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Wednesday, 8 April 2020

Reviews: Dool, The Sleep Eazy's, High Priestess, Red Rum (Reviews By Matt Bladen)

Dool: Summerland (Prophesy Productions) [Matt Bladen]

Here Now, There Then the debut album from Dutch band Dool was, by admission of vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Ryanne van Dorst, an experiment trying to work out exactly what Dool would soundlike. While it was a good album it sounded like a band trying to define themselves, something that van Dorst says they managed to do with subsequent touring. This live experience has been channeled into their follow up record SummerlandSummerland is the pagan equivalent of Nirvana/Heaven and it serves to encapsulate the almost transcendental nature of this record. Summerland is a lot more cohesive yet with a much wider scope than their previous album, drawing heavily from the realms of classic rock and post rock with crunching doom, psychedelic flourishes and even journeys into crunchy metal occasionally.

They've also bringing a couple of guests along with them namely Per Wiberg (Opeth, Spiritual Beggars, Candlemass) on Hammond along with Farida Lemouchi (The Devil's Blood) on backing vocals while Okoi Jones (Bölzer) gives the spoken words to The Well's Run Dry. So...enough waffle about the preamble, let's get down to what the album actually sounds like shall we? Summerland opens with Sulphur & Starlight a Gothic-tinged rocker with open chords and bewitching vocals, it's a bit like The Cure-meets-Ghost, as Wolf Moon adds an edge of Opeth the triple guitar attack of van Dorst, Reinier Vermeulen and Nick Polak adding texture to God Particle which spirals into a riff-fest. The title track is a lot more doomy with Micha Haring (drums) and JB Van Der Wal (bass) leading into the gloomy A Glass Forest and the jangly The Well's Run Dry. Closing the album out is Dust & Shadow a huge sounding orchestral number that just really shows the gravitas of Dool's musical power. Summerland is Dool finding their niche and exploiting it to the full. 8/10

The Sleep Eazy's: Easy To Buy, Hard To Sell (Provogue)

Joe Bonamassa is a name you know. Especially if you've read this blog for a while. He is one of the hardest working men in all of music, achieving nearly everything he has by himself. However his new project The Sleep Eazy's is his first self-produced (meaning the first not done by long term producer Kevin Shirley) record, it's an all instrumental album that pays tribute to one of Joey B's mentors, rockabilly guitar player Danny Gatton, whom he played alongside when he was a child. The album contains covers of songs not just by Gatton but also Frank Sinatra, Tony Joe White and King Curtis. It's a eclectic record that lurches between rock, jazz, funk, rockabilly, bluegrass and all manner of styles. Bonamassa's guitar is joined by his touring band Anton Fig (percussion), Michael Rhodes (bass), Reese Wynans (keyboards), Lee Thornburg (trumpet), Paulie Cerra (saxophone), along with Jade MacRae and Juanita Tippins on background vocals (mainly backing on Ha So). Additional members are Jimmy Hall on harmonica and multi-instrumentalist John Jorgenson who bring their talents across this album. Fun House kicks off the record with some walking blues, Move is funkier, Ace Of Spades isn't a Motorhead cover but it is a surf rock number with lots of B3. It's a rollicking good time this record the best song being Bond (On Her Majesty's Secret Service) a neat riff on the James Bond theme tune with some sultry guitar from Joey Bones. It's Bonamassa being brilliant, doing something a little different. 7/10

High Priestess: Casting The Circle (Ripple Music)

Katie Gilchrest (guitars, vocals, organ), Mariana Fiel (bass, vocals) and Megan Mullins (drums, percussion) make up LA psychedelic doom band High Priestess. Their debut album was a storming slab of post-apocalyptic doom rock full of swirling dark psychedelia, crushing doom riffage and hypnotic vocals. Their second album is still chocked full of this but with some accouriments to widen the scope a little, building on a heartbeat drum rhythm, the title track opens with Eastern flavours as the instrumentation is built like a house from the base right to the very top, the voices harmonize dreamily before the huge riff comes in to smash away any meditative you're about to reach. It's a intriguing way to start a record giving you a hint at what High Priestess can achieve, that is until the all-enveloping Erebus rmaps up the distortion with knuckle dragging heaviness, as the progressive sounds of The Hourglass has a big dollop of Black Sabbath to it while personally I love Invocation which is almost shamanistic with it's forgotten 60's sound, it's almost like the death-throes of the American dream with Ave Satanas the final song here concludes the album with some Gregorian style chanting. Another quality release from this LA trio. 7/10

Red Rum: To War (Self Released)

Avast me hearties! Nottinghamshire Pirate metal warriors Red Rum return with their first new music since their 2015 full length Booze & Glory since then they have said farewell and gained some new shipmates. Their engine room is now all new, with  as is their keyboard abuser with only Captain Davey Silver (vocals) and First Mate Sam Wood (guitars/bouzouki) the only members of the crew remaining from the early days. They steer this ship into waters as yet uncharted with this conceptual EP, that also adds some more flourishes to their symphonic pirate metal sound. The most noticeable being the proggy Blackened Depths which has some destructive black metal double kicks. Yes folks these five tracks all follow a storyline from the cinematic Prologue to the Hangman's Rest this a record chock full of piracy, swashbuckling and eventually justice. If you've heard Red Rum before, or seen them at any number of their festival/live appearances you'll know what Red Rum sound like so this EP would be no surprise. 6/10

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