Sunday, 17 December 2017

SONS OF NIBIRU ~ HELLSPIRIT ... review


Well as plans go Desert Psychlist's seemed a good one, cease from any more reviews for the month and then just put out our "Best Of 2017" and take a well earned rest, but that plan was well and truly scuppered by a release that just screamed "review me" and so here we are again sitting in front of a PC, earphones on and fingers hovering over a keyboard.


 The album that caused this change of mind and shattered any hope of a festive season break comes from a trio hailing from Rzesow, Poland going by the name of Sons of Nibiru, Khshemo (bass/vocals), Quoda (guitars) and Caspah (drums), who have just released their debut "Hellspirit" (Green Plague Records)


Beginning with the sounds of an Aboriginal instrument (digeridoo) backed by shards of dissonant chords and hand hit percussion ("The Signal") may not be the indicator you the listener are looking for when checking out something tagged as psychedelic stoner metal but it does point to the fact that Sons of Nibiru are not a band prepared to adhere to those rules set out by genre and expectation. "Arrival" follows a similar path to "The Signal" but this time moves into more electrified territory with Caspah moving back to his full kit and locking in with Khshemo's big growling bass, behind Quoda's exquisite guitar colourings, to drive an atmospheric instrumental that builds layer by layer, unwrapping little sonic delights as it grows. "Peachcraft" muddies up the waters by moving into a grumbling heavy stoner groove with Khshemo's bass the dominant force, his low, low bass rumbling like an earthquake ready to split the ground asunder and is superbly backed by Caspah's busy percussion and Quoda's soaring solo's and textured licks and fills. Vocals raise their heads for the first time here and are pitched slightly monotonic and Gregorian giving the song an almost monastic, spiritual feel. "Pulsar" follows and finds the band experimenting with every effect and trick in the book to create a stunning soundscape of spacial ambience. "Hellspirit" brings things back to Earth with a song that, for this reviewer, recalls the heavier "Barrel of a Gun" era of Depeche Mode but with Sons of Nibiru taking the song off on tangents that even the most drug addled Mode would baulk from travelling to. "The Journey" sees the band getting expansive and a little cinematic with Quoda leading from the front with some truly scorching lead work ably supported by Khshemo's ever present grizzly bass and Caspah's sympathetic rhythms. Sons of Nibiru finish things in grand style with their final song "Star Sailors" an epic tome that pulls all those threads explored in the albums previous songs and weaves them into one massive and awe inspiring musical tapestry.


"Hellspirit" is a stunning album that defies all the usual tags and labels we tend to lump music into thanks to its diverse nature and also thanks to the bravery of a band not prepared to compromise their musical vision and ideals.
Check it out .....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 15 December 2017

BITCHCRAFT ~ BITCHCRAFT ...review


Amazing what a difference a few years can make when it comes to a bands musical direction and evolution, it's been nearly two years since Poland's Bitchcraft released "Bitchcraft EP" and in that time the band have embraced a whole new approach to their musical craft, not in a drastic, complete alteration of their sound but in more subtle ways, the band slowing down their grooves a couple of notches and ramping up the atmospherics and heaviness to create a denser more intense musical experience, as can be witnessed on their first full length album "Bitchcraft".


Bitchcraft, with their new album, deliver four epic tomes, none of which could be in any shape or form come under the title of "happy music", that are cram packed full of intensity and darkness and are titled from and based around four films, "The Thing", "Big Trouble In Little China", "In The Mouth of Madness" and "Christine", directed by celebrated cult filmmaker John Carpenter. Basically "Bitchcraft" is a doom album but to just describe it us such would be doing the band and the album a disservice as there are elements of drone, prog and psych dynamics to be found scattered in and around these massive tomes if you take the time to dig deep enough. Vocalist Pawel is in possession of a strong distinctive voice and she uses it to great effect soaring above the slow, dank riffs and pounding rhythms provided by her fellow band members, her powerful but slightly monochrome tones bringing an extra level of intensity to the already quite dark and intense musical grooves surrounding them. If there is a criticism to be levelled at "Bitchcraft" it is that there are occasions where maybe a little creative editing may have been applied and that one or two songs may just overstay their welcome but that's a minor quibble and doesn't detract from their overall impact.


