind Vol.I " (and its soon to be released follow up "No Mind Vol. II") is a question best asked of the band themselves but whatever it was that informed that decision there is no getting away from the fact that these are some intense, mind-melting jams played by three musicians at the very top of their game.
Check it out ... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Monday 11 March 2024


Those of us who spend most of out time listening to music at the more underground end of the rock spectrum will no doubt agree that listening to the sound of crunchy guitar tones, run through fuzz/distortion pedals and exploding out of an overdriven amp, is, bar making the two backed beast or watching your favourite sports team lift a trophy, one of the best experiences you can have in this world. With that in mind we today bring you an album that will satisfy that need for fuzz and distortion but will at the same time assuage any penchants you may have for groove. The album in question goes by the title "Hallucinogenic" and the band delivering those desired elements are a Chilean trio called Sigmantra.

As is fitting it is the title track "Hallucinogenic" that kicks proceedings off, its scuzzy guitar intro and screaming feedback initially heralds in a slow low and thundering doom groove but then suddenly morphs into a crunching stoner romp weighted down in thick fuzz over which the vocals are delivered in clean angsty tones, the song finally finishing its account in a thrash like crescendo. The quasi-instrumental "Tyrell Bastard Son" follows and utilises the famous "tears in rain" quote from Ridley Scott's  1982 "Blade Runner" movie as its intro before exploding into a low bass heavy refrain driven by pummelling percussion, the songs in your face dynamic only briefly interrupted by a deliciously spacious passage of dark languidity. Third track "Swamp" is anything but "swampy" in fact if you took away the chainsaw tones of the bass and  the guitar this could easily be considered desert rock, especially given its bluesy lead work, tight four to the floor drumming and its just short of lilting vocal melody. For last track "Class B Movie" Sigmantra throw everything into the pot including galloping Sabbathian riffs, Thin Lizzy flavoured guitar motifs, low slow stoner doom dynamics and gothic toned vocals, all of these various elements drenched in so much fuzz and distortion your speakers will be screaming out for mercy.

Sigmanta's "Hallucinogenic" hits with the force of a hurricane, its songs are scuzzy, heavy and punchy but are not bereft of things like colour texture and melody, this despite being drenched in enough fuzz to drown a small country.
Check 'em out ....  

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Saturday 9 March 2024


Phoenix, Arizona's Daytripper may share their name with a Beatles song but that is where any similarities end, don't go expecting jangly guitar tones and tight vocal harmonies from these guys as their music resides on the darker side of the tracks, in fact the only thing jangling here are the nerves of those listening to the bands hellish doomic tomes. If you think that last statement may be us at Desert Psychlist slightly gilding the lily then press play on the bands debut "Book I: The Trip" but before you do make sure you have a light on and bottle of Valium to hand.

Dark droning and distorted guitar textures introduce opening song "Jarl's Eyes", a hellish cacophony of noise that is then joined by a second guitar, bass and drums in a heavy doomic groove decorated in a mix of hazy and harsh vocal tones, a groove that is routinely interrupted by moments of lysergic languidity and delicious thrumming low slow bleakness. If you have not succumbed to the call of the Valium yet then "Marijuanakon" might be the song to push you over the edge, its Sleep like refrains support a chorus of wordless wailing and harsh guttural growls that vocalise Dune/Dopesmoker flavoured lyrical content, the addition of  screeching violin adding an off centred satanic feel to the proceedings. "Primitives" follows and in its initial stages boasts a slightly more desert flavoured groove however after a brief episode of dark space like ambience things take a blackened turn and we are taken to the close on wave upon wave of droning dankness. Next track "Staff of the Bog" sees Daytripper's musical sages employing the vocals of Ashley Ann Thompson to add vocal contrast to a song that is part hazy desert rock part blackened heavy psych while "Sludgelurker" sees the band blending Sabbathesque proto-doom with swampy sludge then finishing in crescendo of dank off kilter noise that bears no resemblance to either. Penultimate track "Tin Man" is Daytripper at their most accessible, the songs vocals, a trade off of clean and harsh tones, are supported by a groove notable for its dialled down heaviness, granted its not exactly radio friendly but this is probably the closest these guys will ever get. Final number "The Trip" is a sublime epic hotch-potch of ethereal occult rock, psychedelic doom and swampy sludge delivered low slow and atmospheric, well that is until a brief injection of Sabbathian chug'n'roll heralds in a lurch to the finish line on a delightfully dark wave of unholy dissonance.

