Posts Tagged ‘Psychedelic rock’


When this young Icelandic band arrived on the classic doom rock scene last year with their high quality debut, ‘Voyage’, I had quiet hopes they’d do well. Signed to Nuclear Blast, and with their new record ‘Arrival’ out now, let’s see if the hype has been worth it.

First of all, that album art is great, if not quite as epic as ‘Voyage’. It truly fits the psychedelic rock trip that the Vintage Caravan take you on. Part rock and roll, part spiralling prog odyssey, all riffs. The groove of ‘Monolith’ or the explorative ‘Eclipsed’ showcase either side of the Caravan’s nature. You can’t help but feel their infectious, bluesy riffs right down to your core. The Kyuss-like melodies that are integral to the catchy ‘Shaken Beliefs’ are simply stunning, and help to show just how far The Vintage Caravan has come since last year.

That’s also not to say that they can’t lay down a heavy riff or two when they want, (feel the earth quake when ‘Crazy Horses’ kicks in) but The Vintage Caravan are not quite as doom as I remember, they’ve definitely moved toward more stoner, psychedelic rock with a deep, Clutch-esque influence to it. There’s a lot of bands doing this kind of music at the moment, but few manage to play with this purity of spirit, with this kind of enthusiasm and quality. The emotional balladry of ‘Innerverse’ and the almost nine minute masterpiece ‘Winter Queen’ serve the world notice that The Vintage Caravan do psychedelic stoner doom rock better than you or anyone else.


I may have mentioned before that I. FUCKING. LOVE. BORIS. Boris are Japan’s great shapeshifters, they lurch from epic drone and crushing doom to stoner rock to ambient noise weirdness to J-pop with little care for what sticklers for genre types think. I first got into Boris through their rock opus ‘Pink’ in 2005. That title track man, what a fucking rock tune that is. It’s one of my all time favourite records, and opens with one of my all time favourite songs of any genre ever, ‘Farewell’. ‘Farewell’ is an epic piece of post metal beauty; staggeringly fragile yet powerfully heavy. I will never get tired of that song, it is movingly, achingly perfect.

They also have a history of collaboration, with US drone terrorists Sunn0))) (the staggering ‘Altar’), Japanese guitar virtuoso Michio Kurihara (‘Cloud Chamber’ and the volcanic ‘Rainbow’) and Japanese noise artist Merzbow (most famously on ‘Rock Dream’). Their work with Kurihara particularly is electric, bringing extra psychedelica into the music. Boris debuted with 1996’s ‘Absolutego’, a one hour plus drone track that taught me a true appreciation of music as sound, rather than as music. It was a pivotal moment for my tastes in general; lying in bed a bit pissed and letting that record expand my brain.

Three records that are essential: 2005’s ‘Pink’, 1998’s ‘Amplifier Worship’ and the classic ‘Feedbacker’ from 2003. Other highlights from their discography include the skull caving debut ‘Absolutego’, the heavy rocking ‘Heavy Rocks’ from 2002 and their ‘Soundtrack from Film Mabuta No Ura’, a soundtrack written to a film that doesn’t exist. Of their collaborative efforts, ‘Rainbow’ with Michio Kurihara and ‘Altar’ with Sunn0))) are of particular note.

Turn on, turn up and melt

My latest focus on the subcontinent has been prompted by a comment I received on one of my previous posts about some bands I was missing out on during my scouring of India for great metal bands. This will always be a work in progress, as new bands appear all the time, and particularly in such a fertile breeding ground for quality metal, India’s vast population means that I’ll never be able to stay on top of it.

First up is Eccentric Pendulum, a progressive metal band from Bangalore. You can find their debut release from 2011 here on YouTube, and it is a fine piece of metal indeed. The order of the day here is juddering, progressive modern metal with dashes of Dream Theater at their heaviest. The main inspiration point appears to be Meshuggah, but Eccentric Pendulum aren’t as willfully difficult to pin down. The songs are complex enough to maintain interest, without being overly dense and impenetrable. There are some vast, soaring moments in ‘My Eucalyptine Depth’ that are just beautiful. On the other side, the riff that opens ‘De Engineer the Prevalent’ shows an accomplished brutal side. Excellent stuff, greatly recommended.

Next we have Escher’s Knot, another band throwing some serious progressive shapes. They have four tracks up on ReverbNation, showcasing a nice line in heavy as sin chugging riffs, with some cool technical sections, and some serious low end. ‘Anonymous Origins’ groans under the weight of that starting riff, and ‘Mayan Calender’ splices some serious groove metal riffs with stop start tech death ferocity. Another band with fantastic production values, which helps to present the clarity and rage of their music perfectly. This is an Indian band who are breathing new life into this genre, creating songs that are heavy and relentless, yet fresh and invigorating!

Third on my list are another Bangalore band, Traces. Traces play a psychedelic, progressive style of rock, and are less metal than my usual stuff but not less awesome. My first instincts are to compare them to the likes of Porcupine Tree or Tool, they have a strangely ethereal sound. Their three track debut, ‘Fractals‘, was released in June, and opener ‘Unthought’ is a dreamy, A Perfect Circle style alt rock freakout. A sprawling, hypnotic song with some killer, more traditional metal riffs. Here we have another band who have made the effort to craft something polished, something complex and original. Vocalist Dileep Mallick has something of Brandon Boyd to his voice too, which suits the style. Not as heavy as the rest, but no less awesome. This is what you put on to relax to.

Finally I’ve happened upon Skrypt, Hyderabad’s progressive death/thrash machine. The only music I’ve happened upon is from 2010, the ‘Discord’ EP, but it is four tracks of chunky, catchy riffing thunder. ‘Artifice’ is one of the catchier songs I’ve come across in a while, and the overall style is energetic with some great riffs. They take the progressive tag and mix in some odd time signatures, some quieter and more expansive moments that enahnce the heaviness when it returns. Skrypt are very good at what they do, which is riff like a son of a bitch! When ‘Supremacy’ kicks in, I DARE you not to be banging your head.

Well, if I’ve forgotten or missed out on any more excellent bands, please let me know and I shall endeavour to fix my mistakes! Meanwhile, I’m off to bed with some Traces ringing in my lugs!