Friday, 20 October 2017
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 Colossus, Frank 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
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
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 ....
Sunday, 15 October 2017
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 Robert Lepor (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 Lepor's 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 ....
Saturday, 14 October 2017
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 Hunter, Benjamin 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
"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
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 Realms, Redneck (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