On the whole "Bitchcraft" is a solid, enjoyable album from a band evolving at their own pace and trying find their own sound and niche in this place we call the "underground".
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 14 December 2017

SMOKE HEALER ~ HIGHWAY MEETS THE SKY ... review


There seem to be a new genre on the block, or so Kentucky's Smoke Healer would have you believe, and that genre is "smoked metal" funny thing is, so far, there only seems to be one exponentDan Ryan (Vocals),Chris Brown (Guitar), Jake Stone (Guitar), Brooke Smith (Bass) and Mike Hamm (Percussion) are Smoke Healer a band who have accrued a small but dedicated following since the release of their self-titled debut "Smoke Healer" in 2015.The band are hoping to enlarge on that following with the release of their latest offering "Highway Meets The Sky".




Those nay-sayers who have a down on 70's inspired hard rock and metal (yes they do exist) may need to stop reading now as "Highway Meets The Sky" is an album unabashed and unashamed to strut its 70's credentials. Those that stick around though might find themselves reading about a little gem that although influenced by the past is not defined by it. Smoke Healer are a band who write songs, not vehicles for riffs, though there are plenty to be found here, good old fashioned songs with intro's, verses, choruses, bridges, and outros and into these unfashionable song structures the band inject swagger, swing and attitude as well as some damn fine musicianship. To say that these songs rock would be an understatement, from first track "Fungustus Villa" through to the Tarantino inspired last track "Death Proof (Hell On Wheels)" Smoke Healer propel you on journeys that take in hard rock bluster, stoner fuzz and old school metal all sprinkled with a liberal dose of South Eastern swagger. Thick riffage, soaring solo's, galloping bass lines and punchy percussion are all topped off by clean, clear vocals that are imbued with just the right amount of Kentuckian grit and gravel to give the six songs that make up "Highway Meets The Sky" a real organic feel, something that can't be described in words but can certainly be felt through the music.


"Highway Meets The Sky" is an excellent release that hopefully will see a few more of those who appreciate a good groove flocking to their flag. If your looking for a sound occupying a middle ground pitched somewhere between Greece's Planet of Zeus and Maryland's Clutch then you can't go wrong with Smoke Healer.
Check 'em out .....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

ELECTRIC AGE ~ SLEEP OF THE SILENT KING ..... review


Keeping your finger on the pulse of today's underground scene is never easy and with so much great music constantly bombarding you from every angle it is inevitable that some manage to slip by you. Today's review dates back to February of this year (2017) and comes from one such band who slipped past Desert Psychlist's elaborate network of traps and snares, a band from Louisiana going by the name of Electric Age, Shawn Tucker (Lead Vocals, Guitar, Bass), J Ogle (Guitar, Bass, Vocals) and Kelly Davis (Drums, Vocal), who on that date released their debut album "Sleep of the Silent King"




"Sleep of the Silent King" begins with "The Threshold" an instrumental that starts with genteel acoustic guitars picking atmospheric, almost medieval motifs then goes all  electric and moves into an anthemic groove that would not sound out of place as the soundtrack to some Game of Thrones type TV show. At this time you may be asking yourself why is this gracing the pages of Desert Psychlist, a blog specialising in raucous rhythms  and low slung riffage, but all is revealed as next track "Shepherd and the Raven" makes itself heard and you, the listener, are thrown into a world of southern tinted Thin Lizzy-esque guitar groove fronted by cool clean vocal melodies pushed hard by a solid bass and drum combination. Although born in the USA's Deepest South and played by three guys who look like they've been raised on grits and Southern Comfort there are parts of Electric Age's overall groove that has an undeniable Britishness, the band weaving the hard rock bluster of bands like the aforementioned Thin Lizzy and UFO with the swagger and strut we have come to expect from those bands of a more southern persuasion. "Sleep of the Silent King" is not all riff 'n'roll though and the band are not averse to throwing in a nicely paced power ballad as with the emotive "Silent King" or even getting a little mellow and prog-ish as on "Black Galleons" which has more than a little of 80's cult icons Ashbury to it's sonic attack (check out their "Endless Skies" album for comparison).


