Friday, 24 February 2017

EXIST AMONG ~ EXIST AMONG ... review


The words "old school doom" may strike fear in the hearts of those who like their dark and dismal grooves leaning more towards the blacker, more extreme edges of the genre but for us who were schooled on the proto-doom of Black Sabbath through the fledgling traditional doom of Candlemass and Count Raven to the sounds of today's Pallbearer, Dopelord and their ilk it is manna from heaven (or on reflection .. hell).
Exist Among, a trio from New York consisting of Kaiser -Guitar/Vocals, Mojo -Drums and Casey-bass, re kindle those heavy grooves of dark melodic intensity from the past, mixing them with elements of  today's gnarlier modern doom  and present them, to us the faithful, laid out on the altar of their debut self-titled album "Exist Among".


"Exist Among" is an album that pulls together all the threads of doom's many genres and sub-genres and weaves them into a tapestry of groove that is very much of the present but one that also acknowledges its past.The band, over the span of the seven songs that make up "Exist Among", call into play all those "old school" values of atmosphere and melody and blend them in with the grizzlier, harder elements of "modern" metal and doom to create a sound that will appeal to fans of both "schools" . Exist Among readily admit to being influenced by the past masters of doom but also cite the likes of alt/grunge rockers Alice In Chains and thrash monsters Slayer as integral in shaping their overall sound. Whether these influences are obvious ones is debatable but on songs like "Final Out" and "World In Shit" and the excellent "Walking Zone" there can be found touches of other genre colouring and texture bubbling latently under the surface, not obvious but there all the same.


If your a doom fan looking for an album that walks a fine line between the old and the new then you cannot go far wrong by giving "Exist Among " a listen.
Check it out .....

Thursday, 23 February 2017

BLOOD MIST ~ BLOOD MIST ... review


Question: What do you get when you stick five guys, from Baltimore, Maryland, with a penchant for heavy metallic music, weed, magic and dragons, in a studio together?
Answer: "Blood Mist" (Grimoire Records)...one kick-ass EP packed to the brim with grizzly riffage, scorching bluesy solo's, pummelling heavy rhythms and cool, clean  massive vocals!


Blood Mist are John de Campos (drums), Matthew Casella (vocals), Nick Jewett (guitar), Kevin Considine (guitar), and Scott Brenner (bass), a band of hairy desperados intent on melting faces, destroying villages and scorching the earth (their words) with their brand of gnarly doom tinted stonerized metal.
Dio-esque lyrics of mythical landscapes and combat are powerfully roared over a backdrop of doom-like dynamics enhanced by a mixture of crunching riffage, twin guitar harmonies and searing guitar pyrotechnics all underpinned by a skilfully solid and extraordinarily adept rhythmic base. The bands blend of old and new school  heavy metal and doom inform each and every one of the five tunes on "Blood Mist" giving songs like "Burn The Trees" and "As the Crow" a feeling of familiarity yet at the same time maintaining a freshness and vitality that confirms they are very much of today.
Check 'em out .....

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

CUSTOM BLACK ~ SMOKE SHALL RISE .... review


There are times in a bloggers life when he think he's got everything mapped out, he sets out a plan on what album/EP he's gonna review next, the one after that and so on, smug in the knowledge that he's got everything covered.... then along comes an album/EP so good all those plans go up in smoke and he knows this album has to be reviewed right here, right now! Custom Black's debut "Smoke Shall Rise" is one such album!


Coming from somewhere between the proto-doom of UK's Black Sabbath and the stonerized classic hard rock of Sweden's Spiritual Beggars ,with a touch of  Grand Magus style heavy metal thrown in for good measure, "Smoke Shall Rise" is an album that'll unite stoners, doomsters and metalheads together under one banner. Custom Black, Josh Acosta (guitar/vocals), Glenn Hall (bass) and Brian Burchfield (drums), create a sound and groove gritty enough for those that like their music a little dirty and fuzzy but one that is also grim and gnarly enough to please those with a penchant for the darker side. From the opening bars of first track "She Rides" the listener is taken on a roller-coaster ride of crunching guitar riffage, scorching solo's, grizzly bassitude and pulverising percussion coated in strong powerful clean vocal tones, that dips and rises through a variety of tempo's and dynamics before reaching its final destination on the deliciously metallic, totally essential grooves of title and closing track "Smoke Shall Rise".
If you like your music a touch gritty, a touch doomy and a whole lot metallic with a groove deeper than the Mariana Trench then "Smoke Shall Rise" is an album you just must check out......

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

CARSON ~ DROWN THE WITNESS ...review


Strange how things seem to go in the life of a music blogger, three hours after discovering Swiss groovsters Carson's new album on Bandcamp and spreading the news all over social media sites I get a message from a friend that the band have decided to call it a day due to their singer and guitarist emigrating to New Zealand. Oh well if your gonna call it quits at least go out on a high and that's exactly what the band have done with their first (and last) full album "Drown The Witness".


Title track "Drown The Witness" burst into life on a heavily fuzz soaked circular refrain, that recalls  those early desert rock grooves coming out of the Palm Desert area in the early 90's, with the songs sonic attack leaning more towards the harder edged riffage of Dozer than the sandier psychedelic tinged grooves of Kyuss. Guitarist and vocalist Kieran Mortimer-Jones chops out gritty powerchords and curly little licks over which he delivers gritty clean vocals that are superbly bolstered by a hurricane of rhythmic might supplied by the engine room of Jan Kurmann (drums) and Elina Willener (bass). Gritty, dirty with a totally addictive groove it sets the tone for the rest of the album with songs like "Divided", "Chicken" and "Amber" following similar paths of warmly fuzzed desert grooviness played hard fast and deliciously dirty. The band do though have other strings to their bow like on "And His Bone" with its gnarly grungey/alt-rock groove, "Mold" with its lysergic intro and funky psych interludes and the bluesy desert vibes running through "Pissing In The Wind" enhanced by quiet/loud/quiet dynamics.


Overall Carson have with "Drown The Witness" made an album that should appeal to both those who like their grooves down and dirty and those who like their music a little more cerebral, its just a damn shame it has to be their swansong.
Check it out ....

Sunday, 19 February 2017

SUPER SNAKE ~ LEAP OF LOVE ... review


"Four tracks of the sleaziest,dirtiest in your face rock'n'roll since Axl & co reared their dirty faces.Wonderful! "...These were the words Desert Psychlist wrote on the bands profile page back in 2012 after hearing the bands debut EP "Summer Girls", a raucous, almost glam metal, brand of  grind and sleaze that recalled those heady late 80's/early 90's days of big hair, spandex and eyeliner. Five years have passed since the release of that EP and although there are still elements of that Sunset Strip sound to be found within Super Snake's grooves the bands latest release "Leap of Love" proves to be a whole different animal.


Whether the band have been mixing with musicians from the more extreme edges of the music scene or its just a natural progression but there is a darker edge to the grooves that make up "Leap of Love" and its an edge that sits easily on the ears. The swagger and cock-sure arrogance that was the staple of the bands previous releases still rears its head on songs like "Hot Pavement", "Get Lost, Be Mine","Dreamcoated" and "Big Seize" but are tempered by elements of psychedelic texturing and hazy vocal melodies. Where Super Snake really show a new found  maturity though is on those songs where the band step slightly outside of themselves and take a leap into newer more experimental territories such as on the reggae tinted "Spirit Cave" the occult-lite " Lavish Sum of Dread" and the psych drenched and slightly doom-ish "Take My Breath" pulling elements of other genres into their gritty sleaze drenched grooves and stamping their own identity on them.


There is always room for a bit sleaze and glamour in  rock music and Super Snake deliver that in spades on "Leap of Love" but they also show they are more than just a raucous rock'n'roll band ...they are also intelligent and an innovative one too.
Check 'em out ....

Friday, 17 February 2017

STONERROR ~ STONERROR ... review


Stonerror pushed all the right buttons with the release of their debut EP "Rattlesnake Moan" prompting Desert Psychlist to describe it, within these very pages, as "an exciting debut that although a little raw in places nevertheless promises great things for the future". The band, Jarosław Daniel - guitar , Jacek Malczewski - bass, (voice on "Misbegotten"), Łukasz Mazur - vocals and Maciej Ołownia - drums, with a little help from Maciej Cieślak - guitars, keyboards, and percussion and Marcin Lisak - guitar on "Blues for the Red Sea"
have now delivered on the potential shown on that EP with the release of their first full length album "Stonerror".


Those raw edges found on "Rattlesnake Moan" have on "Stonerror" been sanded down a touch but have been done so without compromising any of the edgy grittiness that made that EP such joyous and essential listen for those fans of the stoner/desert persuasion. The Kyuss/QOTSA - like grooves, that were an integral part of the bands sound on the debut EP, are still there in abundance but are tempered with elements of psych, blues, alt/grunge and old school hard rock textures. combining to give the album a far more interesting and diverse feel. Songs like "Red Track", "Misbegotten" and "The Wolf" continue the bands tradition of jamming dusty desert grooves coated in clean melodic vocals over hard driven rhythms but it is when the band step outside of the restraints of their desert/stoner roots that things start to get really interesting. On   "Los Hermanos" the band experiment with elements of mood and atmosphere utilising a slow burning Colour Haze-esque groove over which hushed ,almost whispered, vocals are delivered, the song undulating between quiet passages of eerie otherworldliness and heavy stoner groove before finally finishing on a lone guitar motif and fading to silence.Not content with this the band even throw a little folky colouring into the mix with the delightfully sublime and eclectic "The Ride" pouring Wishbone Ash -like vocal melodies over a mix of acoustic and electric grooviness The psych drenched final track "Blues for the Red Sea" sees Stonerror exploring their lysergic side, the bands initial stoner/desert groove, populated with driving rhythms and reverb soaked vocals, suddenly taking off into full on instrumental mode with swirling Hawkwind-esque keyboard effects swooping back and forth over a  backdrop of tumultuous drumming, boneshaking bass and acid tainted guitar colouring before finishing on a wave of  glorious swirling, swooping noise.


"Rattlesnake Moan" was an EP made by a band trying to find their feet in a scene populated by giants, "Stonerror" sees that band standing on those feet and now staring those giants square in the eye
Check 'em out .....

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

WHEEL OF SMOKE ~ MINDLESS MASS ... review


Time to catch up on a release from a band Desert Psychlist has been following since the arrival of their debut "In Sense"(2011). The band in question are Wheel of Smoke Erik Heyns (guitar,/keys),  Filip Remans (guitar,/vocals,) Tristan Michiels (bass,?vocals) and  Jouk Op De Beeck (drums? percussion), four guys from Belgium with a penchant for 70's hard rock grooves spliced with elements of psych, prog and grungy stoner grit. The release is the bands third full length album and flies under the banner of  "Mindless Mass".


From the opening hard rock salvo of "Degeneration", with it's stoneresque grooves coated in throaty garage/punk style vocals interspersed with moments of prog-like colouring and textures, through to the grungy psychedelic journey that is "Feral" Wheel of Smoke deliver a tour-de-force of groove that has the potential to take off in any given direction at any given time. Gifted musicians of the highest calibre Wheel of Smoke are not a band to be confined to one genre or one time signature filling songs like "Bad Shepherd", "Unnamed" and "Synchronicity" with a myriad of differing grooves and textures that at times can leave the listener slack jawed and in a state of awe inspired wundernent
Check 'em out ....