Tuesday, 31 January 2017


Heavy Temple like to wrap their true identities in a cloak of mystery, referring to themselves in articles and interviews under the pseudonyms of High Priestess Nighthawk (vocals/bass), Arch Bishop Barghest (guitar) and SirenTempestas (drums). The trio from Philadelphia have been together since 2012 , gaining a gamut of converts with their live shows as well as releasing one of the best EP's of 2014 with their debut "Heavy Temple".
The band have just released their new album "Chassit" a four track conceptual piece based around horror/fantasy novelist Stephen King's "Dark Tower" saga.

"Chassit's" first track "Keys and Bones" opens with the eerie sound of a cello, mournful and bittersweet, before segueing into an occult type doom groove driven by a pummelling drum and bass patterns, crunching fuzz drenched riffage and coated in strong powerful female vocals. The songs strong Sabbath-esque vibe then shifts into overdrive and the band finish with  an up-tempo thrash paced instrumental section that sees guitarist Barghest laying down an addictive and deeply distorted circular refrain pushed hard by the rhythm section of drum and bass.
"Ursa Machina" begins life on a wave of dissonance and droning noise before shifting into a heavily fractured and distorted doom groove over which High Priestess Nighthawk intones/chants dark arcane lyrics. The band, as they did on the previous track, then shift through the gears and take the song into hyperdrive, the trio jamming a stoner doom refrain driven by Nighthawk's gnarly bass lines and Tempestas pounding percussion over which Barghest adds touches of Iommi-esque guitar colouring.
"Pink Glass" begins with the High Priestess Nighthawk laying down a grizzly upbeat bass motif accompanied by Tempestas driving percussion the pair then joined by Barghest's fuzz drenched guitar, the three musicians together creating a tumultuous groove of stonerized doom . At around the halfway mark this groove falls away to leave a lone bass motif sporadically joined by shimmering percussion and reverb soaked guitar over which the High Priestess mournfully croons her vocals then its all change once again and the band finish back where they started closing the song on a wave of warmly fuzzed stoner doom.
"In The Court Of The Bastard King" begins by jamming a stuttering stoner/desert groove over which low pitched banshee-like vocals are powerfully delivered, the song then moves through a series of both subtle and drastic time signatures with the band mixing Sabbath-esque  heavy rock refrains with those of a more Kyuss/Unida leaning before finishing the song in blaze of swirling heavy doom tinted psych glory.
You do not have to be a Stephen King fan to appreciate "Chassit", the four songs found here more than hold their own outside of their conceptual setting, dark and doom-ish with just a hint of occult rock colouring "Chassit" is an album that both "Dark Tower" fans and those who have never even read a book can enjoy.
Check it out .....

Friday, 27 January 2017

ORDOS ~ HOUSE OF THE DEAD ..... review

As their Bandcamp page blurb would have us believe Ordos, Emil (vocals), André (guitar), Gustav (guitar), Martin (bass) and Max (drums), from  Uppsala, Sweden, were born out of the demise of another band. If this is indeed true then the fates must take a well deserved bow as the resulting mix of heavy stoner doom, black-ish metal and brutal Swedish groove that can be heard on the bands second full length album "House of the Dead" (Moving Air Music)  is truly something to savour and be thankful for.