All in all "Sleep of the Silent King" is a solid, well balanced and highly enjoyable album filled with little twists and turns, nuances and delights that will keep you coming back to it time and time again.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 10 December 2017

SHADOW WITCH ~ DISCIPLES OF THE CROW ...... review


Sometimes a band appears and manages to cut a swathe through all the bullshit of genres and sub-genres by just delivering good old fashioned, well structured, superbly written and arranged rock songs and in doing so manages to unite fans of all the genres of metal and rock under one flag.  Shadow Witch, from Kingston, New York, are one such band, the collective of David Pannullo (bass), Doug "Beans" Thompson (drums), Earl Walker Lundy (vocals, mellotron, samples) and Jeremy H. Hall (guitars) have created ,through a combination of sheer hard work and determination and after only one previous album "Sun Killer", an unprecedented air of anticipation among the underground rock community for where their next album may take them. Well with the release (December 15th 2017) of "Disciples of the Crow" ( Salt of the Earth Records) we can now find out!


"Love Could Be Like This" kicks things off and finds Shadow Witch delivering the goods with a song that is a little bit galloping NWOBHM, a little bit soulful hard rock and a whole lot enjoyable. "Older than emeralds am I, darker than shadows at night" sings the vocalist over a backdrop of insistent rolling rhythms and a mixture of crunching powerchords and neo-classical shredding, the band coming together to hit a perfect balance between that which is heavy and that which is soulful . The song exemplifies superbly Shadow Witch's "modus operandi" of serving up grooves that have the ability to traverse genres, like Sweden's Spiritual Beggars did, and continue to do, Shadow Witch fill that void between fuzzy stoner/hard rock and traditional heavy metal with the band hitting a groove on songs like "Cruel","Stranger Skies" and "Beneath The Veil" that, in places, could be described as something akin to Iron Maiden jamming with (Mark III) Deep Purple. This is not to say Shadow Witch are unoriginal or retro just that they use what's available from both the past and present to create something new yet still pleasingly familiar, utilising what has gone before with what is here and now to the utmost effect.



Not wishing to go over old ground but the description that Desert Psychlist gave when reviewing Shadow Witch's last opus "Sun Killer", of them being a band who encompass all aspects of  rock's vast cannon, once again rings loud and clear throughout every one of the eight gloriously addictive songs on "Disciples of the Crow", this is an album you truly MUST...check out....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Big thanks to Leanne Ridgeway at Mettle Media PR for promo materials

Saturday, 9 December 2017

DEADLY VIPERS ~ FUELTRONAUT .... review


Deadly Vipers, a quartet hailing from Perpignan, France consisting of  Fred (vocals), David(guitar), Thomas (bass) and Vincent (drums), deal in grooves of no nonsense rock'n'roll that are two parts stoner/desert fuzz, one part raucous hard rock and one part bluesy classic rock all parts of which can be heard on the band's debut album "Fueltronaut"


The band kick things off with a "Fuel Prophecy", a brief instrumental built around crunching riffage and rolling percussion, then plough straight into "Universe" a sweaty hi-octane fuzz fest that has more than a whiff of the Truckfighters testosterone fuelled attack about it. This track is a monster and it's full on assault on the senses may have fuelled a few of the Kyuss/Truckfighters comparisons that Desert Psychlist had read prior to this review but there is far more to Deadly Vipers than just a kicking groove and a fuzzy riff. Dig a little deeper into "Fueltronaut" and among the fuzz and distortion you will start coming across little touches of classic rock texturing and dynamics as on he excellent "The Prey Goes On" where the fuzz subsides for a moment and the band drops briefly into a more laid back rock groove before erupting again into its initial raucous refrain or on the Bad Company/Free like "Stalker" where the vocalist  does a sterling job of conveying the songs emotions with a superb range of vocal pyrotechnics, all bluesy crooning one minute full on rock god roar the next.



The vocalist is ably supported throughout the album by a strong rhythm section with the drums and bass creating a series of strong foundations for the guitarist to overlay with big crunching chords and well chosen solo's ,the quartet coming together as a whole to create an overall sound that although not totally unique and original is nonetheless highly enjoyable.
Check it out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 7 December 2017

OMEGA SUN ~ OPIUM FOR THE MASSES ... review


Slovenia might not yet be one of the "go to" countries for underground music but there is a small yet thriving scene taking shape in the Central European republic. One band attempting to break out of that scene and make a name for themselves further afield are Medo..,Seba..and Aris..otherwise known as Omega Sun, a trio from Koper who have just released their debut album "Opium For The Masses"


Although sitting quite comfortably in stoner/desert territory, due to its heavily fuzzed guitar tones and throbbing, muscular rhythmic grooves, there is nonetheless an air of old school classic/hard rock to be found swirling over and around the six songs that make up "Opium For The Masses" thanks in part (a large part) to its strong clean vocal attack. Bassist/vocalist Medo harnesses a vocal tone not dissimilar to that of Kyuss front man John Garcia and combines it with the feral power of late Soundgarden/Audioslave's Chris Cornell ,this when combined with his thunderous bass lines,Seba's solid, insistent percussion and Aris' superb deep toned guitar riffs and solo's, makes for a compelling mix that although owing a huge debt to those dusty grooves born in the deserts of the USA has a charm and uniqueness all of its own.


If you like your grooves Kyuss-like with a touch of 70/80's hard rock vocal swagger then you can't go far wrong by taking "Opium For The Masses" for a spin.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

SUN DANCE ~ MANITOU ... revew


Hardly has Desert Psychlist finished reviewing one Polish band before another one comes knocking at the door demanding our attention and on the strength of their twisted stoner metal grooves ,,,getting that attention! Sun Dance hail from Krakow, Poland and consist of Jan Gajewski (vocals), Jacek Szczepan (guitar), Adam Gajewski (guitar), Kacper Półchłopek (bass) and Jakub Tokarz (drums), five guys who first came to our attention with their 2014 debut EP "Valley of Fears" a release that this reviewer described on their Bandcamp page as sounding like "Rage Against The Machine meets Down". This year the band return with "Manitou" (releases 10th December 2017) an album that, although still retaining faint traces of the metallic hip-hoppery that informed their first release, is an album that leans slightly more towards the heavier end of the stoner/psych spectrum.

Sun Dance, with "Manitou", deliver a true masterclass in how to evolve as a band, the slightly "street vibe" the band adopted on "Valley of Fears" has taken a back seat on this release and been replaced by a more forceful stoner feel, still as metallic but with a stronger focus on dynamics and texture. The slightly rap-like meter of the vocals on the bands previous work, although good, nonetheless had an air of gimmickry about them, here though they have been jettisoned for a more straightforward vocal approach with a mixture of strong powerful clean and throaty harsh tones utilised to superb effect. Musically the band are on top of their game executing scorching riffs and solo's over a diverse array of rhythmic patterns, in places even getting a little bluesy and anthemic ("Join The Circle") and lysergic ("Into The Sky"), mixing these elements up with huge swathes of fuzz and distortion and enhancing them with those, already mentioned, big vocal tones.


In a year that has seen the likes of Egypt, Elder, Greenbeard and many more make triumphant returns to our listening posts of choice the average stoner/metalhead may find him/herself a little a overwhelmed and battle wearied by the constant waves of quality underground music 2017 has seen fit to throw their way. Well its not over yet so don't finish those best of year lists yet, 2017 is a year that keeps on giving and Sun Dance's "Manitou" is vying for a place on those lists
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Monday, 4 December 2017

OCTOPUSSY ~ DWARFS & GIANTS .... review


"If music be the food of love, play on" wrote Shakespeare and although not wanting to disagree with him if the 16th century playwright had replaced the word "love" with "life" I think he may have been a little nearer to the mark. Music is the soundtrack to our lives whether it be cheesy pop, bangin' dance beats or crunching powerchords we are surrounded by it, blaring out of radio's in car's, factory's and shop's, played on phones. I-pods, like death it's one of life's constants. Music can be emotional, inspirational and all stops in-between, what music fan has not had that shiver down the spine-moment when hearing something that hits that sweet spot just right? Where are you going with this I hear you ask, well Desert Psychlist recently experienced one of those rare moments while listening to Polish riffonauts Octopussy's latest release "Dwarfs & Giants"


As the stoner/desert scene has developed it has increasingly taken on board elements from those other genres surrounding it, old Sabbath riffs, tuned down and soaked in swathes of fuzz, although still enjoyable, are no longer enough to make a band stand out from the rest of the herd. Octopussy, Jan Babiński (vocals), Konrad Ciesielski (drums),  Piotr Danielewicz (guitars), Michał Banasik (guitars), Marcin Bąkowski (bass guitar) and Michał Koziorowski (keys), address this dilemma by adding into their grooves a little edgy southern swagger and elements of soulful funky swing, so much so that there are songs on "Dwarfs & Giants" it would not be hard to actually dance to. The blues however remains the driving force at the core of Octopussy's sonic assault and although this bands take on those delta grooves are a little more twisted and lysergic than those of your standard blues rock band they are nevertheless from the same source. From the soulful stoner fuzz of opener "Birdman" through to the epic closer "Future Western" "Dwarfs & Giants" is an album full of clever twists and turns with swathes of keyboard texturing weaved around a mixture of swirling guitar solo's, funky chords and ,crunching riffs pushed by growling bass and solid punchy percussion all overlaid with ultra-cool, strong clean vocals.


If you like your grooves a little sandy and Kyuss-like but are also partial to some keyboard soaked soulful funkiness à la Mark III Deep Purple and don't mind a bit of Lynyrd Skynyrd style Southern swagger liberally sprinkled about then "Dwarfs & Giants" is an album you should...
Check out.....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

PILLARS ~ PYRES AND GALLOWS ...review


Sometimes a band releases an album or EP through a site like Bandcamp only to find it gathering dust in the lower reaches of that sites vast catalogue of artist and bands, however sometimes that same album gets picked up by an independent record company a while later and is given a second chance. This was the scenario with French doomsters PillarsDisaster (bass), Djé (guitars). JJ (drums) and Klem (vocals), who released their EP "Pyres and Gallows" through Bandcamp in April 2016 only for it to slip quietly under the radar of many of the scenes bloggers, podcasters and doom fans, thankfully this year Seeing Red Records have seen fit to give the EP another spot in the twilight by re-releasing it as a limited edition hand numbered  cassette.


"Pyres and Gallows" is essentially a doom album, not so much the doom of the present with its guttural growls (although those tones are are touched on) and bass strings tuned so low they could be classed a tripping hazard but more the coffin creaking, sacrificial altar, old school doom once the territory of bands like Candlemass and Lord Vicar. This is not to say "Pyres and Gallows" is a throwback to another era, far from it, there is plenty about "Pyres and Gallows" that is bang up to date and "current" but the band  balance these more "modern" elements out with more than a  smattering of old school doom atmospherics and proto-doom dynamics and groove. Black Sabbath are usually the yardstick by which we judge anything with even a hint of proto-doom classification but Pillars veer more towards the Electric Wizard end of that spectrum with songs like "Green Magik Ritual" and "Dirty Whoreshippers" having a much more visceral attack than anything Ozzy & Co ever came close to, thick layers of grainy distortion and fuzz pushed hard by growling bass and powerful percussion all topped off with a mixture of strong classic doom and harsher "modern" doom vocal tones.


All in all "Pyres and Gallows" is a coming together of some of doom's sub-genres cleverly stitched together so that the join is virtually invisible, old and new blended and mixed together to create a sound that is familiar and comforting yet still fresh and challenging.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 25 November 2017

MOTHER MARS ~ ON LUNAR HIGHLANDS ...review


Australia, that land filled with everything that wants to  sting,bite, kick and eat you is also a land brimming over with untapped musical talent, talent that slowly but surely is, through sites like Bandcamp, ReverbNation, Spotify and the like, making its presence felt internationally especially in the underground rock scene. Comacozer, Dr Colossus, Motherslug and Holy Serpent are just a few of a vast array of new and exciting bands garnering attention outside of their native shores. One band who have been at the forefront of this antipodean influx since their inception are Sydney's Mother Mars, a trio consisting of Frank Attard (drums, percussion, Clavinet, synth), Paul Attard (guitar, bass, synth, banjo-mandolin, piano, organ) and Dave Schembri (vocals, harmonica, mellow vibes), who have been releasing a steady stream of well received albums and EP's since their formation back in the early 00's. After what seems to be a lengthy absence (from our ears anyway) the band are back with a new album "On Lunar Highlands" (releases December 06 on Pepper Shaker Records).


