Tag Archives: Stoner Rock

Wyatt E. – Exile To Beyn Neharot

(Shalosh Cult, 2017)

Wyatt E. is a three-piece from Belgium (consisting of guitars, synths and drums), recently brought into my attention with their awesome display of steady and hypnotic, yet intense and deeply colourful Psychedelic and Doomy Prog-Rock jamming, with strong nods to the desert ways of classic Stoner. Before this release, they have apparently released one album, similarly containing two about 20min songs such as this one, but after a quick listen of the first one, it is evident the band has progressed musically and aurally even further after their first release.

The first song “Nebuchadnezzar II” starts with ambient whirling synth-effects reminiscent of an ominous wind or a swarm of insects, before adding ritualistic percussion and sitar-sounds, as well as some flutelike synth-effects. A very minimalistic start for the album, yet the listener gets the feeling of high quality and strong emancipation for something mind-blowing, and the listener is not wrong. As the song explodes into a slow and Doomy beat, loud guitars with heavy effects invade our minds. Sounding a bit out of place (like from an old Western movie) at first, the ear gets used to the idea of this section of the song quite quickly, and the trip is on. Going quite intense at parts due to background guitars of heavy audial aesthetics and other synthy effects, the song keeps the listener in it’s grasp nicely to the middle part of the song, where the journey slows down into a Middle-Eastern melody from the guitar (and a cool organ in the background), before exploding into new realms with quite heavily distorted guitars. After yet again a short and more calm part, the song ends in truly awesome sounding Oriental tremolo melodies from a very atmospheric guitar, ending the song in great style. The whole experience lives up to it’s name, bringing to my mind the Babylonian king’s dreams of doom and apocalypse, as told in the biblical narrative.

The second song, “Ode To Ishtar”, starts with some minimalistic but tribal sounding drumming and low thumping basses, backed up with various vintage-sounding synths and howling and chirping synth-like effects, which bring to my mind an astral Babylonian river of futuristic and retro aesthetics. As Ishtar descends further and further into the collective unconscious, the underworld is revealed to be a vast and cosmic place of many layers and plains opposite from anything claustrophobic. As the drumming turns more complicated adding some snares and crashes into the ritual call, more wavy synths and Egyptian-sounding guitars appear, joining the caravan floating on this cosmic river. The whole experience is so pleasant I can imagine spending hours and hours tripping here, letting the river take me to more and more exotic sceneries of the vast and forgotten subconscious. As more drony synths appear and the drumming intensifies further, guitar leads jamming naturally Middle-Eastern melodies take over the experience almost completely, placing the final trance upon the mesmerized listener. A bit halfway through the song, the awesome displays of the musicians and instruments halt down into a stoned transition, before morphing into a quite groovy and jamming beat from the drums, as the other instruments continue their hypnotic riffing while growing slowly into yet another mental climax. The end of the song cuts some of the aural layers down, ending the experience in quite serene states.

While both of the songs deliver perfectly what they intend to do, the second song is a bit better than first one when it comes to overall harmony of the various psychedelic sounds. Both songs have a strong feeling of live-recording into them, which naturally suits this kind of music perfectly.

Altho hypnotic and trancelike, this stuff might be too much as a casual meditative experience for most people, but everyone experienced in psychedelics (and/or longer meditation sessions) will recognize instantly the great psychedelic and spiritual potential of this music.

A heartily recommended release for all fans of intense yet patient aural psychedelia, especially for those with a soft spot for eighties and nineties synth-vibes, classic sustained and hypnotic Prog Rock, and mental Middle-Eastern aesthetics.

I wish a great future of touring and jamming in the studio for this band. They totally deserve it.

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Der Blutharsch And The Infinite Church Of The Leading Hand – Sucht & Ordnung

(WKN, 2016)

At this point of his artistic career, Albin Julius probably is not that interested in answering questions about his musical past under the name Der Blutharsch. After the pretty much total audial transformation of the band (altho certain vibes and attitudes came along for the ride from the previous incarnation of course), the audiences of the group have now been accustomed to the Psychedelic Rock version of Albin’s musical visions, and there is no doubt he will continue to change and progress his musical identity in the future. But right now, we have this new album in our hands.

“Zucht und Ordnung” in German means “Discipline and Order”, a term associated with for example Christian or Fascist authority in society. “Sucht und Ordnung” however means “Addiction and Order”, and as an album stands for quite different mentalities, in its improvised and jamming ways. Recorded live at Pure Sound Studio (Vienna), this album features three songs and about 30 minutes of intense Psychedelic Rock the Der Blutharsch way we have become so familiar with in the recent years. Of course there is s certain discipline and order present in the song structures and performances of the recent material of the band, but nevertheless this is fucking psychedelia, which stands for total assimilation of control.

The album lifts off calmly with moody oriental melodies from the reverberated guitar, backed by ride-cymbals and the ever-expanding synth. But when the drums and basses kick off, I am surprised to hear a Surf Rock beat from the drums, together with an extremely heavy bass jamming sweet melodies with the already jamming distorted guitars. As the song progresses the synths change colour and texture like splashing various paints on a canvas, making me wanna be high as fuck on weed while listening to this song. After a break-like calm sequence the song ends in a sweet rocking beat and high guitar solos, which together with the organ-like synth makes me feel very classic seventies. This is the exact alchemical stuff the godlike albums of old were made from. This band gets it.

The second song starts off more heavy, not quite Doomy but nearly. Here were are introduced to the powerful majestic and almost preaching vocals of Marthynna. There has always been real dominance and sweetness at the same time in her voice, and this song is no different. However, if I was a bit surprised about the Surf Rock drumming in the first song, I am most definitely lifted off my chair when the song turns into a cool intense blast-beat and tremolo-riff driven Blackened kaleidoscope, before sinking again into slower currents. This was something I did quite not see coming from this band, not yet anyway.

The third song is a bit longer than the previous two, starting out really slow, before kicking off with a pretty minimalistic damping guitar riff and steady rocking drum-beat backed with a cool organ-sound and heavily phasing synths. Very classic Stoner (or just ancient Progressive) stuff here, staring at the night sky in the desert high on mushrooms. Marthynna’s chanting vocals fit the song again very well, as do the electrified howling effects taking the hypnotic riffing further into the mind’s eye. The song starts to fade towards the end only making an intense comeback, giving me spiralling chills down my spine. A very steady and well made song ending the album in extremely positive vibes.

In this age of music softwares one tends to forget the awesome power and magic of organic music. This album is a must for all fans of the previous albums of the band (especially after the musical “transformation”), and for all fans of hypnotic, psychedelic and hallucinatory jamming music in general. This album is my personal favourite among the band’s discography of the last five years.

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Spectral Haze – I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains

(Soulseller Records, 2014)

Spectral Haze from Olso is only a couple of years old as a band, but the members have been playing in other Norwegian Doom, Stoner and Black Metal bands for quite some time.

They must have some killer herb (and other substances) in Norway, cuz the amount of quality Psychedelic Stoner bands seems to be quite big.

In the first song the music flows naturally in a groove which brings classic stuff like Iron Butterfly and even Jimi Hendrix to my mind, while the soundscapes remind me of Hawkwind. When we reach the second song, the Hawkwind-influences are very apparent, in a good way. At the beginning of third song the jamming goes so heavy (almost violent and chaotic), the trip turns into a bit anxious, but then comes along a riff banging like “Detroit Rock City” and takes your ship back to orbit. These are pretty much the feelings we will be spending this journey into the deep cosmos.

The bass pounds heavy and low, like in the heavy modern Doom bands, while the guitars are surprisingly thin and filled with a lot of flange and phasing effects, skilfully played, reminding of sixties above all else. The drumming sounds also as if recorded in the sixties (mostly pretty fast jamming full of cool fills, but sometimes slows down to more Rocking pace, or really slow Doom), and the natural talents evident in the playing is very reminiscent of that era as well. The vocals sound very authentic and British, like a mixture of Robert Calvert and Marillion’s Fish.

These dudes know how to create the necessary groove as a band. I’m guessing they function amazingly well on stage as well. The amount of awesome riffs on this release is staggering. There’s basically not a single boring part on this album. Like a 45 min trip, it definitely keeps you in it’s spacy grip, if you wanna listen to this amount of Psychedelia on one sitting.

This is heavy psychedelia, which appeals to you only if you can handle stuff like the biggest influences here (did I mention Hawkwind yet?) with a satisfied grin on your face. For those looking for more chilled (or ultra heavy) modern Doom or Stoner, will be disappointed. This stuff is energetic and old man, as old and energetic as Altamont.

8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

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Waingro – S/T

(Self-Released, 2014)

Waingro from Vancouver proves once more that there is something in the drinking water of that area, making dudes create kicks-ass rocking bands with simple ingredients but hell of a lot of personality and natural skill.

The style Waingro plays (so naturally as if they’ve done it forever), is to me a combination of Stoner Rock, Skate-Punk, Sludge, more modern Hardcore and just plain Rock and Roll. Some aspects of the songs sound like Andrew W.K. going all Epitaph Records, while some sound like I’m a heavily bearded dude riding his bike in the desert, mildly high.

There’s a part where an energetic Punk Rock scene suddenly turns into a really Sludgy Stoned Doom mass, and it works. Sometimes the guitars go all Psychedelic and Seventies on your already convinced mind. Most of the eleven songs are their own little worlds, but always filled with either Punk and Rock energy or groovy Stoner haze.

The drums are played heavenly, complex yet grooving, bringing the essential feelings to whatever musical themes the songs may turn into. The same goes with the guitars. As a band containing a couple of musical styles (quite huge dimensions on their own), the guitars are played with such skill, feeling and ease, you gotta marvel the multitalented gifts of this guy. The bass is played as splendidly as the guitars, having a low but noticeable fantastic pulse to it.

What makes the band really stand out is the use of Hardcore shouting with this kind of music. And the vocals are handled with the same kind of quality every other instrument on this release.

The sounds are top notch, great in quality yet faithful to the music styles in question. The artwork of the album is one of the coolest I’ve seen in awhile, and it totally fits the music.

This album should be very appealing to fans of energetic and rocking music, especially if you happen to like Kyuss, Orange Goblin, The Sword and Hardcore Punk at the same time!

8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki

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