"The Infernal God" begins our journey around the "House of the Dead" with a stuttering circular single  guitar riff that is then joined by the drums, the two instruments playing off of each other before being joined by the rest of the band in a tumultuous eruption of  doomy groove populated by gnarly bass lines, thundering drums, soaring and crunching guitars and a mix of vocal stylings that stretch from malignant black metal chanting to harsh but clear sludge-like bellowed roaring and touching all bases in-between.
Title track "House of the Dead" is up next and bursts from the speakers on a heavily fuzzed uptempo stoner metal refrain before breaking down into an almost traditional doom groove with a gothic styled vocal melody sang over a mandolin-ish sounding guitar effect. The band then move the song seamlessly back into the songs initial groove with the vocal shifting into a mix of sludge- like throaty bellowing and clean but gritty stoner roaring, the songs lyrics welcoming the listener into what can only be described as a doomier twist on The Eagles "Hotel California" intoning the legend "Welcome to the House of the Dead, once your here... never leave again".
"Satan Venit" is the perfect vehicle for Ordos' new manifesto for taking their music into the darker realms and recesses and sees the band jamming crunchy circular guitar riffage over a pummelling backdrop of thunderous bass and drum rhythms.  The songs strong "blackish", fuzz heavy, stoner doom groove is interspersed with smoking hot guitar solos and coated in an mixture of vocal stylings that range from guttural to harsh  yet remain clear and intelligible throughout.
"II" finds Ordos discovering their mojo and hitting a doomy blues groove that boasts big powerful gritty but clean torch-like vocals soaring over swathes of heavily fuzzed guitars and powerful driving rhythms, the resulting groove coming across at times like a black metal Graveyard.
"Hounds of Hell" channels a little swirling Hawkwind-ish colouring beneath a grindingly heavy and totally addictive revolving guitar riff underpinned by gargantuan bass lines and tumultuous drumming. Vocals are mostly clean with the occasional sludgey roar thrown in for good measure and perfectly compliment the humongous heavy grooves laid beneath them, vocals and music coming together to create a raucous yet perfectly balanced whole.
"The Witch"  sees Ordos blending sub-genres with traditional doom grooves sitting side by side with those of its stoner cousin, the songs groove swinging back and forth between these two dynamics throughout. Gothic tinted vocal tones trade places with throaty bellows and Gregorian-type harmonies over a mixture of arpeggios,solo's and riffage from the two guitarists while beneath it all the bassist and drummer hold it all together like glue. Atmospheric and heavy in equal measure the song is a fitting finale to what is a very fine album.

"House of the Dead" sees Ordos moving on from the traditional stoner doom grooves that were the hallmark of their debut album "Ordos" by adding a darker and at times "blacker" edge  to their sound both musically and vocally, balancing an underlying brutality with touches of gentleness and beauty and finding a musical path that incorporates both
Check it out ....

Monday, 23 January 2017


Fungus Hill, Erik Sköld (guitar), Nils Mörtzell (drums), Gustav Orvefors (guitar/vocals), Tom Westerlund (bass) and Jenny Isaksson (vocals & percussion) are a five piece band from Umeå, Sweden specialising in hard rock/stoner grooves tinted in a blaze of psychedelic hues, four tracks of which can be herd on the bands debut EP "Creatures".

First track "Are You Dead" mixes snippets of recorded narrative with funky rhythmic desert grooves to create a trippy lysergic vibe that is further enhanced by sweetly delivered guitar colouring and superbly executed vocal melodies. "Beware Of Evil In The Sky" jams a groove that musically has its roots firmly planted in the classic rock of the 1970's  but lyrically has its head in the acid haziness of the late 1960's while "Evolution" sees Fungus Hill flexing their jazz chops in a song that just oozes class and one that sees Isaksson stepping up front and centre to handle the lead vocal duties, her sultry, smokey blues tones delivered Piaf-like over a backdrop of jazzy fusion grooves. Final track "Creatures" has the band hitting a  chugging  stoner groove into which they throw everything but the kitchen sink, catchy sing-a-along melodies swooping guitar solos', head noddingly incessant rhythms are delivered  with a joie-de vivre and exuberance that is breathtakingly refreshing.
Fungus Hill describe what they do as "psychedelic stoner rock" but when listening, to the four tracks that make up, the bands debut "Creatures", a better description  may be "stonerized psych rock" as the lysergic elements of the bands sound far outweigh those of the stoner rock ones.
Check 'em out .....

Friday, 20 January 2017


Greek riffmeisters Dope Default tweaked a few ears back in August 2015 when the Thessaloniki based band released their debut EP "Nuclear Honeymoon" an eclectic mix of hard rock crunch and grunge tinted stoner fuzz,.Fast forward a year and a few months and with a subtle change in musical direction Dope Default return with a brand new EP " Tales From The Wasteland".

Where "Nuclear Honeymoon" traded on Dope Default's love of Seattle flavoured alt/grunge and saw the band jamming grooves of  quiet, loud. quiet dynamics interspersed with desert fuzz, "Tales From The Wasteland" attacks from completely the opposite direction. The Alice In Chains/Stone Temple Pilots like grooves the band employed on their debut EP are still very much in evidence but are this time given a back seat with the stoner/desert fuzz of the bands other influences, Monster Magnet, QOTSA and Planet Zeus, taking over the driving seat. From the opening bars of first track "Atonement" it is fairly obvious the bands shift towards the harder, grittier end of underground rock spectrum is one that suits them perfectly and one that the band seem to relish in. Songs like "Law of Blood" with it's chugging groove and deliciously addictive vocal melody, and "Preacher" with its heavy blues guitar solo's  and throaty vocals over heavy driving rhythms, have a significantly harder stoner edge than the bands previous output. Even when the band tread over old ground, as on the two reworked tracks from the first EP "Nuclear Honeymoon" and "Insexication", they do so with an extra helping of raucous stoner grit and dusty desert fuzz and that alone is almost enough to forgive them their shameless and, hopefully, tongue in cheek ripping-off of Monster Magnet's "Space Lord" going under the name of "Cold Train"
Greek hard/stoner rock is in a good place at the moment with bands like Planet of Zeus and 1000 Mods leading the way both in Europe and the Rest of the World.  Dope Default may not be in that league quite yet but if they continue releasing EP's of the quality of  "Tales From The Wasteland" then that day might not be too far away..
Check 'em out....

Monday, 16 January 2017


In a scene that regularly sees bands namechecking the likes of Black Sabbath and Sleep as their influences its refreshing to come across a band who cite Atomic Rooster and ZZ Top as their points of reference, and equally refreshing to then hear elements of those influences in that bands overall sound.
Scuzzy Yeti hail from Troy, New Hampshire, USA and are Chris Wells-vocals, Josh Turnbull-drums,  Jason Lawrence-guitars, Brad Decatur-guitars and Wayne Munson-bass, and formed in 2014. Hard rock  and stoner fuzz, delivered with a crunchy late 70's groove, is Scuzzy Yeti's weapon of a choice, a weapon you can hear the band wielding over the five songs that make up their debut self titled EP "Scuzzy Yeti".

First track "Westward" is introduced with subtle guitar tones creating a laid back lysergic groove that is then joined by the voice of Chris Wells  his  powerful classic rock tones, tinted with a  hint of south western drawl, crooning an aching blues lament. Guitars and voice are then joined by the bass and drums and the songs groove shifts into heavier stoner/hard rock territory. Around Wells excellent vocal output guitarists Lawrence and Decatur lay down blues tinged refrains enhanced with bottleneck slides and tasty hooks over a pounding rhythmic backdrop expertly supplied by Turnbull's drums and Manson's bass.
"BTK" jams a groove that would not of sounded out of place back in the early 70's when rock was dragging itself out of the blues into something a little harder. Turnbull's drums open the song and are then joined by the rest of the band in a groove that can only be described as "retro" yet still manages to remain very much of today. Boasting a superb Wells vocal melody and packed with gnarly riffage and scorching solo's it's a song that kicks ass on every level.
"Conqueror" follows and sees the band channelling the spirits of Deep Purple and Uriah Heep into their grooves, albeit minus the keyboards. Part progressive rock, part traditional metal with a touches of stoner grit thrown in for good measure the song is nothing if not CLASSIC ROCK!
"Knees In The Breeze", a "Born To Be Wild" for the 00's , built around an addictive circular guitar riff , is a paean to the joys of two wheel travelling and one of those songs that just jumps out at you demanding your attention, to say this rocks would be an understatement. File under "Biker Anthem".
"Flare" brings things to a conclusion on a massive wave of heavy stoner/psych that perfectly works both as a song and as a showcase for each members contributions to the bands sound as a whole. Guitars go toe to toe over a backdrop of big booming bass and tumultuous percussion while Wells vocals coat everything in big bluesy rock tones.
Retro-rock, proto-metal call it what you like, it doesn't really matter what tag you want to pin on "Scuzzy Yeti" good music is good music and this is good music.
Check it out ......

Sunday, 15 January 2017


DSW hail from Leece, Italy, a four piece band consisting of Stefano "Wolf" Lombardi (vocals), Marco Papadia (guitar), Stefano Butelli  (bass) and Marco Mari (drums). DSW formed back in 2010 and in 2011 released their debut EP "Dawn Storm Watchers", the EP was warmly received by the stoner/rock underground but soon after  the EP's release the bands original singer Mattia Marchello left to be replaced by Stefano "Wolf" Lombardi. With a new singer in place the band soon recorded and released their first full length album "Dust Storm Warning" causing the trickle of recognition and admiration the band garnered with their first EP to suddenly turn into a virtual wave. Since the release of "Dust Storm Warning" the band have been honing their chops on Europe's live circuit, gaining new friends and fans with their delicious brand of heavy and psych drenched rock'n'roll, as well as writing and recording new material for their forthcoming and long awaited second album "Tales From The Cosmonaut" (Acid Cosmonaut Records) due for release January 2017.

From the spacey desert refrains of opener "Vermillion Witch" ,with its spacey hard rock groove, to the Kyuss-like closer "Acid Cosmonaut" the listener is treated to a virtual smorgasbord of assorted grooves that range from  jazzy fusion blended with heavy riffage ("The Well"), through torch -like heavy blues ("Mother In Black") to heavy and complex rhythmic stoner ("Crash Site"), all drenched in layers of warmly fuzzed guitar, massive bass and pounding percussion and all overlaid by strong powerful vocals. Lombardi's gritty clean tones dominate every track on "Tales from The Cosmonaut" having an almost "classic rock" quality to them, his throaty bluesy roars soaring over and around Papadia's  crunching, fuzz drenched riffs and scorching solo's. Beneath this tour de force of vocal excellence and fretboard wizardry Butelli's thrumming bass and Mari's thundering drums keep everything solid and tight, the pair laying down thick layers of delicious rhythmic groove for the singer and guitarist to strut their respective stuff over, the heartbeat of both the band and the album.
DSW with "Tales From The Cosmonaut" have made and album that not only delivers on the promise shown on previous releases but exceeds that promise.
Check it out .....

Saturday, 14 January 2017


White Light Cemetery are, in their own words, "a heavy assed blues rock band" from Lafayette, Lousiana influenced by artists ranging from Motorhead through to Hank Williams III. The band,
Shea Bearden (vocals/guitar), Thomas Colley (drums),  Tara Miller (bass) and Ryan Robin "Cletus" (guitar), have since their 2008 formation built up a formidable reputation  as a live band as well as releasing one EP "Crow Sessions" and one album "White Light Cemetery".  The band have recently signed with Todd Severin's Ripple Music.and are about to release their second full length album "Careful What You Wish For".

 "Careful What You Wish For" is an album of fuzzed out metallic southern groove driven by powerhouse drumming and big gnarly bass lines. Over these tumultuous waves of rhythmic groove guitars  deliver crunching riffage and searing lead work into which powerful slightly drawled, slightly throaty clean vocals are delivered.
With every track on "Careful What You Wish For" deserving of commendation it seems churlish to pick out highlights but if a gun was held to Desert Psychlist's head then the Bad Company-esque " On A Dime" and the hard rocking "Waiting" would be top of the list.

The underground rock scene has long been populated by bands employing a southern rock edge to their fuzzed out and distorted grooves, Down, Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity to name but three, however not many have managed to also shoehorn into those grooves the elements of classic rock and blues that first popularised the southern rock genre and made Lynyrd Skynyrd and the Allman Brothers Band household names, except maybe NYC's Raging Slab and now White Light Cemetery.
Check 'em out.....

Friday, 13 January 2017


Italy has, over the years, built a solid reputation within the subterranean music scene for turning out exciting and innovative doom music often influenced by Italy's horror movie genre,  not so much however is spoken about the countries hard rock, stoner/desert scene.
Soda Yells are here to redress that balance, the five piece band from Cagliari,, consisting of  Claudio Murru - Guitar, voice, Paolo Angelo Loi - Bass, Mauro Spanu - Drums, Stefano Pisano - Guitar, synth, Lap Steel and Matteo Urru - Keyboard, synth, play a quirky mix of blustering hard rock and sandy desert grooves heavily influenced by the likes of QOTSA and Kyuss, all of which can be heard on the bands debut release "Soda Yells EP"

First track "Pocos, locus y Malunidos" an instrumental, opens with a lone fractured, deeply distorted guitar motif that is then joined by the rest of the band in a bluesy desert refrain injected with touches of curly guitar lick dressing. Short, sharp but totally delicious it leads almost immediately into the next track.....
"Desert On The Sun" begins all Arabic and mystical then segues into a series of dusty desert grooves replete with keyboard and synth colouring underpinned by stuttering rhythmic drum and bass patterns over which fuzz drenched guitars and clean slightly indie/new wave-ish vocals are laid.
"16:9" jams a diverse groove that journey's through a series of differing soundscapes crossing genres as it goes, one minute touching base with the kind of country and western played on old spaghetti cowboy movies, the next toying with grooves usually reserved for those bands of the British indie movement. Eclectic and quirky the song has a QOTSA meets Artic Momkeys feel that is disarming yet quite intriguing.
"You've Got Gasoline In Your Throat" sees Soda Yell hitting a slightly more "traditional" desert groove with the band swapping back and forth between two time signatures, over which clean distinctive vocals are sung  and around which the drums and bass deliver another stuttering rhythmic tour-de force, before finishing, grand style, with guitars wailing in a blaze of hard rocking glory.
"Black Rubber Baloons" brings the EP to a finish with another slice of hard rocking, sand blasted quirky desert groove which again employs the bands signature of shifting seamlessly through tempo's and dynamics before fading to the close on a wave of gently tranquil classical feeling keyboard texturing.
Italians seem to like to do things a bit differently when it comes to underground rock music and Soda Yells EP's mix of stoner fuzz and hard rock blended with British "indie" colouring is just that "different"
Check it out .....

Tuesday, 10 January 2017


New wave of heavy metal grooves peppered with stoner fuzz and punky attitude.... from Sweden!

If you were in England in the late 70's you would have found it hard not to spot among the armies of spikey haired, safety pin wearing punks the occasional long haired denim clad youth with Iron Maiden or Judas Priest emblazoned across his back, The British New Wave of British Heavy Metal grew up alongside that of the punk movement and apart from the differing dress codes and hair styles both movements managed to co-exist side by side quite amicably.
Sweden's Sweet Lich recreate those heady days of galloping bass lines and twin guitar harmonies but bring them up to date by sprinkling them with a little stoner grittiness, and even a hint of punk-ish attitude. The bands new album "Never Satisfied" blends early Maiden-esque metal grooves with the hard rock bluster of fellow Swedes Graveyard, Witchcraft etc. but dispenses with those bands penchant for bluesy swagger and instead opts for a more traditional metal direction. Vocals are delivered with sneeringly maniacal glee over backdrops of driving hard metal leaning nearer to early Iron Maiden front man Paul Di'anno's  throaty howl. than  Bruce Dickenson's later air raid siren style,  music and vocals combining to give the band's sound a rawer, grittier "stoner" edge.
Sweet Lich serve up an album that boasts a plethora of seriously good tunes, with "Aim", "Never Satisfied" and "Fight" standing out for Desert Psychlist, but i'm sure listeners will have no problem in finding their own personal favourites among the eight songs that make up "Never Satisfied"
Check it out ....

Saturday, 7 January 2017


RoadkillSoda are, Mircea Petrescu (vocals and rhythm guitar), Mihnea Ferezan  ( guitar), Victor Ferezan (bass) and  Mihai Nicolau (drums),  the four Buchares based musicians have previously released three studio albums and are currently promoting their fourth album "Space Echo & Time"
RoadkillSoda's "Space Echo & Time" manages to achieve a duo of firsts for Desert Psychlist, firstly RoadkillSoda are the first Romanian band to have graced these pages and secondly the band new album "Space Echo & Time" is the sites first 'acoustic' album review.

The first thing to initially hit the listener is how damn good these songs sound, even without the help of a stack of amps behind them, the strong grooves the band are renowned for still  remain but are infused with an almost laid back campfire quality (not surprising  seeing as the album was recorded in a mountain shack) that is both refreshing and delightful.
The album mixes up old favourites with new material and "new boy" Petrescu tackles both magnificently bringing a down home bluesier southern feel to the proceedings with his gritty stoner raw tones. Of the newer songs it is probably "Aural Lake" that shines the brightest, it's mix of psych ambience and  unplugged stoner groove perfectly suited to its "semi" acoustic setting.
An acoustic album might not be what RoadkillSoda fans were expecting for a fourth album so it has taken quite a bit of courage on the bands behalf to have released "Space Echo & Time"  but is a move  that Desert Psychlist, on the strength of this album, wholly endorses.
Check it out .....

Friday, 6 January 2017


First a history lesson....
Back in the 70's Chile's notorious dictator General Augusto Pinochet imposed a ban on all forms of rock music pushing what was already a rather subterranean culture even further underground. Thankfully things took a turn for the better (musically at least) after the deposal of Pinochet and his military dictatorship allowing Chilean musicians and in particular Chilean rock to once again flourish.
Today Chile boasts a broad spectrum of rock ranging from the extreme to the experimental and covering everything in-between. Whether this sponge like absorption of styles and genres is a direct result of the restrictions of the past is something you would have to ask Chile's musicians about but one thing is certain the country's rock scene is thriving under these new freedoms.

Santiago's Sötano, Ivan Villanueva (guitar & vocals), Víctor Silva (bass & vocals) and Alejandro Sanhueza (drums), a band from that scene, are a trio specialising in hard hitting, riff fuelled stonerized metal, and have just released their debut album "" via Bandcamp.

Some albums are described as "growers" needing repeated plays before listeners begin to appreciate their subtle nuances and  musical shades,"El Rey Máquina" is not one of those albums, instead of sneaking stealthily into your psyche this album slaps you hard and demands your attention from the vey start. All lyrics on "El Rey Máquina" are sung in the bands native Spanish tongue but this in no way detracts from the enjoyment non-Spanish speaking listeners will derive from hearing this album as the sheer power and tone of the vocals carry the songs and sit perfectly within the molten hot grooves laid around them Songs like "Perro", "Piedra Negra" and the excellent closer "Solo a Golpes" are all driven by tumultuous percussion, booming bass lines and coated in varying degrees of  fuzzed and distorted guitar colouring creating delicious stoner metal grooves that are old school  heavy but never brutal.
If Pinochet was alive today he would certainly not have approved of Sôtano and most certainly would not have been found headbanging along to "El Rey Müquina". oh well his loss is our gain!
Check it out .......

Thursday, 5 January 2017


Carnaval are, Ažo - guitars & vocals,  Vičo - guitars,  Mato - drums and Sacco - bass, four guys from  Ljubljana, Slovenia who take their influences from the classic/hard rock of the 70's and sandy desert grooves of the 80's, blending those influences with elements of alt/grunge, space/psych and the blues creating an intriguing and unique sound  that is totally their own, as can be heard on the bands fourth album "Miss Universe" (KAPA Records)

One of the things that hits you when listening to "Miss Universe" is the depth of musical diversity that presents itself across the albums nine tracks, heavy stoner riffage sits side by side with grunge-like quiet/loud/quiet dynamics, bluesy guitar solos next to neo-classical shredding and on "Round Nose Cat"  even a little improvised free jazz just to keep things interesting. The band also mix it up vocally with gritty stoner, melodic shoegaze and 60's pop harmonies all making regular appearances sometimes separately, sometimes all in the same song. What really sets "Miss Universe" apart though is the strength of songwriting and arrangement that has gone in to this album, songs ebb and flow effortlessly through differing dynamics and time signatures going off on tangents but never losing their focus, this combined with the excellent production makes this an album that should be savoured and enjoyed for years to come.

Slovenia is not a country high on many peoples lists when it comes to quality "underground" rock music, those positions are usually reserved for the likes of Sweden, Greece and the USA but if there are other Slovenian bands churning out albums like Carnaval's "Miss Universe" then it might be well time we re-thought those lists.
Check 'em out.....

Wednesday, 4 January 2017


Thessaloniki, Greece, a city named in honour of Alexander the Great's half-sister, is also the home of hard rock stoners Red Hands in Black Sand, a band whose line up, at the time of writing, is somewhat of a mystery but whose fuzz drenched, groove heavy self-titled EP is sure to blow their cover.

As soon as the first bars of opening track "Roll" come thundering out of the speakers it becomes fairly obvious that RHiBS are not the sort of band who are going to have hordes of fans holding lighters aloft and swaying along to their latest power ballad, ..no these guys are more likely to induce vigorous head nodding and heavy moshing due to the power and fury of their fuzz drenched hard rocking grooves. Crunching chainsaw riffage combined with thunderous bass, pounding drums and strong raw edged vocal ensure that songs like the aforementioned "Roll", "Closer", "Diamonds on the River" and  the superb sludge-lite "Underwater Lightning" remain ringing, sustain -like around, the listeners head long after the last note has faded.
Check 'em out .....

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

EMBER ~ 261 .... review

It's no secret that Desert Psychlist is a sucker for female vocals especially when they are set against a background of heavy riffage and heavier rhythms. Birmingham, Alabama's Ember, Crystal Bigelow (Vocals), Jeremy Allen (Bass), Jon Reid (Guitar), Justin Treece (Guitar) and Eric Bigelow (Drums), create a groove and a sound that ticks all those boxes and more as can be heard on the bands debut EP "261".

"261" begins with "7th Circle",  its intro of heavy crunching, distorted riffage slowly dissipating into shards and fragments as Crystal Bigelow's vocals enter, her hauntingly ethereal but strong tones telling tales of "shattered souls" and "pits of snakes" over a backdrop of groove heavy exotic doom.
"Niche" is up next and jams a stuttering metallic doom groove around which Bigelow weaves dark lyrics pleading for someone to "pull me down to the grave" , her voice soaring above the rhythmic patterns  bassist Allen and drummer E. Bigelow lay beneath her, and wending around the riffs and solo's Reid and Treece use to accompany her semi-operatic tones with.
Final track "Living Bones (Dying Flesh)" sees Ember hitting a groove that at times sails a little close to the symphonic nu-metal of Evanescence but is saved  from this fate by its excursions into areas of heavy psyched doom and occult rock, shifting through a myriad of differing dynamics and subtle time changes with Bigelow's vocals swooping and soaring majestically overhead.

"261" is  a stunning EP brimming over with class and quality and one that promises much for the future.
Check it out.......

Monday, 2 January 2017


After teasing us with a couple of tasty sounding singles "Satan's Country" and "Eye For An Eye" Californian four piece Black Prism decided it was time to throw the cat another goldfish and give their growing fan base something a little more substantial a decision that has resulted in the release of the bands first full album, the self-titled "Black Prism".

From the moment the first bars of opening number "Lone Pine" hit the ear canals there is no escaping the Black Sabbath influences hovering above this album, Iommi-esque riffs and solo's permeate the proto-metallic grooves displayed throughout and when you add to this the Ozzy-like nasal whine of the vocals then comparisons are bound to be made. What saves "Black Prism" from becoming just another Sabbath -like album however is the manner the band goes about putting their own stamp on a sound already familiar to so many, songs like "Alaska", with its fragmented riff and dazzling drumming, "Psychomania", with its bluesy occult rock groove and the excellent psych meets proto-doom drenched "Black Mountain Road", have a  Sabbath-esque feel but are delivered slightly off-kilter with a heavier reliance on psychedelic texturing and lysergic colouring giving the whole album  a feeling very much of today rather than that of yesterday.
Check it out ......

Sunday, 1 January 2017


Richmond, VA's Book Of Wyrms, Jay Lindsey (bass),  Ben Coudriet (guitar), Kyle Lewis (guitar),  Chris DeHaven (drums) and Sarah Moore-Lindsey (vocals, effects),describe what they do as "space rock" and given the vastness and scope of the bands sonic palette that's not a bad description. It also goes a long way in explaining the title of the bands brand new album "Sci-Fi/Fantasy" released today (January 1st 2017) on Twin Earth Records.

First track "Leatherwing Bat" comes chugging out of the speakers like a freight train driven by booming bass, pounding percussion and overlaid with gnarly fuzz heavy twin guitar attack of Coudriet and Lewis. The band jam a few bars of stoner-ish heavy metal before Moore-Lindsey enters centre stage and completely alters the dynamic, her powerful yet hauntingly sweet folkish tones a total contrast to the bombastic heaviness surrounding them and giving the bands sound an almost proggish heavy folk vibe not unlike that of 70's British troubadours Curved Air.
"Infinite Walrus" opens with a stuttering guitar riff underpinned by J. Lindsey's liquid bass runs and DeHaven's industrious drumming. A short but tasty guitar solo heralds the arrival of Moore- Lindsey's vocal, her voice sweetly swooning over the Sabbath-esque psychedelic grooves the band lay beneath her.
"Cosmic Filth"  begins with a slightly off-kilter guitar motif then moves into desert rock territory with Coudriet and Lewis trading off licks and motifs over a backdrop of  sandy rhythmic groove interspersed with moments of progressive/psychedelic complexity and colouring enhanced by Moore-Lindsey's slightly spacey, mellow vocal delivery.
"Nightbong" is next and has a 60's psych/pop feel to it's initial, deliciously addictive, groove,  a groove that is enhanced by the addition of keyboards and Moore-Lindsey's superb vocal tones. As the song approaches the halfway mark the mood abruptly changes and the groove gets a little darker and heavier with the band moving into ambient space/heavy psych territory before taking things to the close on a wave of doom drenched heavy riffage, ethereal vocals and pounding rhythms.
"All Hollow's Eve" starts with clips of spoken narrative over shimmering percussion, booming bass lines and bluesy guitar solo's, all paving the way for Moore-Lindsey to enter with a haunting mellow and sweetly ethereal vocal, her voice weaving in and around a groove that is part slow blues, part prog/folk but all Book of Wyrms.
"Transcendental Migraine" mixes aspects of the bands Appalachian roots with traditional heavy metal grooves creating an almost Thin Lizzy/Judas Priest hybrid feel with the two guitarists trading off and harmonising guitar parts over a backdrop of hard and heavy rhythmic grooves.
"Sourwolf" closes proceedings with a song that leans slightly away from the bands space/psych core and edges more towards the doomier side of the tracks. Heavier than what has gone before previously the song sees the band fully embrace their dark side with  Coudriet and Lewis  employing Iommi-esque guitar licks,solo's and riffs over J. Lindsey's low gnarly bass lines and DeHaven's thunderous doomy percussion all finished off with  Moore-Lindsey's beautifully mellow/sweet tones soaring majestically over the top.

Heavy, in the old metallic sense, yet infused with elements of space and psych coated with gloriously haunting vocals "Sci-Fi/Fantasy" is an album that revels in it's contrasts and is one you really should check out......