Monday, 30 October 2017

CLOUDS TASTE SATANIC ~ THE GLITTER OF INFINITE HELL ....review


Not many doom bands can pull off instrumental music, doom just by it's very nature is a genre defined by its lyrical tales of despair and desolation married to repetitious riffage and incessant plodding rhythms and is not the sort of sound that easily lends itself to vocal-less soundscapes.
Brooklyn's Clouds Taste Satanic, however. have built a career doing just that, the band releasing three albums of crushing psych laced instrumental doom, "To Sleep Beyond The Earth"(2014), "Your Doom Has Come"(2015) and "Dawn of the Satanic Age" (2016), along the way. The band return this year with another collection of mind blowing slow, low and heavy instrumental grooves flying under the collective title "The Glitter of Infinite Hell" (due for release 31st October 2017)


"The Glitter of Infinite Hell" consists of four one word titled songs, a list of deadly sins for a new age, that begins with "Greed" a song that opens with slow deliberate riffage reverberating over heavy pounding percussion enhanced by soaring guitar colouring that is reminiscent, to this listeners ears, of the opening bars to, 70's prog giants, ELP's "Knife-Edge" albeit considerably slower and a lot more menacing. The song then wends and winds its way along dark musical paths holding the listeners attention by shifting through a variety of differing dynamics and musical colourings, its core base of doom drenched riffage enhanced by soaring, tasteful guitar solo's, before resuming its initial refrain to take things to a close. "Treachery" follows and begins with a low slow bass line  played over  tinkling, shimmering percussion that is slowly joined by the bands two guitarists, the four musicians combining to take the song on a myriad of ever shifting crunching doom drenched and psychedelic tinted tangents before finally finishing in a deliriously superb, and frankly quite surprising, blues groove. "Violence" rears its head next and like its title suggests is an epic tome informed by pummelling percussion and vicious refrains but also by moments of simmering moody ambiance that perfectly reflect both musically and dynamically the emotional ebb and flow of its subject matter. "Wrath" closes the album and finds Clouds Taste Satanic in classic stoner doom mode jamming a crunching mid-paced groove replete with scorching heavily effected guitar solo's, the band coming across in places like Sleep on acid. As shown on previous tracks Clouds Taste Satanic are not a band to allow one riff to dictate a groove and so mix things up a little with clever uses of dynamics and time signatures to add an extra level of depth and intensity to grooves that it has to be said are already quite deep and intense to begin with.


If album cover artwork is a reflection of the music contained therein then Clouds Taste Satanic's choice of an Hieronymus Bosh inspired painting by an uncredited artist for "The Glitter of Infinite Hell" is a masterstroke and one that speaks volumes about what lies inside. Doom both musically. lyrically and visually has long been associated with themes inspired by the darker side of the religious spectrum but these themes have often been found to have an almost cartoonish, even at times comedic feel to them, a feeling that the bands in question are just playing with those themes, however this is not the case with Clouds Taste Satanic. There is a feeling, while listening to the four instrumental songs that make up the album, that if Clouds Taste Satanic were to add vocals to their huge musical tomes then the lyrics for those vocals would be some of the darkest, most thought provoking and disturbing ever committed to tape however until/if that time ever arrives you can just... check out the jams....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 29 October 2017

HOUND ~ BORN UNDER 76 ... review


Desert Psychlist sometimes wonders what those men and women, ripped from their homelands and forced to work under the yoke of slavery, would make of the way their simple songs, sang to alleviate their burdens, have evolved into that which we now call the blues, especially when they found those songs had been adopted by long haired and bearded white men, electrified,swamped in swathes of fuzz and played at ear-splitting volumes like those delivered by Philadelphia's Hound on their new album "Born Under 76" (Let's Pretend Records)


Hound, Perry Shall (guitar/vocals), Chris Wilson (drums) and Pat Hickey (bass), are not your archetypical blues rock band, for a start there is just a hint of punky aggression and attitude to be found within their grooves along with large doses of desert/stoner gritty fuzz and distortion. Hound's approach to the blues comes from a slightly left of field position, a position not dissimilar to that taken back in the day by cult 70's bluesters The Groundhogs, in fact it is not unfair to say there are times, while listening to the twelve tracks that make up "Born Under 76", that the casual listener might be fooled into thinking he/she is actually listening to a present day version of that band such are the musical and vocal similarities. Perry Shall's vocals, on songs like "Eyes In The Dark", "Demon Eyes" and "Best Wishes", have a more than a essence of "The 'Hogs" Tony McPhee's vocal inflections and tones about them especially when they are combined with his slightly phased and spacey guitar tones. Hound are not all about one man however and Wilson and Hickey support Shall's vocals and guitar with a dazzling array of rhythmic grooves, Hickey filling in the spaces left by Shall's vocals and guitar with big grumbling bass lines while Wilson holds down his end with tight powerful displays of industrious percussive might, the pair forming the perfect frame for Shall's vocal and six-string portraits.


Although the blues, in one shape or another, inform most of the songs on "Born Under 76" it would be wrong to suggest this is a "blues" album, on songs like "Two Horns" and the punky "Bad One" the band step momentarily outside of their delta drenched comfort zones and jump into harder more aggressive territories showing that when the song calls for it they are quite capable and willing to mix it up and are not just one trick ponies.
Check it out .....


© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 28 October 2017

MOJO WIZARD ~ THE MYSTIC PEEPHOLE ... review


The late 60's early 70's was a time of change musically, a time when the youth of the day were discovering new found freedoms both culturally and sexually with those freedoms reflected in the music they chose to both listen to and play. These early experimentations with sound, accelerated by the newer technology of big powerful amplifiers and signal altering effect pedals, has to a large extent coloured everything we listen to today especially within the undergrounds burgeoning doom,stoner and psych scenes where "retro" is not seen as a dirty word but as a badge of honour.
Quebec's Mojo Wizard have no bones about declaring their allegiances to the past the Canadian four piece describing their sound as "heavy and intoxicating rock that brings back to life the era of jean coats and rolled cigarettes", whether that description exactly nails what Mojo Wizard brings to the table you will have to decide for yourself by giving the bands new album "The Mystic Peephole" a listen.


Mojo Wizard, Rico Desjardins (vocals & keys), Guillaume Couture (bass). Maxime Lussier (percussion) and Karim M'sallem (guitar), have with "The Mystic Peephole" created an album that takes all those good vibrations from the past and merges them with all that is currently rocking the boat of the rock's underground scene today, blending the resulting mix in such a way as to retain a certain level of "old school" familiarity yet at the same time a feeling of  modern freshness and innovation. Bluesy psychedelic grooves served up with a large helping of stoner/desert fuzz was the name of the game with Mojo Wizard's first release "EP", the four Canadians jamming a sound informed by swirling guitar solo's, crunching riffage and tight rhythmic patterns but with "The Mystic Peephole" the band have shifted their focus towards a more expansive sound, bringing in keyboards to not only fill out their sound but to also add an element of lysergic spaciousness to their grooves. Songs like " Euphoria", with it's trippy intro segueing into a grizzled stonerized blues groove and "Pheromone Mist", with it's early psych vibe, head spinning lyrics and scorching guitar screaming finale, are fleshed out by swathes of cleverly placed keyboard texturing that lift the songs, already impressive grooves, from being good to bordering on being outstanding. Mojo Wizard show they can also get down and dirty too as on the spacey doom-lite opener "Move" and the fuzz drenched rocker "Are You Satisfied", the band proving not only can they take off on acid hued flights of fancy but they can rock out with the best of them also.  Factor into these musical equations Desjardins clean, distinctive vocal tones, Couture's gnawing,growling bass lines, Lussier's mix of rock solid tight and jazzy laid back percussion, M'sallem's swirling lysergic solo's and fuzz drenched riffs and you arrive at a sound that although rooted in the psychedelic blues and hard rock of the past has more than a firm grip on the grooves of the present and maybe even those of the future.
Check 'em out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 27 October 2017

YEAR OF THE COBRA ~ BURN YOUR DEAD ... review


Year of the Cobra, Amy Tung (bass, vocals.keys) and Jon Barrysmith (drums), seemed to be everywhere all at once after the release of their debut album "...In The Shadows Below", the duo garnering favourable mentions and praise in both the mainstreams music magazines and the web's underground press. This level of appreciation was achieved not by being in the right place at the right time but by a combination of sheer hard work, hauling their asses around the club circuits getting a reputation as a must see live act,  and having a sound and groove that appealed to both those lovers of the gnarly riff and those that appreciate a good melody alike. Amy and Jon return this year with another offering of riffs and melody with their latest release "Burn Your Dead"  (Magnetic Eye Records).


First offering "Cold" starts with Tung laying down a low, slow heavily distorted bass line accompanied by Barrysmith's percussion, the drummer keeping things economic but solid, laying out when Tung enters with her vocals. on the verses, supporting her with a heavier touch on the chorus. Tung's vocals are sublime, her slightly sweet, slightly ethereal tones although not having the bluesy power of say Holy Grove's Andrea Vidal nonetheless have a strength and clarity perfectly suited to the grooves set around them. "The Descent" follows, Tung introducing the song with a warm clean jazzy bass motif before Barrysmith's drums crash in and the song takes off into mid-tempo soulful territory with Tung singing of  "putting one foot in front of the other"  and telling us "don't look back" over a backdrop of sensual undulating groove. "Burn Your Dead" explodes from the speakers with Tung and Barrysmith hitting a strident stoner/punk rock groove that recalls the early days of Fu Manchu and Nebula and briefly visits doomier climes mid-song before once again hitting the safety pin and ripped t-shirts trail to take things to a close. "The Howl" finds YOT bringing things back down nearer to earth with a tune that has an edgy space feel thanks, in part, to its phased  bass lines and keyboard effects. Tung tailors her voice perfectly to match the songs groove as she croons, whispers and sings her lyrics but it is the duo's musical interaction that really catches the ear here, Barrysmith's drumming on this track is a masterclass in restraint and release, the drummer knowing when to lay out and when to let loose, his percussive might perfectly matched by Tung's intricate, and at times breathtaking, bass playing. "And They Sang.." closes proceedings and sees YOT continuing the phasey attack of the previous track but this time at higher tempo. Tung's vocals taking on an aggressive almost sneering tone that perfectly compliments the songs 100mph drum and bass onslaught.


