Friday, 17 November 2017

ROLLIN' DICE ~ WAY TO THE SUN ... review


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

DOOMSTER REICH ~ DRUG MAGICK ... review


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

BLEEDING MOUNTAINS ~ TREELINE ... review


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

BLACK ROAD ~ BLACK ROAD EP ... review


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

BAD MONSTER BLACK ~ DIABLO ....review


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)
Saviorself
Doper (2017 Version)
Godmoney
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

ARCADIAN CHILD ~ AFTERGLOW ... review


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