Wednesday, 29 November 2017


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


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


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


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


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


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

Friday, 17 November 2017


Led Zeppelin's charismatic frontman Robert Plant once said "The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone" and Greece's Rollin' Dice have taken that to heart the trio, consisting of Antonis Karathanasopoulos (Guitar & Vocals), Giannis Robas (Bass Guitar) and Aggelos Kalogiannis(Drums),unashamedly borrowing from the past as a means to make music for the present, something that becomes quite obvious when listening to the bands brand new album "Way To The Sun"

From the moment the needle/laser, or whatever initiates play on your mode of listening, drops on first track "Live It Up" you know your in for a ride of epic proportions through a world populated by crunching riffage, thundering rhythms and those type of vocals usually accompanied by thrusting pelvic muscles and a rock star stance, (ok the last two don't apply as the vocalist is also the guitarist but you get the visual imagery). Yes folks we are talking old school hard rock here, shot through with a touch of bluesy swagger and classic rock polish and fronted by the sort of vocals you thought you had heard the last of when Ronnie James Dio sadly left this world. Fear not though you doomers, grungers and stoners, who may be thinking you have stumbled into some retro flavoured 70's half-hell, there is enough grit and grime to be found here among the eight songs on offer to please even the most discerning of you. Heavy metal bluster, grunge dynamics, stoner fuzz and doomic atmospherics can all be found lurking somewhere within songs with titles like "Common Lies","Into the Graveyard" and "Roundabout" giving them an obvious nostalgic feel yet at the same time one that is very much relevant to today's underground scene.

"Way To The Sun" is an album that, it could be argued, falls under the description "classic rock", not because it was made way back in an age when giants of rock like Zeppelin, Purple and Sabbath roamed the hills but because it has an essence of that era, others might argue however that it is just old fashioned "blues rock" brought up to date with a few fuzz pedals and a crisper production, opinions will vary but what cannot be denied is that Rollin' Dice have, with "Way To The Sun", made an album that ROCKS!
Check it out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 14 November 2017


Rahu (Vox, Guitar, SFX), Markiz  (Guitar), Radek -(Bass) and  Michal (Drums) are Doomster Reich, four guys from Łódź, Poland influenced by the likes of Can, Hawkwind and the MC5 as well as all the usual doom and stoner suspects. The band have been hawking their wares around their home country since their formation in 2014 and in that time have released a number of well received albums, EP's and singles and are now busy promoting their latest opus "Drug Magick"

Things kick off nicely with first track "Gimme Skelter" a rabble rousing ditty that has a distinctive "garage" feel thanks in main to it's excellent retro feeling production and played live in the studio execution, the band coming across in places like a mix between California's Nebula and present day Welsh stoners Dope Smoker thanks to the similarities in both musical and vocal delivery. "Rites of Drug Magick" follows and has that same garage/stoner vibe but here the band add an element of doomic dynamics to the mix ramping up the atmospherics with slightly danker WHA drenched guitar tones and a heavier, thunderous rhythmic attack. Both songs top the ten minute mark and both songs are notable for going off on tangents into lysergic territory with guitars swirling and swooping over backdrops of undulating rhythmic might. These detours into more cosmic and experimental climes are continued right through "Drug Magick" with songs like "Round The Bend Satan", "Meet The Dead" and "Chemical Funeral" fusing elements of doom and desert rock with, Earthless-like, psychedelic guitar wizardry anchored from beneath by throbbing bass lines and pulverising percussion and coated in clean distinctive vocal tones, The band save their best for last though in the shape of a twelve minute epic entitled "Black Earth, Red Sun", a song that sees Doomster Reich experimenting with a myriad of differing dynamics, SFX and tempos, the band taking their listeners on sonic journey's through ever shifting landscapes on wave upon wave of breath-taking lysergic groove.

If you are looking for something to consolidate your love of Kyuss, Nebula and Earthless with an appreciation of the garage rock of The Stooges and the MC5 but are also partial to a touch of Sabbath-esque proto-doom then look no further, Doomster Reich are YOUR band!
Check 'em out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 12 November 2017


Sweden's Bleeding Mountains may be new a new name to many of us but the bands members, Patrik Zetterberg (vocals/guitars), Erik Jervaeus (drums) and Adam Mayer (bass), will be familiar to those who may have followed the progressive metal grooves of a little Swedish trio called Jahoomha, and  this is because they are the same band. Exactly why Jahoomha felt the need to change their name to Bleeding Mountains is not clear but it does seem that the name change coincided with the recording of new material and Desert Psychlist can only surmise that the heavier direction taken on the new recording was the justification for this change. Whatever the reasoning behind it all the new material is now available and flying under the flag of "Treeline".

Of course their are similarities between the grooves laid down previously by Jahoomha and those  now being delivered by Bleeding Mountains, why wouldn't there be, after all we are talking about the same musicians here, but where Jahoomha blended their prog-ish grooves with those of a more alternative/grunge nature Bleeding Mountains go for a more feral approach entirely. Everything about "Treeline" has a harder, heavier feel than that of the bands earlier incarnation, from the tone of the guitars through to the aggressive nature of the vocals, everything feeling that much more confrontational and in your face. The album begins with "Escaping The Lord", a short instrumental piece made up of a circular guitar motif played over big booming bass and solid precise percussion, that, although perfectly executed, does not give much away about their new direction. Then comes "Dead Ice" and we get our first indication of where these guys are currently at musically, Zetterberg laying down a ferociously fuzz drenched refrain that's part textured prog metal, part raucous stoner crunch over which he delivers clean but larynx shredding vocal tones. Beneath this onslaught of feral roars and chainsaw riffage Mayer and Jervaeus lay down a tsunami of raw edged groove, Mayer's grizzled bass lines meshing with  Jervaeus' complex and intricate rhythms to create a solid bedrock of metallic bluster for the guitarist/vocalist to decorate with his vocal and six-string colourings. Following track "Temples" touches briefly on past glories with its mix of loud and quiet dynamics and mellower vocal tones but its when the band let loose their proggier, heavier stoner metal side, as on the excellent "The Undertaker", the complex and intense "Glacier" and the diverse and eclectic "Weightless" that the trio really come into their own and show what a force they are collectively.

New name, new album, same musicians but what a difference, "Treeline" is heavier, harder and more aggressive than anything the trio recorded under their previous guise, a stunning assault on the senses from beginning to end and well worth taking the time to check out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 11 November 2017


If you have been a regular peruser of Facebook's various stoner, doom and psych orientated pages then you will no doubt be familiar with the name Black Road and that bands lithe vocalist Suzi Uzi, Uzi and the band, hailing from Chicago.Illinois, have long been teasing us with snippets of their live shows, photo's and personal videos but apart from a few well received singles and an enjoyable but a little rough around the edges live EP we, the general public, have had nothing tangible to really get our teeth into. That was until now and the release of their debut studio EP "Black Road".

Black RoadSuzi Uzi (vox/lyrics/piano), Tim M. (guitar), Casey Papp (bass) and Robert Gonzales (drums), have been regulars on the stoner/doom club circuits since their 2015 inception, slowly honing their skills and sound, writing and arranging songs (as well as having to blood new members) waiting patiently until that time when the planets aligned and they had something that not only met their own high standards but had something they felt confident and comfortable to share with others,   "Black Road" is the result of all that  hard work and sacrifice and is stunning EP from start to finish. From the swirling occult/doom refrains of "From Hell", with its slightly cryptic environmental message, through "Bloody Mary" with its chugging fuzz drenched groove, bluesy guitar fills/solo's and psychedelic mid-section, and "Red", with its vaguely 80's pop rock intro leading into an atmospheric and doomic blues, to the closer "Black Rose", an epic tome that takes in elements of folk and prog as it wends and weaves its way to its majestic finale, there is not a vocal inflection, bass line, guitar note or drum beat wasted, everything coming together in a beautiful and totally satisfying whole. The band even throw in a couple of instrumental(ish) numbers in the shape of "Morte" and "Morte (coda)" the former a duet between Uzi on piano and Tim M. on guitar that could easily grace the soundtrack of a 60's spy movie, the latter a slightly more electric version with Papp and Gonzales adding their weight to proceedings as well as a contribution from the legendary guitarist and studio maestro Tony Reed (Mos Generator) on mellatron.

In a scene where female vocalists are fast becoming the norm it is getting increasingly hard for bands with similar line ups to stand out from the crowd but Black Road manage to do this not just by the fact they have a striking looking lead singer with strong, powerful sultry tones at their helm but also because these guys have the chops to back up such a voice and the songs to compliment those tones and when you put that all together in one place you end up with something quite special.
Check 'em out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 10 November 2017


When we think about the underground rock scene we tend to think about four or five guys/gals cranking out raucous riffs and rhythms in the context of a band but there are also those out there, who for reasons of their own, eschew the whole band concept and like to do things all on their lonesome.
Jeremy Vibbert (a.k.a King Jeremy the Wicked, a.k.a Bad Monster Black)) is one such soul, a multi-instrumentalist from Kentucky with a head full of ideas and concepts who knows a thing or two about writing a good tune, three of which can be heard on his latest EP "Diablo".

Vibbert has, with  previous releases, "Doped Up Devils With Sexual Grooves", "Darkside" and "The Question of Sanity", leant towards the more sleazy end of rock'n'roll, albeit edged with a menacing darkness, but with "Diablo" Vibbert has embraced those darker edges and brought them to the fore giving the EP an almost doomic feel in places. First track "The Resurrection" exemplifies this new approach perfectly with Vibbert utilising darker,danker guitar tones, heavier rhythms and a diverse mixture of vocal stylings to ramp up the songs atmosphere and brooding menace, you can almost feel the spine chilling malevolence oozing from the speakers as Vibbert sings " I am that from which they told you you have to run from" and almost see the wicked glint in his eye as he asks "Why though? I don't know,I am so fun". Vibbert can't fully shake the sleaze from his shoulders though and on "Monstro" he doesn't try, instead he amalgamates that sleaze into his darker experiments with groove and arrives at a sound that accommodates both. Crunching riffage, massive percussion are the bedrock around which Vibbert weaves a tale of psychopathic tendencies and sexual deviancy, helped out by guest vocalist Dasya Smith, their vocal trade off of punky shouts and stoner roars taking the song on to another level. "Diablo" is up next and finds Vibbert/Bad Monster Black in full stoner/sleaze mode with Vibbert roaring "Give Me Sex, Give Me Soul, Give Me Fucking Rock And Roll" against a backdrop of dissonant riffage and thundering rhythms that sporadically break down into moments of funky ambience before erupting again into a volcano of heavily fuzzed groove.

Desert Psychlist recently spoke to Jeremy Vibbert/Bad Monster Black  after hearing a demo of "The Ressurection" and asked him whether the slightly darker direction of the song was the way he intended to go with future projects he answered "Yeah, I plan on trying to continue on this path with the music and see what else I can write and hopefully it wont suck" Well Jeremy if  the songs on "Diablo" are anything to go by it won't.
Check it out ....

#note: those purchasing the EP will also get 5 bonus songs
Diablo (Original Recording)
Doper (2017 Version)
Pond (Demo)

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

C.O.D. ~ CAME OUT DAMNED .... review

The beauty of the internet for a music fan is that he/she is no longer restricted by borders, it is now possible, for those with more adventurous tastes, to access music from right across the globe, from Australia to Outer Mongolia, and all from the same device you use to talk to your friends or order your pizza's from. This can also work from the opposite direction with bands able to reach out to those who may have an  interest in their work via e-mails and social media, it was through this process of mutual interaction that Desert Psychlist became aware of Romania's C.O.D 's latest album "Came Out Damned".

C.O.D., Stanciu Dragos (vocals, guitar), Stoicescu Liviu (bass), Irmia Vlad -(guitar) and Dumitrascu Mihai (drums), advise listeners to dial their music systems to eleven, when listening to their latest album "Came Out Damned", for that ultimate experience and it is true that the higher volume is a perfect fit for the bands mix of southern tinted stoner metal and grunge flecked metal. Crunching distorted riffage played over grizzled bass lines and pounding drums are the bedrock around which C.O.D. build their songs and these things alone would tempt the casual listener to give the eleven songs on "Came Out Damned" a listen but there is more to be found here than just riffs and rhythms. Neo-classical style guitar solo's and those of a more psychedelic nature are weaved in and out of hard rocking grooves peppered with alt/grunge dynamics coated in strong and distinctive throaty vocal tones pushed hard by a strong and vibrant rhythm section, the resulting mix of styles and execution giving songs with titles like "No Rest For The Wicked","Blackend" and "Light It Up" an almost classic/hard rock vibe in places. It is however when the band veer into darker territories that things get really interesting as on the metallic stoner-ish "Bury Me" and the throbbing proto-doomish "Become", the band showing not only can they hold their own in the rocking stakes but they can do intense and deep too.
Check em out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 5 November 2017


Cyprus is an island situated in the Eastern Mediterranean that has through history been the subject of territorial disputes, the Turkish, British all the way back to the Romans and Greece's Alexander the Great have battled to possess this beautiful oasis that legend tells us was the birthplace of Aphrodite and Adonis. You would expect music made by a rock band coming from such an island to somehow reflect that countries juxtaposition of conflict and serenity within their grooves and Limassol's Arcadian Child do not disappoint on that score, the quartet of   Panayiotis I.G (vocals/guitar), Stathis Hadjicharalambous (guitars), Andreas Kerveros (bass/backing vocals) and Christos Dimou (drums) do this not through lyrical content but by mixing into their easy on the ear psych tinted sonic output little touches of fuzzy stoner dirtiness framing their languid lysergic grooves with dark edges, edges that can be heard on the bands new album "Afterglow".

Arcadian Child cite one of their influences as 70's Greek psych/prog pioneers Aphrodite's Child and apart from the obvious similarity in name it is not hard to see why, although coming from a more modern stonerized psych place than that occupied by Vangelis and Co, Arcadian Child utilise a similar mixture of edgy rock bluster and well constructed songcraft, the band writing songs not only with old fashioned concepts like verses and choruses but songs that leave ample space for the four musicians to stretch out in, when and where those opportunities present themselves. From the phased opening chords of "She's On my Mind", with its catchy vocal melody, right through to the countrified lysergic lament "Used" "Afterglow" is an album that delights and dazzles in equal measure, sure there will be those who balk at it obvious crossover appeal, it's catchiness and its occasional leanings towards commerciality but those are all integral components of the whole and a major reason why "Afterglow" is such a fantastic listen.
Check it out .... 

© 2017 Frazer jones

Friday, 3 November 2017

OTEHI ~ GARDEN OF GOD .... review

There was a moment, as 2014's autumn slowly moved towards winter, that will stick in Desert Psychlist's memory for aeons to come, that moment came in the shape of a conceptual album released by a then little known band from Rome, Italy going by the name of Otehi. The album in question was titled "Dead Chants and Forbidden Melodies"  a stunning opus that blended mystical themes and psychedelic motifs with crunching riffage and brutal rhythms and propelled the band from being an interesting little Italian trio to cult status almost overnight.The band, Domenico Canino (Guitar,Vocals & Effects), Maciej Wild Mikolajczyk (Bass & Vocals) and Corrado Battistoni  (Drums), return this year hoping to cement their newly acquired reputation with a new opus of lysergic grooves presented under the collective title "Garden of God"

"Sabbath" opens proceedings and in complete contrast to what its title may suggests is 01:01 minutes of synthesised effects that mimics the dawn's chorus of singing birds heralding in the new day.
"Naked God" follows, opening its account with a filthy fuzz drenched circular guitar riff supported by thick growling. bass and superbly executed percussion. Over this tsunami of grizzled riffage and thrumming rhythmic groove are delivered clean strong vocals perfectly pitched to match the undulating jazzy swing of the songs groove. As the song reaches the halfway mark the groove briefly shifts into lysergic territory with Mikolajczyk's bass and Battistoni's shimmering percussion the bedrock over which Canino executes reverberating arpeggios and brushed chords that slowly grow in tempo and intensity until suddenly erupting again and heading to its finale on the songs initial riff and groove.
"The Great Cold" begins with strummed clean guitar chords backed by a strident, eastern tinted  bass motif before being joined by the drums and suddenly exploding into a dirty. heavily fuzzed and distorted stoner-ish groove only to then subside back again. The song ebbs and flows between these two dynamics of crunching western riffage and gentle eastern ambiance with the vocals following suite, clean and resonant in the quieter passages, feral and aggressive in the heavier sections
"Verbena" is up next, its deliciously heavy intro collapsing down into gentle ambience with  glistening shards of guitar colouring and whispered/spoken vocals weaved around liquid bass and restrained percussion fragmented with moments of distorted chainsaw riffage and brutal pounding rhythm.
"Purified" sees Otehi jamming their signature sound of lysergic grooves blended with brutal riffage but this time throwing in an interesting curveball in the shape of an almost Germanic/robotic type vocal delivery, the band channelling an element of Kraftwerk-ian krautrock into their psychedelic refrains of lysergic metallic bluster.
"Esbeth" closes the album in much the same fashion as it started with those synthesised effects, used on first track "Sabbath", this time mimicking the creatures of the night lamenting the setting of the sun and the end of the day.

Otehi may not be the most prolific of bands, its been almost a three year time span  between "Dead Chants and Forbidden Melodies" and the new album "Garden of God" with only a live acoustic album "Unplugged" delivered in-between but when they DO deliver THEY DELIVER!
Check 'em out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones