Saturday 18 May 2024


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

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