Those out there expecting the Kyuss/Dozer type stoner/desert grooves the band first brought to our ears with their debut "Take The Ride" or even the slightly heavier doom tinted space and psych that permeated their last full album "Steam Machine Museum" might be surprised by some of the directions taken on "On Lunar Highlands", though it would be fair to say there is plenty of both still to be found among the eleven songs on offer. Maturity is the word that first pops to mind while listening to Mother Mars new opus, if the bands earlier output could be visualised as a youth kicking against the rails and partying all week then "On Lunar Highlands" is that same youth finding his place in the world and only partying at weekends This more considered, mature approach combined with the bands increasingly impressive instrumental prowess and the bands willingness to occasionally throw away the rule book and step into unknown gives the songs on "On Lunar Highlands" an added level of depth an intensity that pays huge dividends right throughout the album and makes for a delightfully fulfilling and totally enjoyable listen.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 23 November 2017

LES LEKIN ~ DIED WITH FEAR ..... review


Desert Psychlist doesn't know if its something in the water or just that there is an international shortage of vocalists around at the moment but there seem to be a real glut of instrumental albums being released of late. Latest instrumental opus to grace our ears is "Died With Fear" an album that comes from a band who have graced these pages before, a trio from Salzburg, Austria going by the name of Les Lekin.


"Died With Fear" follows very much in the same vein as the bands previous outing "All Black Rainbow Moon" with swirling guitar motifs and solo's soaring over backdrops of intricate fluid bass lines and complex rhythmic patterns. Where "Died With Fear" differs from its predecessor however is in it's dynamics, where "All Black Rainbow Moon" utilised a heavier, slightly stoner-ish approach the new album comes from a more fluid, lysergic place with the grooves laid behind those soaring solo's and motif's seemingly feeling a little less harsh, a touch less abrasive. This is not to say Les Lekin have lost their edge, far from it, there are sections where the engine room of Beat B (bass) and Kerstin W (drums) could give even the heaviest, most extreme metal rhythm sections a run for their money, especially on opener "Orca" and the epic closer "Morph". It is however on the bands more psychedelic forays, like "Inert" and "Vast", that this more restrained and considerate approach pays its biggest dividends, the bassist and drummer easing of the gas in places to allow guitarist Peter G. to rend the air with his blistering solo's, the G man channelling the feel of David Gilmour, the technical panache of Jimi Hendrix and the lysergic attack of Earthless' Isaiah Mitchell through his considerably impressive fretwork, filling the spaces Beat B and Kerstin W leave with a flurry of well chosen notes, arpeggios and chords.


Heady, trippy and with a satisfying crunch at its core "Died With Fear" is an amazing collection of instrumental pieces that should not only appeal to those that like their music a little on the psychedelic side but also those who like a little bite in their grooves.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

SIN ~ MOONRISE ..review


We tend to wax lyrical about Sweden's stoner doom scene, Greece's raucous forays into southern tinted hard rock and the burgeoning psych coming from South American countries like Brazil. Chile and Argentina yet there are plenty more countries quietly producing quality underground rock that are rarely mentioned. One of these countries is France, the home of romance and fine dining has, over the last few years, been churning out a steady stream of quality music with bands like Glowsun, Mars Red Sky and just lately The Necromancers making significant splashes in the swimming pool of the international underground scene. The latest band, hoping to follow in those footsteps, is SIN a trio from Rennes, France consisting of Gus Paulhan (guitar/vocals). Célestin "Toutouille" Hérault (bass /backing vocals) and  Flavien Gouault (drums / backing vocals) who have just recently released their debut EP "Moonrise"


So what do you get for your money? Well for starters there is only three tracks but at 09:16, 06: 33 and 17:21 respectively you get a fair return for your hard earned dollar. First track "Church" is a doom tinted, fuzz drenched riff-fest driven by ferocious rhythms over which a mixture of clean solo and harmonised vocals are delivered. The song goes through a series of subtle shifts in tempo and time taking in elements of raucous desert rock, crunching doomic atmospherics and even a little lysergic texturing on the way. "Bad Surprise" follows and begins with a stuttering stop/start guitar refrain before falling into a slightly funky grunge-ish groove, fragmented by moments of gnarly fuzz, coated in a similarly toned vocal melody that has a slight Alice In Chains type vibe. "The Sun" closes "Moonrise", an atmospheric tome of epic proportions that meanders through a myriad of differing musical soundscapes over its lengthy duration climbing to soaring fuzz drenched heights one minute, descending into laid back lysergic ambience the next yet managing to retain its focus throughout. Suprisingly, and given that SIN are a heavier band, Desert Psychlist was reminded, in places during this song, of British melodic prog rockers Wishbone Ash, not so much by the musical grooves on offer but by the sometimes prog/folk-like tones of the songs vocal harmonies.


Swathes of grainy warm fuzz, a strong lead vocal backed up with strong harmonies supported by booming bass lines and dynamic percussion, "Moonrise" is a stunning debut from a band with a promising future in front of them.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

GALACTIC GULAG ~ TO THE STARS BY HARD WAYS .... review


Space seems to be the new black lately, so many bands are turning to the vast vacuum of the Cosmos for their themes, concepts and inspiration, both lyrically and musically. Lyrics however are not a concern for Brazilian psychonauts Galactic GulagCésar Silva (drums), Gabriel Dunke (bass), Breno Xavier (rhythm guitar) and Pablo Dias (lead guitar), the four piece band from Natal prefering to keep their cosmic grooves (mainly) instrumental as can be witnessed when spinning the bands debut full length album "To The Stars By Hard Ways".


First track "Home" opens with Xavier chopping out a heavily effect laden guitar refrain that is gradually joined by the Dunke's bass and Silva's drums, slowly and subtly gaining in momentum until exploding in a gnarly stoner groove that heralds the entrance of Dias on lead guitar. Dias makes the most of his moments in the spotlight laying out a series of blistering solo's that run the full gamut of feel drenched and bluesy to technical and neo-classical, filling the spaces left by the rest of the band with wave upon wave of textured guitar colouring. This is what Galactic Gulag are all about, the bands penchant for delivering diverse rhythmic patterns layered with crunching riffage and searing solo's is stretched over five songs of scintillating space themed psych boasting titles like "Escape From Planet Gulag", "Space -Time Singularity" and "Eta Orianis" with only "Hollow Moon", a growling heavy rocker that briefly veers into funkier territories (thanks to a scorching sax contribution from guest Isaque Gurgel), falling under nine minutes.


South America is fast growing a reputation as a go to place for blistering instrumental heavy psych and Galactic Gulag's "To The Stars By Hard Ways" enhances that reputation ten fold!
Check it out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 19 November 2017

BIG FAT LUKUM ~ NELSON MANDALA .... review


Belgium's Big Fat LukumRoye (drums), Dos (bass & vocals) and Greg (guitar & vocals), make a bold (but true) statement in the blurb section of their Bandcamp page stating "Listen to our music, our history doesn't matter much." and so with that in mind let's just get down to the basics concerning their new album "Nelson Mandala"


"Nelson Mandala" is a BIG album, not in terms of it's length or depth of its songs lyrical content but in its sonic impact, everything on "Nelson Mandala" sounds as if it was recorded with dials set to eleven and that includes the vocals. This full on approach to recording can sometimes backfire and the listener is left with a muddy sounding album with very little clarity but Big Fat Lukum have managed to avoid this trap thanks to a production that allows each instrument the space to breathe without compromising the bands overall sound and attack. Big Fat Lukum describe themselves as a sludge/stoner/heavy psych hybrid and never has a description sat so well on a bands collective shoulders, the trio utilising elements of stoner's raucous, choppy fuzz, sludge's rawer, heavier groove and heavy psych's instrumental freedom to inform their grooves and then overlaying them with a mixture of  gritty raw and throaty clean vocal tones. There is also a refreshing tongue in cheek sense of humour running through the six songs that make up "Nelson Mandala" a sense reflected in song titles like "Small Light Kebab", "Urban Paraplegic" and "Candy Crushes Your Mother", pulverisingly powerful tomes of stonerized sludge delivered with strength and intensity but also a mischievous twinkle in the eye and a knowing lop sided grin.


So in keeping with the bands wishes, lets not dwell on where they have come from or even where they may be going lets just live in the moment and enjoy "Nelson Mandala" for what it is, a damn good album from a damn good band
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones