Maurizio Morea faced something not that uncommon anymore when he set out to record this EP. He had been working with two other musicians and after facing several issues with the other players, like lack of material, time to rehearse and other commitments, Maurizio decided to ‘mutate into a one-man band’. Beginning in November and going through December of 2016, he did whatever it took to make this “Self-Titled” EP into a reality. At the time of writing this review, Maurizio is searching for permanent band members to create more material and get to playing LIVE!!
‘Mantar’ is the lead off and seems a little long as an intro at just over three minutes, but once ‘Zero Uno’ hits, it makes sense and flows perfectly into ‘Zero Due’ both tracks showing the influences of bands like KARMA TO BURN and KYUSS. ‘Road To Aokigahara’ takes you off across the horizon of lilting floating notes that echo endlessly across your tongue, all the while almost sounding like some spaced-out spaghetti western music slowly fading out to nothing and then, before you know it ‘Zero Tre’ comes in and wraps it all together. The melody and drum line remind you of where this started 20 mins ago and answers all queries your mind may have asked during the flow of this short journey throughout. I completely get the one-man routine as I have done this myself over the years a few times and to me, this seems the perfect vehicle for this man from Italy to make his vision materialize… give it your time and let it envelop you.
Emanating from the dunes of – Sunlight -Virginia as FREEDOM HAWK, they describe themselves as “Heavy, head-spinning blend of 60’s acid and fuzzy bluesy guitar with generous helpings of melodic 70’s Soul, Blues, Hard Rock, and 90’s Stoner Metal.” The resulting brand of rock capitalizes on the best of the heavy ‘70’s, but presents a fuzzy take that’s modern and based around quality songwriting rather than ‘style-over-substance’ retro posturing.
Formed in 2003 when T.R. Morton (vocals/guitar), Mark Cave (bass) and Lenny Hines (drums) began jamming in Virginia Beach, the band began getting serious to the tasks of rehearsing and performing in 2004 when Mark’s brother Matt Cave joined the fold. The first release was “Sunlight” in 2008, followed up in 2009 with an EP titles “Freedom Hawk”, both receiving positive press helping to grow the fan base and leading them to stoner-rock label Small Stone that released “Holding On” in 2011 and “Into Your Mind” in 2015.
From the first note of “Sunlight”, I thought I had stumbled across some unreleased tracks from BLACK SABBATH’s “Never Say Die” LP, not even imagining that was a new band with a direction that had seemingly been MIA for some time. From the beginning of opener “Executioner”, through “Land Of The Lost”/”Sunlight”/”Stand Back” and “Lightning Charge” there is no doubt that this is NOT your daddy’s Sabbath but something special to NOT be missed. Standout track for me and a sign of what is coming forth is “King Of Order” that for five minutes and 40 seconds is a full on assault using that pull no punching while traversing the spectral skies of psychedelia before putting you back on your feet. On the first listen, I had left it rolling as I tried to decide what to listen to next and at ten minutes, 3 seconds, all of a sudden, an unlisted song began with a funky bassline, trippy little guitar bubbles and this DAVID JOHANSEN style verse begins. It is SO unlike anything else by these guys but quite enjoyable. Reminded me of the same sort of moment I had had with NIRVANA’s “Nevermind” cd with all that silence at the end then BOOM!!!!
“Sunlight” had been relegated to ‘digital only’ status after the band had done the ‘self-released’ CDs back in 2009. Ripple Music is now giving this release the treatment it has deserved since it was completed. Two vinyl versions and a CD version will be forthcoming towards the end of January 2017. FREEDOM HAWK will be hitting the road with new guitarist Brendan O’Neil (PESTILENCE CHOIR) and ask you to spread the word, spread the bird!! Just DO IT and let FREEDOM HAWK fly!!
Outlaws Nation Joint Interview: An Interview with CHILD
Blueside – December 2, 2016 Vinyl /CD / DD
Kozmik Artifactz / Bilocation Records
It’s been a while since Matthew over at Taste Nation LLC and myself participated with a joint interview. We decided to interview rising Aussie Hard Rock/Blues/Stoner Rock Trio – CHILD.
CHILD first burst onto the scene in 2014 with their celebrated and acclaimed self titled debut album. It won a wide range of praise from fans and critics alike. CHILD have just released their incredible new album – Blueside – which has seen their reputation enhanced further.
CHILD play a soulful kind of Blues/Stoner Rock with a lot of room for heavy riffs amongst the tender moments. CHILD have kindly agreed to doing this interview. So lets get started.
OOTS – Outlaws Of The Sun
TN – Taste Nation
OOTS – Hi guys. Thanks for doing this joint interview with myself and Matthew from Taste Nation. How things with you all today.
Very well! Looking forward to talking with you
TN – There seems have been a lot of albums released this past year (2016) that are rock albums with various levels of blues mixed in. On the contrary, you fine gents have produced a stellar BLUES ROCK album!! That said, where/who are your sources of influence?
In our case influence comes from anywhere that turns us on. Apart from the obvious, we draw a lot of good feelings from late 60’s early 70’s Australian Music. Acts Like Billy Thorpe and The Aztecs, Masters Apprentices, Coloured Balls and Chain to name a few.
OOTS – Congrats on your excellent new album. What can people expect from the album.
We tried to be as honest as we could with this record. We hope it gets listened to and felt as opposed to just being heard.
TN – The progression from your debut to “Blueside” is pretty significant. Was your approach to this album different?
For this record we took more time to utilize pre-production and played the songs live as much as we could before recording them.
OOTS – It seems you guys have came out of nowhere over the last few years and created quite an impact within the Stoner Rock community Has it surprised you the way people have enjoyed your music and the Stoner Rock community in general.
We are really happy people are enjoying what we do. We like the idea of appealing to whoever feels it. Can’t thank all the supporters enough.
TN – What comes first, lyrics or music?
Whichever feels right at the time.
OOTS – What is the songwriting dynamic within the band. Is it a group collective or is it down to one individual.
Some songs come from preconceived and others come from jams. No song is completed without the whole input of each member of Child. It has always worked out best for us when we play and write as a unit.
TN – “Blueside” is garnering quite a bit of positive praise among the Independent / Underground community. Has this bled into any commercial attention like radio airplay?
There has been a great show of affection for ‘Blueside’ so far but no commercial attention that we know of as yet.
OOTS – Has touring Australia on a regular basis helped you prepare physically and mentally to do a more grueling tour abroad. And will you be touring Europe anytime soon.
It definitely has because Australia and Indonesia aren’t the easiest places tour. By the time we got Europe at the end of 2015. We had developed a good enough work ethic to tour at length without too much problem. We are looking to get back to Europe in mid 2017.
OOTS – The album is being released on Kozmik Artifactz again. How did you hook up with them. Did you have any other offers to release your album.
Kozmik Artifactz produce top notch releases and we had no reservations working with them again.
TN – Why did you call the album “Blueside”. Any specific meaning to you as a group.
It’s a combination of words that we used to describe the mood of the record.
OOTS/TN – Well guys thanks for doing this interview. Much appreciated. All the best with your new album and future endeavours Hopefully we will see you both in concert if your ever near our respective home–towns in the United States and United Kingdom. Do you have anything else you wanted to say to your fans.
Thanks to all of you for the support. Cant wait to get back to Europe and over to the states to play for you.
Words by Steve Howe, Matthew Thomas and CHILD
Thanks to CHILD for doing this interview. Blueside is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl from Kozmik Artifactz.
Hey Satan is a three piece rock outfit hailing from Lausanne, Switzerland. This is their debut, self titled album, so I’m going to be nice. There’s a couple glaring reasons that I’d hold an initial bias: firstly, if you’ve read my prior reviews, you’d probably know by now that I find overt “Satanic” references to be a bit cliché and lame in this day and age. Not very metal of me, I know, but I really don’t care. What does talking about Satan in 2017 actually mean?? It’s not edgy or dangerous anymore, and it’s so ubiquitous as to be essentially meaningless. It’s not even really that funny or goofy anymore, like it was in the bygone age of Black Widow, or in the early days of Venom. Satan is just extremely tame, and I am not a tame lion. Whatever, I’m just going to let it slide, because every band needs a name and they could do far, far worse. However, Hey Satan also name check Rage Against The Machine as an influence, who are one of my least favorite bands of all time. Really, I can’t stand them. Let’s just not get into it right now, because thankfully there are no badly rapped vocals or pseudo-political lyrics on this album, so it’s kind of a moot point anyway. I’m now being both tangential and unduly negative, so let’s change the subject to the music itself rather than discuss my personal hang-ups, shall we??
What you are going to hear on this album is basically a bunch of well executed, straight up, bluesy riff-rock tunes, with a heavy 90’s grunge influence and a dash of thee old stoner rock thrown in for flavor. You’re not going to hear much in the way of spacey sounds or “lava lamp moments”, as I like to refer to psych sections, though there’s definitely some tasteful usage of the wah-wah pedal and those big, fuzzy guitar tones that have come to define the stoner metal genre. Otherwise, this stew is strictly meat and potatoes. There’s ten songs on here, clocking in at a whopping 36 minutes, so let’s do the math – most of the songs are around the 3-4 minute mark. I can definitively say that Hey Satan have trimmed all the fat from these tunes and left us with the tastiest morsels.
Do you remember the main riff that Monster Magnet busted out on their rendition of the classic Howlin’ Wolf tune, “Evil (Is Going On)”, from their now seminal Superjudge album? It had that ultra-cool vibe, the stop/start chord followed by that rapid, slightly sinister sounding blues walk that used to slay me when I was just a teenage dirtbag, baby. Well, the verse riff from Hey Satan’s first tune, “Fallon City Messiah” sounds remarkably similar, and that’s not a bad thing in my eyes. Not a bad thing at all, it’s a catchy riff, and there are many more memorable riffs to follow. These guys also name drop Led Zeppelin as a main influence, and that’s readily apparent in both the blues-based writing and the lyrics. They’re singing about levees breaking during “Song For A Lost Mariner”, and there’s even a direct lift of a line from “Black Dog” thrown into a song for no good reason at all, other than that it rules. Otherwise, the lyrics are dark and ominous, and they play with some of those taunting hero/anti-hero dichotomies that the above mentioned Monster Magnet have pulled off so well over the years. Stylistically, the vocals are delivered a tad bit differently; they’re smoother overall, less gruff or over the top, and they’ve got that mid-90’s Seattle swagger. The rhythm section sounds HUGE, big drums and bass that sit right in that sweet spot of the pocket like a well-worn leather wallet. I’m digging the production on this one a lot, it really suits their sound.
The songs are mostly straight forward riff driven rockers with varying levels of aggression and big, catchy hooks. They make excellent usage of dynamics and subtle variations, and none of songs overstays its welcome. Later in the album, tunes like “Bastardizer” and “Black Flags Down” definitely demonstrate a more in your face vocal approach, as well as a more punk/hardcore urgency, so although Hey Satan aren’t exactly reinventing the proverbial wheel, they’re not a one trick pony either. The mixture of punk immediacy and dirty blues riffs reminded me of Orange Goblin more than a couple times. It’s pretty obvious that these guys love music and have far more influences than the few that they’ve listed and that I’ve written about. I’m hoping on future releases, they can bring more influences to the fold. There was a reason that music like this was referred to as “cloner rock” in the early 2000’s, because European bands that sounded similar to this were popping up left and right. It’s worth noting that Hey Satan also list Kyuss as an influence. If you recall a bit of rock history, Josh Homme of Kyuss/Queens Of The Stone Age publicly distanced himself from the whole “stoner rock” scene because he thought that too many of the bands were too under the influence of one another. I’d have to agree with him on that point.
Like I mentioned above, this is a debut album, and it’s super solid; it soundly follows in the tradition and heritage of heavy rock. In full disclosure, I’ll take innovation over tradition any day, but hey – that’s just me, and my opinion is hardly the do-all or end-all. I’m just one dude with a pen and a pair of speakers. Ultimately, it’s up to each listener to decide what music works for them. Plenty of folks I know will eat this album up (heck, I’m going to recommend it to some folks I know as soon as I finish writing this), though I personally would like to see a bit more variation and experimentation on their future releases. For me, that’s what ultimately distinguishes one band from all the myriad others that can also nail this kind of sound like it’s second nature. Solid songwriting helps, and Hey Satan have definitely achieved the rare feat of releasing an entire album without a clear clunker. If they can continue in that vein, hey….I’ll gladly take it.
Words by Andy “Ding Dong The Witch Is Dead” Beresky
If you think you may have heard of this release before, well, it’s because you have… BUT there is a double-vinyl release slated for February 2017 of this opus including one side of four that is exclusive bonus material!! If the weight of this release (nearly one pound) doesn’t hit you, the music within certainly will.
Using their self-described recipe of ‘Earth rockin’ drums’, ‘beard growth inducing bass’, ‘fuzzomental guitars’ and the ‘roar of a wolfman’ and a whole lotta beer to hammer out each of these songs into the forms offered here, Plainride classify themselves as ‘Kick-ass stoner rock and roll’ and state that this is something to ‘shake the Earth like a ravaging hurricane filling skies with thundering riffs’ as they push through what many consider to be one of the finest genres to rise from the ashes of the 70’s.
Opening up with “Challenger ’69” there is no doubt this ride is going to be one to remember. One of the shorter tracks here, it is indeed the perfect set-up of what’s to come with the rest of the 13 total songs. “Salt River” is next, starts out with just guitar for two measures, then bass drum for another two, standard back in the 70’s but when you hear “Killed my father with a shovel and a shotgun…” you know it’s about to get deep. That ‘growl of a werewolf’ is a pretty apt description and it suits this band perfectly with tales of such as this. “(The Tale Of) Private John Colter” offers some insight into how the Jackalope entered the fray… less than two minutes long, we are given the back-story of and told that “No body was ever found” leading perfectly into the title track. The chorus belies this tale with the words “Roll on by me, don’t ya roll so slow, use your guns and watch me go”, seemingly speaking from the Jackalope’s perspective. One of the standouts on this is “(The Beards Upon) Mt. Rushmore”. FULL of fuzzy guitar tone and solo’s with a rock-solid rhythm section rolling along, you can’t help but to move and groove along to the end. “The Grailknights” follows this formula taking over your mind as you trudge along keeping pace with these guys, wanting to devour it all. “Beermachine” shows the fuel behind the fire as Plainride describes a major component of who they are, with this pace set to incite your thirst and have you drinking deep to slake the thirst that is now consuming. “Devil At Your Heels” comes out of the gate at full force before slowing to a tempo that pulls you forward into this tale of the ‘very influential’ that seems looming. “Warpdrive” is the last track, but not one that you will leave behind. More than likely, you will want to ‘spark up’ for this 15 minute tune and enjoy the ride as it courses you along.
A ‘must-have’ for 2017 and this repackaging is the pinnacle especially considering the gram weight and will seem like a whole new record with the extra’s and clarity that only vinyl can deliver. I look forward to what Plainride next sonic release as they have raised a very high bar with this epic Debut. Kudos to Ripple Music for putting this album on must needed Wax!
Is there such a thing as progression through regression? Aiming more specifically toward music, can an artist move forward by upping their chops yet presenting a listen more primal than ever before? If so, Goya’s upcoming aural assault could serve as a very plausible definition of such.
Jeff Owens and company have always sniffed around the sludge fire hydrant, albeit cautiously. For “Harvester”, any apprehension is long gone, as the band thrusts forward and mark their territory with menacing abandon. Every second of this four song, forty-minute avalanche of sound is a testament to doomy, crawling, distorted, monolithic and awe-inspiring heaviness at its most extreme. Some may be a bit surprised though too, as Owen’s guitar leads and melody, coupled with soulful, agonized vocals actually make this hit even harder blasting the norms of the genre.
In parting, I’ll just hammer my point in a little bit further – “Harvester Of Bongloads” is a relentless listen meant to touch the listener’s most primordial inclinations. Goya’s best to date and essential to anyone’s collection that likes it HEAVY.
Described as a cocktail of metal/punk/grunge/rock-n-roll, Dealer is a trio out of Oakland that is certainly not lacking in discordant rock solos steeped in crazed post-a-punk-a-lyptica with grunge sprinkled on for “color”… well then. Not my usual taste, but somebody said they really liked these guys so, I better check it out, right??
Opener ‘AM Gold’ is pummeling and thick from the first chord, showing this unit is a machine as opposed to some three chord wankfest, complete with vocals as snarling as the leads. ‘Slur’ comes out of the gate even faster and spares no one from the flying fingers ripping up the guitar in your face, taking me back to the days of bands like Quicksand, full of multi-tone harmonics screaming like so many insects swarming. ‘Total Horse’ / ‘Stone Freak’ / ‘Fester’ / ‘Solar Dominion’ and ‘Cake Walk’ all demonstrate the confidence to shift tempo on a split second and not drop a step marching through nonstop.
Two tracks stood out to me in particular, the first being ‘In The Flesh’ which starts out slower than the rest with a loopy guitar intro, shifts into a faster jaunt before settling in on a lurching pace that pulls you forward without resistance. Longest song on this release, the frantic staccato soloing will not let you get bored but keeps you moving. This is the second best vocal delivery on this record in my opinion. The second standout is the rather lucid cover of ‘She’s As Beautiful As A Foot’ originally done by legends Blue Öyster Cult. Not straying very far from the original, they still manage to put their own signature and feel throughout while still paying homage to the song itself, definitely the clearest vocal performance on here. Hailz for the effort gentlemen!! Great band to watch in 2017………
Suicide Records – Release January 13th, 2017 – Vinyl / CD / DD
Demonic Death Judge had seemingly found their sound on 2012’s “Skygods”, but obviously, five years can change much for a band. I’ll be damned if “Seaweed” isn’t rockin’, forward-thinking proof of that.
For this particular raucous slab or heaviness, the doom and polished sludge (complete with gruff, but fitting vocals) of the past is still very much present, but this time out, the band has added a southern swagger and groove, with a pinch more atmosphere as well. Hell, you even get some banjo for that special Appalachian vibe! Yes indeed, the band is refusing to tread water, but they have found that sweet spot where growth does not mean forsaking the past. No previous fan of the band’s past efforts should feel abandoned; if they do- Shame on them! This is the kind of boundary expansion you want for musicians and DDJ delivers it in a big way!
Admittedly, a more approachable effort than the Judge’s have ever released, “Seaweed” still manages to pack a jaw-swelling punch. You need this one in your collection- Trust me! What a nice way to start the reviewing year….
2. Heavy Chase
6. Pure Cold
Headspin Records & Pepper Shaker Records – Vinyl / CD / DD
You awaken from your artificial sleep, roused by the pulsings and rumblings within your starship’s harmonic hull. Taking the helm, you notice you’ve just exited the wormhole, and you’re approaching your ultimate destination. You’ve traveled both time and space to experience this place, said to be unlike any other in the known universe. The light of this foreign galaxy burns the last semblance of slumber from your eyes. You slowly see the first light glisten and sparkle off it for the first time, the Frozen Planet….1969.
You’ve brought no crew – this is a solo trip. You alone can see the stars shimmer off the planet’s icy ionosphere, you alone will hear the starship sing as its encounters the gaseous upper atmosphere. You alone will feel the heat of the ship’s hull as it dares its delicate descent towards the frozen field below. Slamming on the retro thrusters, you carefully calculate the angle of entry and brac for landing. The impact is minimal, and you quickly gather up your supplies and lower the stairs towards the icy ground below. Bracing yourself for the frigid cold and chill winds, you grab a fur-lined overcoat and pull the hood over your long hair. The oxygen is rich here, though it will become thinner as you climb the frost covered mountains towards the ominous Electric Smokehouse.
You wander past a frozen lake, and see Barbarella’s starship, desperately in need of repairs. You know that she’s about to be attacked by a gang of children bearing dolls with snapping metal teeth, and if you were to take the time to simply rescue her, you could make sweet, sweet love to her on a featherbed inside a giant sled propelled by a sail. Alas, you also know that there’s no time for such diversions, and another will be along shortly to ensure her safety. Your pace quickens, and you begin the steep ascent up the sacred mountain, on top of which lies the Electric Smokehouse, an elusive place chock full of sonic daydreams and mystical soundscapes. As you climb, placing hand over hand and foot over foot, you gaze up in wonder at the small shack resting stoically at the top of the mountain. It approaches faster and faster, and soon you catch the first wisps of rhythm echoing from within the smokehouse’s wooden walls. Soon the frantic pounding of the drums is joined by the throbbing undulation of bass guitar deeply digging into a hypnotic groove. The higher the climb, the more apparent it becomes that the strange noises your heard in the background are from a single six string guitar which speaks in sonic tongues, repeating what seem like mind-warping mantras over and over in some strange electric language that penetrates straight into the inner depths of your psyche.
Finally reaching the summit, you set off down the path towards the small smokehouse, taking in the sights of the planet’s three suns reflecting off the snowy peaks and frozen valleys. The music from within continues to intensify as you open the front door. You’re greeted by three men, who introduce themselves simply as Paul on guitar, Lachian on bass, and Frank on drums. They speak to you without missing a beat or even a single note, and somehow their soft voices are briefly projected above the heavy jams emanating from their instruments. The guitar seamlessly shifts from searing leads to heavy riffs, shimmering chords to strange echoed oscillations. The bass works the groove, while every once in awhile adding in a slice of melody or jammy leads, and the drums alternate between busy rhythms and stoic understatement. Your ears are treated to all manner of otherwordly sounds as the trio jams on endlessly, for what seems like hours, days even week. All too soon, your supplies are deplete and it’s time to make the long return trek to your planet of origin.
As you head back to your spacecraft, you can’t help but think that fans of Earthless may also find a trip to the Frozen Planet….1969 to be quite a worthwhile venture. You climb back aboard your ship, engage the autopilot, open up a fresh wormhole and prepare to enter your cryogenic sleep, with all heavy jams you’ve just taken in still bouncing around in your cerebellum. You smile as the gentle psychedelic slumber overtakes you, and you ponder what new grand adventure will await you when you awaken….
This is the second full length from the Polish doom outfit, Sunnata. While in full disclosure, I haven’t actually heard their debut, Zorya is certainly a breath of fresh air from what I usually hear from more modern “doom.” I hear lots of bands who hear Sleep’sDopesmoker for the first time, get really high, tune down to G flat, play really slow and think that’s the essence of “doom.” I hear other bands that take the retro route, and just try to ape the vibe of the first four Black Sabbath albums. I suppose that’s all well and good, and not particularly awful places to start off in the overall development of a band, though too often it turns into either a bit of a pitfall or a total dead end. Fortunately, Sunnata don’t fall into this trap. I personally like to hear bands that are interested in growth, development, experimentation, and bringing other influences into the fold.
This album doesn’t disappoint in any of those departments – it consistently surprised me with the various musical twists and turns, sometimes within the course of the same song, like the lengthy opener, “Beasts Of Prey.” It starts in a fashion that’s fairly typical of more contemporary doom, with a droning guitar chord and subsequent feedback, while the bass lays down a groovy, slow, slug wading through molasses intro riff. Soon enough, the guitars join in full force, building the bassline into a mighty wall of dark distortion. Twice it peaks with a more chiming, repetitive chord, before settling into a more mid-paced and punishing variation of the opening riff four minutes into the track. From there it cleans things up, with mellow, swirling psychedelic guitars and ethereal vocals delivered in the form of a mantra. Once things hit full throttle, it seems like there are two vocalists, one delivering a slightly more intense dreaminess, and the other offering a scream/throaty growl in counterpoint. It’s little juxtapositions like these that make Sunnata’s sound so effective, and it’s what makes them stand out in the crowded stoner doom crowd.
There’s a cool little guitar solo that kicks in – it sounds like slide guitar run through tons of delay, and it builds up the tension quite nicely with its mixture of melody and sheer mind searing noisiness. Nine minutes in, we see the temp once again shift into the faster “doom” realms where bands like High On Fire often find themselves. The guitars and drums blur more and more into faster, most melodic terrain, eventually taking on a slightly “blackened” timbre with the vocals and tremolo style riffs, before it suddenly peaks and ends. Wow, what an opener; it’s definitely the album’s highlight for me. The second song, “Zorya”, is no slouch by any means, though it is a little more conventional, beginning with the disembodied vocals posing the perpetual question, “Have you ever spread your wings to fly?” Only in my dreams, guys, only in my dreams. This tune is a bit more repetitive and minimalistic with the riffing, though it works, creating a trance-like backdrop for the vocals to alternate between aggression and contemplation, and there’s once again a really cool psychedelic guitar solo building into a chorus.
The third song, “Long Gone”, brings back the swirling clean tones of the first track, this time more downbeat and drawn out, which really gives them space to breath in and exhale all of their psychedelic goodness. Suddenly, things pick up into an exotic sounding motif, and we’re off to the proverbial races. Things get really intense really quickly, with the distortion kicking in along with a wah, which slowly filters the guitar’s tonality from low to high before flowing right into the verse, which follows the same motif and adds the now familiar vocals. The chorus uses some nice rhythmic and melodic variations, and there’s a section afterwards that uses some sweet syncopation as well. From their, the song repeats its clean intro, bringing in some tribal style drums a la Neurosis that leads to another distorted climax and finale. “New Horizon” starts with a fairly standard, slower doom riff, then shifts into more psychedelic territories with the guitars and vocals, which start out with an eerie chant evoking some cosmic monks on an ergotamine bender. The initial doom riff kicks back in, and the vocals pick up their typical counterpoint of styles. It’s a lot like the second song in many respects, more repetitive and trance inducing, though there’s notably a most excellent interplay between the melody of the solo section and the rhythm riff pulsing underneath it in this ascending pattern that echoes many of the themes of the album without speaking a single word.
They close with “Against And Against”, a song that’s lean and mean from the very start, starting off with a riff that’s right out of The Art Of Self Defense playbook and the album’s most aggressive vocals. I can dig it. It breaks done into some of the slowest riffs, punctuated by feedback and weird echoed bubbles of sonic depths yet to be explored. Things eventually grind to a complete halt in what could be classified as a fake ending, though this is just a tease – they’re not letting you off that easily. The riffs rehash, then slowly fade out, leaving only the barest of skeletal guitars by the end, buried in murk and reverb. Once again, this is a tease. A burst of feedback brings things right back to the forefront. Big, throbbing riffs and vocal harmonies pave the way for yet another bizarre fade-out, this one punctuated by seething white noise. It’s an interesting choice for ending an album, and quite an ambitious track.
When all is said and done, this an extremely promising album from a fairly new band. It’s not just paint by numbers doom – it showcases of a variety of influences and a spectrum of styles, all the while retaining a more modern edge. Sunnata never disappear down the retro rabbit hole, nor do they consciously ape any other band. The most apt comparison I could come up with is YOB, though even that analogy falls a little flat for me as well. It probably has more to do with YOB’s willingness to break the mold and experiment with different sounds and influences more than it has to do with actual similarities in sound. I’m definitely going to be watching this band with curiosity as they continue to grow, progress, and reach towards the upper empyrean of the doom multiverse….
Reviewed By Andy “Ding a ding dang my dang a long ling long” Beresky