On the strength of the five songs to be found and enjoyed on "Burn Your Dead" Desert Psychlist predicts another busy and successful year ahead for Year of the Cobra  ....and then the one after that, and the one after that, and the........
Check it out here.



© 2017 Frazer Jones                                                                                                                                   

Thursday, 26 October 2017

REPTILIAN ILLUMINATI ~ DARK/LIGHT .... review


The Free Dictionary defines the word "sound bite" as "a short audio or video clip taken from a speech or press conference and broadcast", this definition can be extended to movie clips, and even snippets of music and is a trick long been used by artists and bands in the underground rock scene to furnish their songs with an added level of interest and impact. Australian prog-doom instrumentalists Reptilian Illuminati have taken this little trick a step further with their album "Dark/Light", the quintet from MelbourneMatthew Brennan (guitar), Terry Pietrosanto  (guitar), Dean Astrella (guitar), Dexter Karpe (bass), and Matty Innes (drums), have taken those sound bites and weaved them into and around their dark grooves of progressive doom not only to furnish those grooves but also to document their story. 


"Dark/Light" is a conceptual album exploring the phenomenon of UFO's and the mystery that surrounds them by integrating into swirling, sometimes brutal, sometimes gentle and ambient, grooves of complex and intricate progressive doom metal snippets lifted from documentaries, news reports and interviews, using them not, as is often the case, as an introduction to a song but as part of that song. Each song on "Dark/Light" refers to an incident, sighting involving a UFO encounter, songs with titles like "Roswell N.M. 1947", "Rendlesham Forest" and "Ruwa, Zimbabwe" are, along with swathes of crunching riffage, subtle arpeggios, searing solo's and a diverse array of bass and drum groove, filled with eye witness accounts and reports concerning those incidents weaved cleverly into the heart of those songs. Instrumental music can often alienate listeners used to having a screaming front man at the helm but Reptilian Illuminati's use of these samples/snippets/bites within the structures of their tunes, instead of at the start or finish, manages to alleviate that need for a vocalist and makes for a more complete and satisfying instrumental experience.
Check it out ..... 

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

HELA ~ DEATH MAY DIE ... review


Conceptual albums these days can be a tricky thing to get right, artists want/need to tell their stories via songs connected to each other by a theme but at the same time a band needs those songs to stand up in their own right, especially in today's digital age where music buyers can purchase the tracks they like and leave those they don't.  It's a brave move by any band these days to attempt to release a conceptual album but when it's done right it can be a beautiful thing.
Spanish groovsters HelaMireia Porto (vocals and guitars), Julián Velasco (guitars and fx),  Tano Giménez (bass) and Miguel Fernandez (drums), are one band unafraid to tackle the minefield of the concept album and with new album "Death May Die"(Discos Macarras Records for CD's/ Lay Bare Recordings for Vinyl), a tale of one girls struggle against all odds to find and be herself, they have found a perfect balance between songs that can work thematically and also work independently of that theme.


"The Gateway" opens "Death May Die", an ominous low, slow doom groove with demonic breathy vocals growling beneath a foreground of pounding percussion, grizzled bass and sinister circular riffage which is swiftly followed by "Mother of Monsters" a song that although rooted very much in the occult/doom/stoner metal genre has a thread of alt/grunge dynamics running through its veins and is the albums first track to feature Mireia Porto's vocal tones. Porto brings a different aesthetic to Hela's sound than her predecessor Isabel Sierras, a little less ethereal, a little darker around the edges but just as powerful, her voice and guitar playing a perfect fit for the slightly more progressive doom grooves that she VelascoGiménez and Fernandez are presently experimenting with. This is never more evident than on next track "Touched By Evil" a song that finds Porto wailing banshee-like melodies over a backdrop of constantly shifting groove, Fernandez and Giménez combining to lay down a plethora of diverse rhythms and growling bass lines for Velasco and Porto to weave their six string magic around with the former ripping some scintillating lead work from his strings and fretboard. "Dark Passage" finds Hela toying with post-rock textures and alt-rock dynamics around what must be Porto's best vocal performance on the album, the guitarist/vocalist stretching her vocal chords to their limit and in doing so adding a gritty edge to her tone giving the songs dark progressive and metallic grooves an added level of power and emotion. "Repulsion" has the band mixing it up musically between moments of crushing brutality and moments of quiet reflection with Porto's sweetly sang mantra of "walking with my head down", in the songs more tranquil section, a complete contrast to her more forceful aggressive tones elsewhere.
"Bodies In Hell" brings "Death May To Die" to a close  with a song that sees Hela really embracing those progressive metal elements that have been threatening to break out on previous tracks. Velasco and Porto between them lay down a swathe of exotic tinted riffs, fills and solo's over a tumultuous array of rhythm'n'groove, expertly laid down by Fernandez and Giménez, with Porto mixing up her vocals accordingly, even getting a little growly and grizzly in the songs closing moments.


Hela were always a good band but with the addition of Porto on second guitar and vocals they have evolved into a great band and "Death May Die" with it's darker edges, progressive leanings and conceptual theme stands as a fitting testament to that evolution.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

TUNA DE TIERRA ~ TUNA DE TIERRA ... review


When reviewing Tuna de Tierra's "EPisode I Pilot" back in August 2015 Desert Psychlist made the observation that the Italian trio from Napoli existed in a hinterland between the riff heavy fuzz of the likes of Fu Manchu and Kyuss and the more experimental stoner/psych of the likes of Sungrazer and Colour Haze, well the band, Alessio De Cicco (guitar, vocals), Luciano Mirra (bass guitar) return this year with a new drummer, Marco Mancaniello, and a new full length album, "Tuna de Tierra" (Argonauta Records), so let's see if those observations still ring true.


As the opening bars of instrumental first track "Slow Burn" ring out from the speakers its fairly obvious that Tuna de Tierra's modus operandi of delivering heavily fuzzed refrains over an array of ever shifting rhythmic groove is still in place, De Cicco's guitar soars like an eagle riding thermals over Mirra's throbbing bass lines and Mancaniello's solid, tight percussion, the resulting sound having an almost Floydian feel to it. Next track "Morning Demon" sees Tuna de Tierra hitting a Colour Haze-ish groove fractured by moments of gnarly fuzz drenched aggression with Mirra's bass the anchor around which De Cicco weaves  a mixture of lysergic guitar textures and crunchimg riffage while at the same time delivering mellow, clean and slightly laid back vocals ably supported from beneath by Mancaniello's sympathetic drumming. "Out of Time" follows and finds De Cicco laying down gentle vocal tones over the top of a circular guitar motif backed by liquid clean bass lines and restrained jazzy percussion. "Long Sabbath's Day"could almost be described as a spiritual and incorporates gospel like handclaps backed by what sounds like a bass string being stroked and tapped with De Cicco crooning and moaning gently over head. "Rise of the Lights" changes the mood by jamming a groove that has an almost indie blues vibe and recalls to this listeners ears the early sound of British alternative/indie blues purveyors Gomez both musically and in its vocal melodies. "Mountain" again sees Tuna de Tierra wandering into Colour Haze territory only this time with a hint of eastern mysticism bubbling just beneath the surface. Mancaniello lays down a restrained but totally effective tribal beat around which Mirra weaves intricate and jazzy bass lines, De Cicco adding subtle textured guitar colouring while gently crooning dreamy, heartfelt vocals. Final song "Laguna" initially keeps things dreamy and lysergic with De Cicco's warm vocals sitting a little lower in the mix but then slowly grows in tempo moving briefly into a heavily psychedelic blues groove before morphing once again and erupting into a fuzz heavy stoner refrain and taking things to a deliciously noisy close.


Heady, trippy and experimental yet at the same time solid, fuzzy and structured "Tuna de Tierra" is an album that delivers on many levels and is one that deserves to be heard by those that like their desert/stoner grooves hard and heavy as well as those who prefer their grooves a little on the loose and lysergic side.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Monday, 23 October 2017

THE ROAD MILES ~ BALLADS FOR THE WASTELAND ...review


Books have long been the inspiration for songs, albums and artwork, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Dennis Wheatley and J.R. Tolkien have, over the years, all been cited as influences for numerous musical projects and themes. Now it seems we must add to that list the name of master of modern horror Stephen King as Desert Psychlist has, over the course of this year, had the pleasure of reviewing two artists inspired by his The Dark Towers saga. The first album was Heavy Temple's "Chassit" released in January, the second has just seen the light of day and comes from Greek stoner/ blues psychonauts The Road Miles and flies under the banner "Ballads for the Wasteland".


Inspired not so much by the story of The Dark Towers but more by the essence of that story "Ballads of the Wasteland" concentrates on the saga's Wild West themes of gunslingers, deserts and uncertain futures told over the course of seven atmospheric songs. The Road MilesAfroditi Tavoulari (vocals),  Alex Darmis (keys),  Anargiros Pantazis (drums). Epameinondas Koutsoumpas (guitar), Michael Chrysos (guitar) and Yannis Efthymiou (bass), have on previous outings toyed with cinematic aspects within their music but here they expand those cinematic aspects onto a bigger screen, creating a movie for the mind with their lyrics and grooves. Reverberating guitars echoing over atmospheric swirling keyboards pushed by a diverse array of rhythms and grooves set the scenes around which Afroditi Tavoulari tells tales of men dressed in black, scorching suns and camp fires burning, her dark distinctive tones switching between ethereal and bluesy to half whispered, half spoken as an when the song dictates, her slightly jazzy delivery adding an extra level of cinematic authenticity to proceedings. These vocal tones when combined with the superbly intricate and complex arrangements and dazzling instrumental skills of each and every member of the band create a series of atmospheric and absorbing audial vistas that are a joy to experience.