Stoner doom, blackened desert rock, psychedelic sludge are all labels you could use to describe Daytripper's "Book I: The Trip" and all would apply but there is also a undefinable element to the songs that inhabit this debut that defies description, an essence of malevolence mixed with mysticism that gives the grooves Daytripper bring to the table an almost spiritual feel, yes an insidious and unnerving form of spirituality but a spirituality nonetheless.
Check it out ....

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Monday 4 March 2024

CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC ~ 79 A.E. ..... review

Given Clouds Taste Satanic's high standing in this thing we call the "underground community" there doesn't seem much point in giving a rundown of all their previous releases other than to say that with each release they have managed to raise the bar for instrumental music that bit higher. The bands latest release "79 A.E."(Majestic Mountain Records) is no different, it may only consist of two tracks but oh man those two tracks take you to places some bands struggle to take you to with ten!

 A mistake many instrumental outfits make is to limit themselves within the confines of a specific genre but CTS although rooted in doom avoid that trap, on both "Collision" and its follow up "Reclamation", by never allowing themselves to fall into a formula, there are always surprises to be found and left turns to negotiate on the two jams that make up this album, instances that keep the listener on his/her toes whereby a drum beat, a bass note or a guitar fill  can just as easily be the signal for a dive into brutal crunchiness as it can be a sign for the band to slide into moments of lysergic ambience. The musicianship on both these jams is on another level, the guitars of  Steven Scavuzzo and Brian Bauhs coil and wrap around each other in a scorching mixture of duals, trade offs and synchronized riffage while the rhythm section of Robert Halstead (bass) and Greg Acampora (drums) are the heavy equivalent of legendary jazzers Elvin Jones and Jimmy Garrison (John Coltrane Quartet) able to anchor the groove when needed but also possessing the chops to hold their own when the groove gets a little wild and free which is an added bonus on the more prog-leaning "Reclamation" but comes in just as handy on the more doom orientated "Collision".

 Originally penned as a soundtrack to a movie that never quite got over the line it will come as no surprise that "79 A.E." possesses a sprawling cinematic quality, but then Clouds Taste Satanic have been making music that paints pictures in the mind eye since day one, that's why we love them.
Check it out ..... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Sunday 3 March 2024


It's time we got a little heavy again here at Desert Psychlist, it's been a while since we have visited the low. slow and weighty side of the underground scene and who better could we pick to represent that side of things than Sweden's Saturnalia Temple who this month are releasing their fourth full length album "Paradigm Call" (Listenable Records). Those familiar with Saturnalia Temple, Tommie Eriksson (vocals/guitar); Gottfrid Åhman (bass) and Pelle Åhman (drums), will know what to expect but those coming to the band anew should be prepared for crunchy repetitive guitar riffs and soaring grainy solos supported  by low slung bass motifs and earth shaking percussion, oh and let's not forget the vocals which are delivered in a low throaty graveyard gurgle.

The new album kicks off with "Drakon" a heavy atmospheric instrumental built around a droning doomic refrain supported by minimalist percussion which slowly fades into silence to make way for next song "Revel in Dissidence" the song boasting a slow circling groove only interrupted by Eriksson's distinctive grizzled vocal tones and a searing guitar solo. Title track "Paradigm Call" is next and as is Saturnalia Temple's style revolves around a repetitive guitar and bass refrain anchored by a pounding solid drumming over which Eriksson applies dark vocal colouring and scorching lead work. Having said this with "Among The Ruins" we start to see Saturnalia Temple slightly shifting the goalposts by adding elements of variation to their attack, where the albums previous songs relied on repetition this one starts to see the band toying with subtle shifts in time signature and tempo as well as getting a little more adventurous in the vocal department. ""Black Smoke" opens with the two Åhman's laying down an insidious proto-flavoured drum and bass groove joined after a few bars by Eriksson's guitar and of course his unique vocal stylings, it is however Eriksson's effect laden guitar motif that takes things to the close that will stick in the mind most here. Next song "Ascending The Pale", is a doomic lament built around a low slow and heavy groove, this is probably the closest Saturnalia Temple will ever get to writing anything close to balladry but that's OK because who needs beauty when ugliness can sound this delicious. Penultimate number " Empty Chalice" finds the band falling back on the one riff repetition of the albums first few songs while final song "Kaivalya", an instrumental, finds our Swedes jamming an eastern tinted OM like heavy psych groove taken to another level by Eriksson ripping equally exotic notes from his fretboard, this is a tune you will want to last far longer than it five minute duration allows.

The criticism that will no doubt be levelled at this album is its reliance on riffs and its lack of dynamic variation but those aiming that criticism are missing the point, it is the hypnotic effect of those riffs combined with the almost mantra like dynamics of Saturnalia Temple's grooves that are this albums biggest asset and make listening to "Paradigm Call" feel like an almost religious experience.
Check it out ... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones