Thursday 23 May 2024

KALGON ~ KALGON ..... review


Kalgon, not to be confused with Calgon a UK water softener used in dishwashers, hail from Ashville, North Carolina and are a three piece consisting of Brandon Davis on guitar and vocals, Berten Lee Tanner on bass and vocals and Marc Russo on drums. The band jam a groove rooted in heavy psych and stoner doom liberally sprinkled with elements of post-rock, thrash and the blues that are then decorated in a mix of throaty bellowed vocals and clean harmonies. This month (May 2024) sees the band releasing their self-titled debut "Kalgon" (Evil Noise Recordings) a truly impressive collection of songs tied together around a concept that tells a tale of an ancient mind colonizing fungi reaping ruin on the human populace.


Opening song "The Isolate" kicks things off in true stoner doom style with low, slow guitar refrains, grumbling bass motifs and solid thunderous drumming supporting a wearied clean vocal telling us of "opportunistic space fungi, awaiting the moment to bloom", over a musical dynamic pitched at the lumbering and menacing end of the doom spectrum. Things get even slower, lower and heavier on next song "Grade of the Slope", we described aspects of the previous track as lumbering this one in comparison is dragging itself along by its fingernails with achingly sedate and heavy riffs and rhythms framing a mix of growled and clean vocals that are delivered slightly slurred and just short of monotonic. Kalgon shrug off their cloaks of lethargy and languidity and go full tilt in your face stoner metal/thrash for "Apocalyptic Meiosis" only to then go and get all reflective on us with two stunning instrumentals, first the languid and droning "Interlude" and then the slow burning and doomic "Windigo", the former soothing and quite beautiful, the latter dark dank and atmospheric. "Eye of the Needle" follows and sees those big vocals return over a groove that boasts spiralling guitar refrains anchored to earth by ground zero bass lines and busy tight drumming. Final number "Setting Sun" sees Kalgon closing out with a heartfelt lament, the songs vocals delivered clean and melancholic over a backdrop of restrained but heavy percussion and a mix of shimmering and fractured chord voicings, the song finally fading out to the sound of  gently picked acoustic guitar.


Let's not delve too deeply into the concept linking the seven tracks on Kalgon's debut, except to mention that we at Desert Psychlist are fully invested in the album's "The Last Of Us" inspired lyricism and imagery. What truly captivates the listener about "Kalgon" is its diversity and its musicianship. This isn't just an album where a band stacks riffs endlessly one top of one another; albeit it does contains tracks that are both forceful and uncompromising, this is an album that emotionally engages the listener, it is this combined with its storytelling elements that elevates "Kalgon" from just being a good debut to being a truly outstanding debut.
Check it out .... 

Wednesday 22 May 2024

DEER CREEK ~ THE HIRAETH PIT ... review


When Denver Colorado's Deer Creek released their 2022 debut album "Menticide" Desert Psychlist could not help but throw a few words together in celebration of its impact on our riff beaten ears. Now we get to do it all over again for their latest release "The Hiraeth Pit", another delicious collection of low slow and heavy doomic grooves perfect for sagely nodding along to while reverentially muttering "all hail the riff" under our breaths.


First out of the traps comes "Bodies To Be Kicked" a proto flavoured doom banger boasting crunchy down-tuned distorted guitar tones supported by equally crunchy bass and impressively busy drumming around which vocals are traded off against one another in what feels, at times, like an almost conversational style, a trick that proves especially effective when the song drops into a slightly more stoner doomic dynamic in its later stages. Gnarly and energetic is how we would describe the opening bars to next track "The Wretches Who Grovel", but that energy soon dissipates and its not long before the drums and bass lock into a thick and syrupy doom groove around which the guitars swoop and swoon over a sedately paced vocal that cryptically targets organised religion. Third song "Crushed By the Hand Slowly Filling With Gold" boasts stuttering riffage and thrumming rhythms supporting melodic clean vocals while for its follow up. "They Were Buried Yesterday", things stay fairly melodic in the vocal department but lean towards a swampier sludge like dynamic musically. "Grey" is up next and lyrically examines alien encounters against a backdrop of grainy grizzled doom. "We Dreamed of Flames and Suffocation" is a low slow and suitably heavy tirade against oppression that features some searing lead guitar (Jeff Montoya) that leads us to final song "Almshouse Stench" a discordant and droning behemoth decorated in off centred lead vocals and slightly less than harmonious harmonies that finally signs out in a doom-psych jam, intense stuff!


The Hiraeth Pit” is an album that sees Deer Creek skirting around the edges of the stoner doom genre without fully committing to it, this is a good thing as it allows them as a band not to become restricted by the genres usual cliches and tropes and allows them the room to stretch themselves a little. If you are a devotee of low slung slowed down heavy music but are looking for something a little different but in the same sort of ballpark then “The Hiraeth Pit” could well be the album you have been searching for.
Check it out …

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Monday 20 May 2024

RAIN DEVIL ~ THE WITCHING HOUR ....review

Washington's Rain Devil, Rollo (vocal/guitar); Gy (drums) and Brent (bass), bring a Northwest American twist to a sub-genre that was birthed in the back streets of the UK's city of Birmingham, we are of course talking about Black Sabbath here and the sub-genre of proto-doom.. Now let's make it clear that we are not suggesting that Rain Devil are another one of the underground rock scenes seemingly ever present Sabbathian sounding bands, far from it, but having said that it is not hard to hear aspects of that proto-doomic sound seeping into some of what Rain Devil bring to the altar table. The bands 2018 debut "The Joyful Apocalypse" was a suitably "joyful" listening experience that in our opinion should have garnered a lot more love than it was eventually afforded, hopefully their latest album "The Witching Hour" will be the album that redresses that imbalance.

It is the album’s title track "The Witching Hour" that kicks things off, the songs chunky onslaught of thunderous riffs and rhythms is infused with fiery lead breaks that border on the edges of bluesy and gritty clean vocals that possess an ear pleasing drawled quality. Next comes "Devil Bird" a song with its roots planted firmly in proto-doomic soil but that also possesses an air of southern swampiness in both its guitar and vocal tones. "Purple Punchcicle" follows, a dank and crunchy instrumental that allows Rollo free reign to live out his guitar god dreams over a backdrop of gnarly arsed groove expertly laid down by Brent and Gy. "In this darkness where the anger bleeds, love and hate burn like autumn leaves" sings Rollo on "Eye Shine" his deep gravid tones accompanied by low grumbling bass and industrial drumming, his bluesy guitar solos enhancing a song thick on atmosphere and tension, qualities that are also to be found in abundance inhabiting its grizzled grainy follow up "The Long Stone". A touch of Seattle grunginess finds its way into the Alice in Chains flavoured "Crawl" while "Shadows in an Empty Room" finds Rain Devil slowing things down and getting melancholic and reflective. Its back to the proto-doom for "Gesture of Hate" a song that sees Brent and Gy laying down a barrage of gnarliness for Rollo to overlay with circular refrains and searing lead guitar, his accompanying vocal tones reflective of the songs title. "Serpents" is up next, a delicious mix of proto and bluesy doom with some nice subtle twists and turns in its gait. Rain Devil break out the acoustic guitars for the gentle instrumental "A Stone's Throw" then go full on galloping doom for final number "Life Without Living" the song a gnarled rant against the vagaries of life sang over a backdrop of fuzz laden guitar riffage, low slung bass motifs and pounding percussion.

 A big shout out should also go out to that guru of all things stoner, doom and heavy rock Tony Reed who mixed and mastered this album to perfection.


Rain Devil deliver with "The Witching Hour" the sort of  gritty doom and hard rock that has seen bands like Texas' Thunder Horse and San Jose's ZED gain international respect, a mix of dank heaviness and bluesy swagger that has the ability to equally hit the sweet spots of both fans of doom and those of a more heavy rock persuasion.
Check it out ...

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Saturday 18 May 2024

BOVEDA DEL SOL ~ COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUSNESS .... review


Desert Psychlist has become a regular listener to the delights of the Spanish underground over the last few years thanks in part to labels like Spinda Records and Discos Macarras Records keeping us abreast of what is going on over there but also partly due to our own obsession with discovering new bands from countries whose scenes are quietly evolving but are not getting quite the same exposure as some of their near neighbours. Having said all that neither of those circumstances arose in the case of today's review, it was in fact a member of the band reaching out asking if we would be interested in reviewing their new album that sparked our interest in this band and in turn gave birth to this review. The band go by the name Boveda del Sol, Jordi Vaquero (guitar/vocals/synths); Victor Navarro (bass/vocals); Uri Fabregas (guitars) and Marçal Itarte (drums/vocals), and hail from Barcelona, they have just released their first album as a bone-fide working outfit (previous releases were a more or less Vaquero one man projects) titled "Collective Unconsciousness" and to say it is a little bit special would be an understatement.


We all feel at times like we are trapped on a wheel running fast to get nowhere and Boveda del Sol voice those feeling perfectly with opening number "Orbitual", "release me from this hell" scream the songs lyrics against a backdrop of synth heavy swampy prog decorated in a myriad of vocal tones that range from clean harmonies to guttural bellows. What really grabs you though is how much is going on in this song musically, sludge like guitar refrains vying for space with thrash like rhythms and doomic atmospherics and we haven't even mentioned the ambient cosmic middle section yet. If the opening track did not tear a hole in your skull then the next one, "Moonless Night", most certainly will its opening salvo of spinning guitar noise over solid tight bass and drum rhythms is full on and exquisite and is only just bettered by the passage of swirling synth and palm muted guitars that follows it, but hold fast its not over yet things take yet another turn with big bear-like vocals roared forcefully over a backdrop of sludge laced, doomic and extremely proggish metal. After the onslaught of the first two numbers a moment of calmness is called for and that calmness is provided by the opening few bars of "Oscillation Invocation" the songs tranquil space-like demeanour however is only fleeting as its not long before a mix of clean and harsh vocals enter and things get nicely gnarly again. Next is title track "Collective Unconsciousness" a loud/quiet/loud behemoth with a John Carpenter flavoured middle-section while "Heliosphere", an instrumental, seems almost playful in comparison to all that has gone before. Final song "Event Horizon" is the lyrical answer for those wondering what would really have happened to the lost astronaut in David Bowie's "Space Oddity", "feel the pressure behind the eyes, your body starts to collapse, wandered too close to that star now its pull is tearing you apart". Musically, however, this is the closest Boveda del Sol get to going down the full stoner doom path with spacious ambience and prog -like complexity partly jettisoned for old school low slow and heavy guitar refrains and thunderous percussion framing a mix of harsh and clean vocals.


"Empirical Space Doom from Barcelona" is the legend gracing Boveda del Sol's Bandcamp page but while we agree with the words "empirical" and "space" we have to take issue with the word "doom", this is not to say that doom does not play a huge part in what this Spanish outfit bring to the table its just that there is so much more than just doom going on within their sound. There are elements to be found on "Collective Unconsciousness" that border on blackened and proggish and others that lean towards ambient and experimental but then we guess labelling yourself an "empirical experimental ambient blackened prog space doom band" is going a bit far.
Check 'em out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 17 May 2024

COSMOTHER ~ BIG CHILL .... review


Koblenz, based German quartet Cosmother describe their sound as having "huge riffs, pounding basslines, thunderous drums and spiraling vocals" a statement which might lead you to expecting an onslaught of unrelenting heaviness. However while there is plenty of heaviness to be found in Cosmother's grooves do not let yourself be fooled into thinking that heaviness is all they bring to the table. The band, Laura (guitar/vocals); Marie (guitar); Sylvia (bass/vocals) and Wanda (drums/vocals), create a sound together that yes can get heavy in places but is also spacious, hazy and times shoegaze-ish, a quite fitting mix when you consider they have named their debut EP "Big Chill".


One of Desert Psychlist's guilty musical pleasures is listening to  the American alt-rock combo Warpaint and there is an element of Warpaint's use of colour and texture to be found in the way Cosmother construct their songs, albeit with Cosmother utilizing harder and heavier dynamics. Take opening number "Break the Ice" for instance, yes the guitar riffs are dark and crunchy but those riffs are never allowed to become overpowering, the two guitarists of course play an integral part in the whole but not to the detriment of the bassist and drummer whose role is just as equally integral in that whole, then you factor in the vocals, which are a mixture of soaring ethereality and lilting grittiness, and you soon become aware that you are listening to something pretty special and unique here. "Event Horizon" is up next, the song a sprawling six minute plus opus built around throbbing bass lines and a mix of thunderously tight and loose fluid drumming over which floating melodic lead and lilting backing harmonies swoon and sway, those vocals enhanced by a delicious blend of thrumming riffs and shimmering lead guitar. There is a doomic quality to the instrumental next track "Last Woman On Earth", a doomic quality off-set by elements not too far removed from those you might find on an album by Colour Haze or Causa Sui, undulating heaviness and haziness periodically pierced by sublime sparse and spacious lead guitar. "Martian Tribes" ties things up nicely with tribal beats and low grainy guitars creating a platform for an earworm vocal melody that'll be sure to stick in your mind for the duration of your day.


"Big Chill" is the perfect title for an EP that is both relaxing and captivating, an EP that has its moments of heaviness but also possess moments that are spacious and languid, music you could just as easily jump about throwing devil's horns to as you could sit back and allow to to wash over you.
Check it out ...

© 2024 Frazer Jones

KAMENIAK ~ BLACK SKY SUMMER ....review


Kameniak, a trio hailing from Celje, Slovenia, comprises Gregor Orožim on guitar and vocals, Vid Verdev on bass and vocals, and Tijaž Messec on drums. Their sound is a fusion of Seattle's grunge and Palm Desert fuzz, enriched with garage rock and post-punk elements. Although their first two albums, "Kameniak I" and "Kameniak II," were well-received, they remained largely unnoticed internationally. However, the bands latest album, "Black Sky Summer" (ŠOP Records), could change all that, an album largely inspired by the catastrophic floods in Slovenia in 2023 but that also showcases the bands evolution as both musicians and as songwriters.


Things start of a little disturbing with "Going Underground", a collection of sampled effects and sound bytes intended to reflect the recent upheavals that have befallen the bands homeland. "Red Dawn" follows and is a deliciously fuzzy opus that comes over like a cross between desert rock icons QOTSA and Scottish post-punkers Franz Ferdinand over which the question "is my sin not enough for you" is asked in rich strong new wave(ish) tones. We then get  "Red Dawn Stop", a brief 26 second interlude featuring a mantra like vocal that serves as a bridging piece between the previous song and the next song "Sun Is The Devil", the songs stuttering guitar refrains, low slung bass lines and impressively tight drumming framing a vocal that is low key and semi narrated in the verses and slurry and gritty in the songs more upbeat verses. Kameniak show off their new wave/punk roots on the strident "I.A.P.I.T.M" while "Horseman" finds the band getting nicely off-centred and quirky. Next we have "Ride" its jerky bass heavy groove off set with moments of soaring heavy psych/alt-metal backed languidity. Final song "Summer's End" is a heartfelt lament delivered in wearied vocal tones over acoustic guitar and strings that takes its final bow to the sound of falling rain and thunder, a sad yet at the same time beautiful ending to what has been an intriguing and highly rewarding listening experience.


Kameniak's "Black Sky Summer" is a superb release that hopefully will open doors for them that they previously found closed shut. "Black Sky Summer" is an album that falls between the genre cracks, not quite stoner, not quite garage, not quite grunge and not quite punk yet nevertheless carrying within its grooves elements and essences of each. 
Check it out ....
 
© 2024 Frazer Jones

Friday 10 May 2024

SUNNATA - CHASING SHADOWS ..... review


Desert Psychlist's ongoing love affair with the Polish underground scene is no secret in fact we will often dub something released by a band/artist from outside of Poland, whose music blends high levels of intensity and complexity with earth shaking heaviness, as having a "Polish flavour" Today we have no need to use that tag as the album we are reviewing today comes straight from the source. Sunnata, Szymon Ewertowski (guitar/vocals); Adrian Gadomski (guitar/vocals); Michal Dobrzanski (bass guitar) and Robert Ruszczyk (drums/percussion), hail from Warsaw and have since their 2014 debut "Climbing the Colossus" quickly evolved from being new boys on the block to being one of those bands whose albums are purchased unheard based just on the bands reputation. Sunnata have just released their fifth album "Chasing Shadows" and if you are one of those who threw your money at it before hearing a single note believe us when we say that you have spent your money wisely.

 If the deeply atmospheric opening number "Chimera" does not make you feel like you have stumbled into a hidden temple where some deeply religious ritual is being acted out then you really need to get your chakras realigned, its initial mantra like chants and eastern flavoured motifs, slowly evolving into a dervish like whirl of heaviness evokes images in the minds eye not too dissimilar to those portrayed in the temple scenes of the movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom". Alt-metal/grunge has always been an element Sunnata have had no problem incorporating into their music and for next song "Torn" Sunnata bring that element of their sound to the fore, the band utilising not only the genres quiet/loud/quiet dynamics, slurred guitar tones and off-kilter vocal harmonies but also that grainy slightly murky vibe that has long been associated with the genre, albeit here possessing a more doomic and dank undercurrent. In Sunnata's world atmosphere is king and the king is in full attendance for the beautiful but brief "At Dusk (Interlude)" a delicious mood piece built around shimmering guitar arpeggios and sparse but effective bass. The following two songs "Wishbone" and "Saviours Raft"  are at totally different ends of  the heavy spectrum with the former a shamanic flavoured doomic romp and the latter an off-centred blend of textured post-metal, caustic heavy sludge and grungy doom. Next is "Adrift (Reprise)" a very short but highly enjoyable interlude piece with an Alice In Chains like flavour which is quickly followed by "Tide"  a song that could easily be considered a sister piece to opening number "Chimera" if it were not for its more wordy lyrical content, its use of percussion to create a sound not unlike that of dripping water is a stroke of genius. A mix of chiming and surf like guitar tones twinned with a groove that is partly tribal and partly indie/gothic gives next track "Hungry" a weirdly post-punk(ish) feel especially when combined with the semi-goth flavoured vocals that decorate it. "Through the Abyss (Interlude)", another heavily atmospheric mood piece, gives us just enough time to catch our breaths before Sunnata snatch them away again with the excellent "The Sleeper" a song that shifts from sinister and menacing to manic and raging in a very short space of time, the middle section connecting these emotions an unsettling and mind-frying wall of droning guitar textures. Final track "Like cogs in a wheel, we're trapped between waves of distorted time"  sees Sunnata closing out with an instrumental that feels like an extension of all the ideas the band have previously visited on the albums various interludes, a throbbing, sometimes shimmering, piece that comes over like a mix of early The Cure goth and British trip-hop, wonderfully weird and strangely hypnotic.


Devotees of Sunnata will already know that the band music does not fall easily into a category, the sound these guys make together is a carefully considered blend of everything from extreme heaviness to eastern exotica that touches on a myriad of other elements in between. The bands new album "Chasing Shadows" follows much the same path as the albums that proceeded it but yet at at the same time is different and that difference comes down the more expansive nature of its songs. Define "expansive" we hear you ask, its a good question and the answer is a simple one, and that answer is everything you have loved about the bands previous work, the broad soundscapes the heaviness and the feeling of shamanic spirituality are all here but so much broader, heavier and more spiritual.
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Thursday 9 May 2024

SUN MOON HOLY CULT ~ SUN MOON HOLY CULT .... review


Church of Misery, Boris, Eternal Elysium, Bahboon, Hebi Katana, the list of Japanese doom and stoner orientated bands gracing Desert Psychlist's music collection is growing and today we get to add another to that list in the shape of Tokyo's Sun Moon Holy Cult an outfit who number among their influences, along with the given Black Sabbath, Witchfinder General, Acid King and Belzebong. The band are no copyists however, they use their influences to forge their own sound, a sound that is rooted in stoner doom but not restricted by it, the band using the slow low and heavy dynamics of the genre as a platform from which to launch off into cosmic, acid drenched jams helped along the way by unique and distinctive vocals, all of which you will discover for yourselves via their self-titled debut "Sun Moon Holy Cult"


Things start of impressively heavy with "I Cut Your Throat" its opening salvo of crunching riffage, cellar level bass and thundering drums suggesting a more proto-dynamic until that is the vocals come in and things drop down into a more sedate pace with the vocalist telling us in mournful accented tones that she would like to "make a wish and cut your throat". The second half of the song sees the band flexing their muscles on a deliciously scuzzed out proto-doom jam that sees keyboards and guitars vying for dominance over a backdrop of pummelling percussion and growling bass. "Savoordoom" takes the doomic acidity of the previous songs second half and raises it up a notch or three this time accompanied by a monotonic mantra like vocal that we can only assume is sang in the bands native tongue, the band taking things to an even loftier level of acidic doomic dankness after those vocals subside. Third song  "Mystic River" has a more traditional rock feel to it, still residing very much in the doom canon but with more melodic vocals and a tight four to the floor feel, a feel enhanced by some nice guitar hooks and bluesy solos. Sun Moon Holy Cult bring things to a close with "Out of the Dark" a song that sees the band putting all their dooms in one basket, toying with aspects of proto, stoner and traditional doom while still retaining that acid/scuzz element that has informed all the albums previous songs up until this point and even getting a little funky in places.


Unique and untamed vocals fronting unique and untamed doom is the best way to describe what you will hear when spinning Sun Moon Holy Cult's self-titled debut, it is not a perfect album by any means but perfection is often a breeding ground for blandness and sterility and you won't find either on this album.
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones

Wednesday 8 May 2024

MARAGDA ~ TYRANTS .... review


Spain's Maragda are a bit of an enigma, the band, Marçal Itarte (bass/vocals); Guilem Tora (guitar/backing vocals) and Xavi Pasqual (drums), jam a groove that does not quite fit into any of the usual boxes we at Desert Psychlist tend to fall back on when attempting to describe music to our readers. The bands sound is at times heavy and blustering, it is sometimes complex and convoluted and on occasions it wanders into areas that could be described as commercial and pop-like. Alternative is a term we guess fits Maragda's music the best but then "alternative" these days is associated with grunge and Maragda's music is certainly not what you could consider "grungy". The words that come most to mind while listening to the bands stunning new album "Tyrants" (Spinda Records) are uplifting, bright and fresh, words not often seen on a site like Desert Psychlist where dankness and darkness are usually king, but they are the words we are going to stand by in regard to this peach of an album.


Opening/title track "Tyrants" opens with heavy prog like flourishes then settles down into a space-like gallop over which melodic lead vocals trade off with lilting harmonies. The musicianship here is other level with Tora and Pasqual laying down a barrage of infectious groove for Itarte to decorate with an array of crunchy and swirly guitar work. Itarte introduces next track "Skirmish" with effect drenched guitar before the rest of the band come in on a stoner(ish) groove in support of the vocals which are again melodic and lilting. "Endless" follows and begins quaint, fragile and easy on the ear but then shits up a gear into a juddering, stuttering hard rock romp that routinely goes off piste into unexpected territories. Those of advanced years may hear elements of bands like The Byrds and early Yes in the vocals that decorate "My Only Link" while those of more tender years might make comparisons with some of the less blackened and more accessible elements of Chicago's Huntsmen, whether you are in the former camp or the latter there is no denying the infectiousness of this song and the feelings of joie de vivre its groove evokes. If it were not for its bubbling guitar effects and occasional dives into psychedelic mayhem then next track "Sunset Room" would make a quite acceptable pop song while "The Singing Mountain" with its off centred musical structures and moments of vocal weirdness, although sounding very good to our ears, is anything but radio friendly. "Godspeed" is a slice of  feel good rock'n'roll with a great vocal melody, stinging guitar solos and groove easy to tap a foot to that leads us nicely into final number "Loose" a song that in its initial stages boasts a slight country/Americana feel that is again not dissimilar to the aforementioned Huntsmen in their lighter moments. It has to be said that the vocals throughout this album have been exceptional but it is the instrumental middle section and closing jam that wins the day on this song, Pasqual and Tora anchoring things to the ground with industrious drumming and bouncy low bubbling bass while Itarte splits the skies asunder with fractured chord voicings and soaring solos, a truly mind blowing finale to truly exceptional album.


Maragda's "Tyrants" is a product of outstanding musicianship and a true understanding of melody, it is an album of music that lightly touches base with prog, stoner rock and metal but also owes a debt to garage rock, early psych and pop, an album that is more "uplifting" than a hot air balloon, "brighter" than a sunbeam and "fresher" than a sea breeze.
Check it out ....
 
© 2024 Frazer Jones

Tuesday 7 May 2024

SPACESLUG ~ OUT OF WATER .... review


Poland's SpaceslugBartosz Janik (guitars/vocals); Jan Rutka (bass/vocals) and Kamil Ziółkowski (drums/vocals), have not put a foot wrong since the release of their debut  album "Lemanis", they are one of those rare bands who constantly deliver whether it be a full album, a one off track ("Event Horizon") or an appearance on a split album ("4 Way Split"). This year (2024) that delivery takes the form of an EP going by the name of "Out of Water" (Electric Witch Mountain Recordings), a release that sees Spaceslug cementing their place in the upper echelon of the Polish underground alongside artists like Dopelord, Weedpecker and Sunnata.


The opening song "Tears Of Antimatter" showcases Spaceslug's subtler take on heaviness, balancing crushing segments with moments of languor and restraint both musically and vocally with the songs thought-provoking lyrics delivered in a blend of guttural harshness and smooth melodic harmonies that are quite different in texture from other bands utilizing those same vocal dynamics. Janik's resonant circular guitar refrains are the force driving following track "Arise The Sun" merging with Rutka's deep rumbling bass lines and Ziółkowski's solid tight and busy drumming to create an atmosphere that is both dense and expansive, an atmospheric further enhanced by those superbly crafted vocal harmonies mentioned earlier and the outstanding musicianship of each of the participants involved.. Title track "Out Of Water" finds Janik utilizing his pedal board to add a fittingly liquid tone to his guitar work which is supported by Rutka and Ziółkowski laying down a solid tight bass and drum groove, a groove once again topped by a delicate mix of wafting lead and lilting vocal harmonies. "Delusions" sees Spaceslug jamming a more intense sound that, despite also featuring a delicious lysergic tinted middle section, is characterized by its crunchier guitar tones and more thunderous drumming. Final song "In Serenity" boasts an undulating dynamic, a dynamic that is at times soaring and uplifting at others melancholic and introspective, its cleverly arranged and superbly executed vocal interplay taking its overall sonic impact to a whole other level of enjoyable..


Polish underground bands are known world wide for delivering off the scale levels of intensity, complexity and heaviness and Spaceslug are no shrinking violets in those departments, however the complexity, intensity and heaviness Spaceslug bring to the table with "Out Of Water" is of the measured variety, there is a deftness of touch to the heaviness on this album that does not so much pin you to the wall as invite you to stand against that wall and allow the music to flow over you.
Check it out .... 

© 2024 Frazer Jones