Each song on "Ballads for the Wastelands" stands on its own merit but is also an integral part of its whole so it would be remiss to pick and choose favourites, this is an album that works best heard from start to finish and enjoyed and savoured as a whole rather than just a collection of individual songs.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 22 October 2017

GODS & PUNKS ~ INTO THE DUNES OF DOOM ....review


Desert Psychlist once again revisits Brazil, a country fast becoming a major player on the underground scene, to bring you yet another band of groovsters demanding your attention. This time the band in question are,  Alexandre  Canhetti (vocals), Pedro Canhetti (lead guitar), Danilo Oliveira (bass), Rafael"Psy" Daltro (rhythm guitar) and Arthur Rodrigues (drums), a quintet going by the quite unusual but memorable name of  Gods & Punks who have just released their debut album " Into The Dunes of Doom"


Gods & Punks are a band who wear their admiration for 70's hard rock proudly on their collective sleeves but are not a band defined by that sound, the five members bringing to the table elements of swirling psych, cosmic space and good old stoner fuzz to beef out their slightly proto grooves and give them a modern, yet still very retro, feel. From the Ozzy-ish vocal refrains of opener "Dunes of Doom" through the excellent "Signs of Life", with it's clever guitar and bass interplay, and the swirling instrumental "Mushroom Cloud", with it's bluesy guitar solo's played over an ever shifting pattern of diverse grooves, to the epic closer "The Encounter" with its sprawling canvas of progressive textures fleshed out by guest Ronaldo Rodrigues' superb keyboard flourishes, there is not a minute, second when the listeners attention is allowed to drift, the band holding them rapt and absorbed with where this band might lead them next.


Retro yet modern, heavy yet gentle, basic but at the same time full of complexity Gods & Punks have, with " Into the Dunes of Doom", made an album that ticks all the right boxes and has something to offer to the full spectrum of underground rock fans be they young bearded doomers or middle aged rockers looking to relive their past.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 21 October 2017

HAZEMAZE ~ LIVE AT COPPERFIELDS .... review


Live recordings can be a little hit and miss, sometimes they can show a band at the height of their powers able to improvise and take songs, that in the studio sound a little stilted, into another dimension. On the flip side of the coin live recordings can also show a bands failings and reliance on studio technology to bolster their musical shortcomings. Sweden's HazemazeLudvig Andersson (Guitar/Vocals), Nils "Ein" Einéus (Drums) and Estefan Carrillo (Bass), however have taken a different approach, the trio from Stockholm avoiding those comparisons mentioned earlier by releasing a live recording " Live At Copperfields" prior to any studio output.


"Lies" opens the EP with Carrillo laying down some funky bass slowly joined by Einéus on drums and Andersson on guitar the trio slipping into a comfortable blues groove that is somehow enhanced by the echo and presence of the club environment it has been recorded in. Andersson injects touches of Trower-esque guitar colouring into proceedings as well as handling all the vocals, his clean strong voice possessing all the attributes needed for this style of music, a gruff edge in the lower register and a clean strong blues holler at the other end of the spectrum.
"Wall of Confusion" follows and again finds the trio in heavy blues territory this time blended with a little hard rock grittiness and recalls in places 70's proto-metal cult heroes Truth & Janey if maybe a little less psychedelic.
"Feedback & Black Mamba" sees Hazemaze adding a darker edge to their grooves, the trio not so much getting low,slow and heavy but definitely heading in that general direction.  Einéus and Carrillo lay down an impressive array of rhythmic backdrops for Andersson to paint over with his distinctive vocal tones and swirling bluesy riffs and solo's, the vocalist/guitarist even getting a little vocally demonic and growly in places.
"Lord Cubensis"  finds Andersson sermonising like a lay preacher telling us his "skin is crawling like a snakepit" over a foundation of crunching blues flecked proto-doom perfectly fleshed out by Einéus' pulverising percussion and Carrillo's growling bass with Andersson peeling of some scintillating lead guitar to take things to the close.
"Doom" finishes the bands set with a doom drenched slow blues textured with shards of psychedelic guitar colouring weaved over and around an atmospheric backdrop of perfectly executed bass and drums with Andersson proclaiming loudly  that he "don't want To live" before suddenly taking off into a mid-tempo Sabbath-esque proto-doom groove then settling down again into its original bluesy groove to finish.


Hazemaze are currently in the studio recording their debut album and if their studio recorded output is anything like the grooves to be found on "Live At Copperfields" we are in for a treat
Check it out ...

© 2017 Frazer jones

Friday, 20 October 2017

DESERT COLOSSUS ~ OMNIBEUL .... review


When Desert Psychlist reviewed Desert Colossus' self titled debut "Desert Colossus" back in January 2016 the words punky, hard rock and fuzz were mentioned as well as comparisons to Kyuss, Fu Manchu and The Truckfighters, so with the release of a brand new album "Omnibeul" we have to ask the question do those mentions and comparisons still hold water today?
Thankfully, and with the addition of  a little more muscular oomph and musical focus, the answer is a resounding yes! Raucous grooves of chainsaw fuzz and insistent rhythmic might are the order of the day as Dutch groovsters Desert Colossus take you on a musical road trip through their world with nine of the most fuzzilicious grooves your likely to hear coming from our side of the big pond this year.


"Omnibeul" kicks off with "White Rabbit", a frenetically paced rocker packed with crunching riffage and strident rhythms overlaid with manic wide eyed vocals, that hurtles along like a runaway train and in doing so tells you, in just 2 minutes and 28 seconds of scintillating stoner/desert groove, everything you need to know about what Desert Colossus do . Desert Psychlist could  leave it just there and just allow the music to do the talking but "Omibuel" is an album that inspires words and deserves to be talked and written about, such is the sheer joie de vivre and sense of fun Desert Colossus bring to the table with their punchy punky.fuzz drenched grooves. Whether borrowing Nirvana-esque licks and vocal inflections, as on "Hustle", or  mixing up their deliciously dusty desert refrains with touches of doomy low and slow atmospherics, ala the superb "Sleeping With Stones", or even when they are getting a little sludgey and alternative. as on the totally schizophrenic "Give Gas Chopperbike", there is a sense that they are doing so with a glint in their eyes and an ever so slightly sardonic smile on their lips.


Desert ColossusFrank Zoomer (vocals/guitar), Frank Fey (drums), Tom Collé (bass) and Leon van Wijk (guitar), should be roundly applauded, not only for creating, with "Omnibuel", an album that pushes all the right buttons both musically and dynamically but also one that leaves the listener wearing a big cheesy satisfied grin on their faces and nodding their heads knowingly.
Check it out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Thursday, 19 October 2017

SICKFIST ~ ADRIFFT .... review


It's not often Desert Psychlist gets to wax lyrical about a band hailing from its own backyard so it's with great pleasure and also a certain amount of pride to introduce you Sickfist, Jed Baker (lead vocals and bass guitar), Rik Spanner (backing vocals and drums), Aris Perperoglou (rhythm guitar) and Max Mayes (lead guitar),  an Essex, UK based quartet who first came to our attention with their three song self titled EP "Sickfist" (2016) and are now just about to release their debut album "Adrifft" (released 21st October 2017).


The first thing that hits you when listening to the eight tracks that make up "Adrifft" (nine if you download the digital version where you get a bonus track "Godzilla") is that although the grooves owe a huge debt to the stoner/desert grooves of the USA and and Europe the vocals  have a quintessential Englishness in their feel, tone and delivery. Clean with a slight indie vibe their initial impact comes as quite a surprise on first listening, especially to those who may be used to the more growlier, throatier styles that are the norm in this genre, but as the album progresses the ear gets accustomed to their tone and delivery and the listener begins to appreciate the elements of uniqueness and quirkiness they bring to the proceedings. Musically Sickfist are all about the fuzz and Perperoglou  and Mayes lay it down thick and grizzly backed superbly by Spanner's solid, tight percussion and Baker's grizzly bass.


Like The Who did  before them Sickfist write anthems for their generation, telling tales of disillusionment and detachment against backdrops of warm, fuzz drenched stoner/desert groove as on "Isolate" where Baker sings "Play my music loud to block out reality,standing in a crowd trying to hang on to sanity, enclosed in a bubble I can feel serenity, get out of my face, don't invade my space", voicing the angst and frustrations felt by disenfranchised youth and young adults and once again proving that rock music works best when its angry and pissed off!
Check 'em out....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Monday, 16 October 2017

BEERWOLF ~ PLANETFALL .... review


Florida may be feeling a little battled and bruised since Hurricane Irma blustered and blew her way across its coastlines, towns and cities but the people there are a resilient bunch and hopefully it wont be too long before they are back on their feet rebuilding, repairing and slowly putting their lives back together What effect these recent events have had on Florida's local music scenes is as yet unknown but if the posters announcing an "After Hurricane Party" on Tampa juggernauts Beerwolf's Facebook page are anything to go by then things are soon gonna be back on track!
Beerwolf, Jason Kleim (vocals and bass guitar), Matthew Howland (lead guitar) and AJ Prasad (drums), have been a bit quiet on the recording front since the release of their debut album "Oracle's Prophecy" in 2015 but the Tampa, Florida  band have returned this year with new ideas, a new focus and in "Planetfall" a brand new album.


Title track "Planetfall" opens Beerwolf's new opus, a throbbing doom-laden instrumental crammed with dark swathes of heavily phased riffage and pulsating rhythms, then goes full circle to finish with "Epilogue" another instrumental this time marked by it's swirling spacey effects and slightly heavier Hawkwind vibe. In-between these two tomes of instrumental diversity, however, are found the real meat and potato's of Beerwolf's groove and sound with songs like "Eagle Shirt", "Crom's Steel" and "Bones of Titan" showing a definite leaning towards the old school aesthetics of 70's hard/classic rock sprinkled with an even pinch of gnarly stoner/desert fuzz all coated in strong clean vocals. Beerwolf do dip their toes into the instrumental pool again with "Haze Arcane" and "Serpentine Fiend", both excellent jams replete with swirling guitar solo's screaming over grizzled bass lines and solid punchy percussion but it is when the band turn to delivering actual songs they really come into their own.


"Planetfall" is a superb album that's sure to be a serious contender for many of those end of year lists so beloved by fans and critics alike and one that's gonna be spinning on a regular basis here in the Desert Psychlist bunker.
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 15 October 2017

HELLRAD ~ COUNTING SINS .... review


When a band cite among their main musical influences such luminaries as Black Sabbath, Motorhead, St.Vitus and Corrosion of Conformity you get a fairly good idea of what to expect from them when they finally release a product. Philidelphian trio Hellrad deliver on all those expectations with their debut release, a raucous riff fuelled romp they describe as "ugly sludge metal", flying under the title "Counting Sins".


Hellrad make no apologies for what they do, the trio of Mike Hook (guitar), Herb Jowett (bass, vocals) and Benjamin Harris (drums), intend to give no quarter in their attempts to slay all before them with their raucous riffage, pulverising grooves and big throaty vocal tones. First track "The Night" opens innocently enough with a brief droning effect then Lepor's drums kick in and all hell breaks loose, the drummer quickly joined by Hook's guitar and Jowlett's bass, the band erupting into a face melting stoner/sludge groove fragmented with lysergic atmospherics over which Jowett also delivers grizzled vocal tones. Following track "No Getting Out" follows a similar path but with  slightly doomier undertones it's menacing moodiness heightened by Jowett dropping his vocals down into a sinister half spoken, half sang growl and is further enhanced by Hook's clever use of guitar dynamics and Harris' astonishingly powerful drum skills. "Staring At The Walls" is up next and is akin to being hit by a truck such is the force of its ferocity and intensity, both Jowett's voice and bass growling in, over and  around Hook's crunching guitar riffs and Lepor's pummelling rhythms . Final track "Counting Sins" closes the album with a pulsating stoner/sludge groove that finds Jowlett roaring about "finding the truth" and announcing "this is your fate" against a backdrop coloured by growling bass riffage and punishing percussion finished with searing shards of dark guitar colouring, Hellrad finally closing proceedings the way they started them in a wave of droning noise..


Sludge metal has a tendency towards unrelenting brutality but the four songs that make up "Counting Sins"are balanced with elements of atmospheric light and shade saving what, on paper, looked to be just another riff fest into something quite dynamic and highly enjoyable
Check it out ....

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Saturday, 14 October 2017

YOUNG HUNTER ~ DAYHIKER .... review


The art of songwriting and arrangement sometimes gets a little overlooked within this scene we call the underground, too often we get side-tracked by the sheer power of the riffs on display and tend to forget about everything else that actually goes into making a song work. Fortunately there are still bands out there who although duly able to supply crunching refrains and punchy rhythms also understand the importance of well written, well structured songs to accompany them.
One such band are Young HunterBenjamin Blake (vocals, guitar), Sara Pinnell (vocals, keys), Erik Wells (guitar), Sam Dean (bass) and Grant Pierce (drums), a quintet from  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania who's mix of melody and might can be witnessed on their latest full length outing "Dayhiker". (Fear and The Void Recordings)


"Dayhiker" is a stunningly eclectic album and one that at times may come across as a little schizophrenic but is also one that is highly enjoyable , an album that mixes genres and styles from across the board but does so without losing its focus or sense of its own identity. Elements of Americana, psych, stoner and classic rock are all touched upon as Young Hunter take you on journeys through their world via seven songs of both smile inducing and spine-tingling excellence. Vocals are handled individually and jointly by Blake and Pinnell Blake's tone mellow and dreamy,  Pinnell's a mix of ethereal and sweet, their harmonies plus own instrumental contributions, when combined with the superb grooves brought to the table by Wells,Dean and Pierce, giving songs like " In The Shadow of the Serpent", "Entered Apprentice" "and "Dark Age" an almost Fleetwood Mac meets early Sleepy Sun aesthetic.


In summing up Young Hunter have with "Dayhiker" made an album that shows not only a step up in levels of musicianship but also one that shows an elevated maturity in both ideas and songcraft, long may it continue.
Check 'em out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Friday, 13 October 2017

CAPTIVES OF THE VOID ~ HYPNOS .... review


"Fuzzed out riffs. spaced out jams" is how Bradford. UK's Captives of the Void describe their music and to be honest those six words probably sum up their grooves better than Desert Psychlist could do with a hundred but we are gonna give it a go anyway.
Captives of the Void first came onto the radar of the underground's fans and  intraweb press via their self titled debut release "Captives of the Void" a stunning collection of fuzzed out instrumental jams that prompted Fuzz FM to proclaim it as "Some of the best instrumental psych ever conceived", high praise indeed for a debut release and praise well deserved. Now the band, a duo consisting of Jack Larkin and Max Storr, are back fresh from the studio and ready to rock our world with a whole new set of jams flying under the banner of "Hypnos".


Fans of Floydian soundscapes, Earthless type wig outs and Ozric Tentacles like cosmic travelling will all find something to hang their hats on over the course of the eight jams to be found on "Hypnos", jams replete with scorching guitar pyrotechnics, crunching riffage and punchy, pummelling percussion that come at you from a myriad of different directions to entice and delight in equal measure. Whether laying down moody doom edged psych ("It's Not Safe"), eastern tinted lysergic stoner ("The Search") or spacey Ozric tinged fusion ("Joined In Orbit, ft. Tilly Riddle) there is no denying that these guys have a firm grasp of what makes instrumental music work, not only for themselves but also for  the listener. Instrumental music can often lend itself to overindulgence and self importance causing the listeners mind to wander while the guitarist goes off on yet another endless solo this is not the case with Captives of the Void the two musicians allowing each other the space and time to develop ideas and themes within a song and then filling those songs with little twists and turns that peak the interest and keep you guessing where the music may take you to next, taking their listeners with them on heady cosmic trips they will not want to miss a second of.
Check 'em out ...

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Monday, 9 October 2017

CORRODED REALMS ~ NO HEALING FOR TORTURED MIND ... review


Russia still remains a little bit of a mystery to those living outside of its borders, we are never quite sure that things we hear about the country from our governments and news media is really the truth or just political spin, what we can be sure of though, thanks to sites like Bandcamp and Reverbnation, is that there is some damn fine music being made there.
Corroded RealmsRedneck (vocals), Kazak (guitar), Alisher  (guitar), Nil (bass) and Bobrrr (drums), hail from St. Petersburg and jam a groove heavily influenced by the southern sludge and metal refrains of Down, Pantera and Crowbar and first came to Desert Psychlist's notice with their debut album "Widow"(2015) a raucous collection of crunching riffs and rhythms fronted by big throaty vocals, the band have now followed this up with their second full length album "No Healing For Tortured Mind".


Somehow those sounds of southern flecked metal mixed with elements of doom,thrash and hardcore, associated mainly with New Orleans, Louisiana, have migrated their way north from the swamps and bayous of their homeland and found a home in the colder climes of Russian city Saint Petersburg. Well that is how it feels when listening to the ten songs that make up the track listing of Corroded Realms "No Healing For Tortured Mind". If the casual listener happened across the bands second album with no prior knowledge of its origins it would come as no surprise, if when hearing songs like "Grenade In The Mouth", Bone Tomahawk" and "Stone Fire", with their full on metallic grooves fronted by throaty bear like growling, they were not fooled in to thinking that what they were listening to was recorded in some Louisiana studio by a fresh new NOLA band with their eyes on the glittering crowns of Crowbar and Down. Vocalist Redneck shows barely a hint of his Russian accent as he roars Anselmo-like over the crunching powerchords and searing solo's of Kazak and Alisher, his powerful, strong tones superbly backed up by Nil's growling bass and Bobrrr's solid, punchy percussion, the five musicians coming together to create a whirlwind of growling groove that although slightly familiar is at the same time exciting and fresh.


Southern tinted metal can some times sound a little generic in the wrong hands but Corroded Realms, with "No Healing For Tortured Mind", avoid the old clichés by keeping their southern leanings buried beneath an onslaught of bruising metallic bluster allowing those southern tendencies to colour their grooves but not overpower them resulting in an album that swings as much as it swaggers,

© 2017 Frazer Jones

Sunday, 8 October 2017

ACID MAMMOTH ~ ACID MAMMOTH....review


Doom comes at the listener from an increasing array of  musical directions these days, brutal and intense, progressive and complex. psychedelic and swirly variations have all found a niche to call their own beneath the huge shadow cast from the genres dark umbrella. With so many styles of doom to choose from it is however those slightly bluesy, slightly heavier grooves that Black Sabbath brought to the table back in the early 70's that seem to still resonate with listeners the most. Sabbath in looking for a darker, heavier sound, and as the result of an unfortunate incident whereby their guitarist lost the top of his finger, started experimenting with lighter strings and lower tunings and in doing so almost by accident created a sound that many believe birthed what we now call heavy metal and in turn the heavier, lower sound of doom. Greece's Acid MammothChris Babalis (vocals, guitars), Dimosthenis Varikos (bass), Christos... Babalis (guitars) and Marios Louvaris (drums), acknowledge Sabbath's influence on their sound and understand doom's history, using elements of all its various guises to create a sound that blends its past with its present, jamming grooves informed by that which has gone before but which are still very much of today, grooves that can now be heard and appreciated on the bands self-titled debut "Acid Mammoth".




Although Acid Mammoth cite Black Sabbath as their main influence "Acid Mammoth" (the album) is not a recording to go to if expecting or wanting to hear rearranged Iommi riffs and Ozzy type nasal vocal tones, far from it, songs like opener "White Hag", "They Live" and the appropriately titled "Mists of Doom" may have their roots entrenched in the dank proto-doom grooves of the Birmingham four but are in no way bound to them, in fact they are probably closer in sound to the later doom of Candlemass than they are that of Ozzy & Co.  Clean mellow vocal melodies are the order of the day throughout the six songs presented here, melodies sang over a swathe of fuzz drenched and distorted  guitar riffage, grizzled bass and pounding percussion with the occasional scorching guitar solo punching through the mire to throw in a little light here and there. It is however when the band stretch out on longer songs like "Eternal Sleep", with it's undulating vocal melody floating over a backdrop of deliciously atmospheric and restrained doom , and the epic "Black Rites", with it's slightly gothic/occult vibe, shifting time signatures and dark psychedelic undercurrent,  that Acid Mammoth really come into their own and show what a force they can be when given a larger canvas to paint their deliciously dark grooves on.
Check 'em out ..

© 2017 Frazer Jones