Beyond Vision (Blues Funeral Recordings) marks Acid King‘s fifth full-length album to date and its thirtieth anniversary as a band since their formation. It’s also the follow-up to 2015’s overlooked Middle of Nowhere, Centre of Everything album which Lori referred to in a recent interview on Conan Neutron‘s Protonic Reversal show with a hope of reissuing it at some point. Fingers crossed.
Acid King is Lori S who has been the band’s sole consistent member throughout its tenure and joining her this time round is Jason Landrian – guitar/keyboard, Bryce Shelton – bass/synthesizers and Jason Willer on drums. Interestingly, Landrian’s Black Cobra bandmate Rafa Martinez has been a member of the band at various points. For those not in the know, the band’s name was inspired by the crimes of Ricky Kasso who murdered friend Gary Lauwers. Kasso’s friends nicknamed him such due to his chronic use of hallucinogenics.
‘One Light Second Away’ the instrumental which kicks off the album, is pure psychedelic space rock. I recall watching the Such Hawks, Such Hounds documentary and Lori mentioned the influence of bands such as Hawkwind and that is evident here. It retains the band’s characteristic heaviness while also delving into otherworldly vibes. I am fairly certain the band will open future tour dates with this number as it sets the tone perfectly. What a way to open the album!
‘Mind’s Eye’ has one thinking Monster Magnet‘s earlier works such as Tab as well as Nebula’s Apollo. It feels cinematic in scope and the aural equivalent of being on a space shuttle ready to blast into the stratosphere and the expansiveness that is the universe. It’s not entirely coincidental either that the album was influenced by 2001: A Space Odyssey and the 2019 Apollo 11 documentary.
’90 Seconds’, according to the promotional notes, is about the amount of time one can last in space without oxygen, a terrifying prospect I’m sure you’ll agree. The track tonally bares some similarities to Sleep‘s acclaimed The Sciences which saw that band going down a space rock route too. Imagine as well if you can Black Sabbath‘s ‘Planet Caravan’, 90 Seconds shares that track’s same lysergic feel.
‘Electro Magnetic’ is the album’s longest track and a sprawling behemoth that had me thinking Ufomammut at their most Pink Floyd Live at Pompeii-inspired best. From the longest to the shortest at 1:37 – ‘Destination Psych’ is one long drone laden interlude ala Sunn O))) and is pretty damn awesome while ‘Beyond Vision’ feels a little more like traditional Acid King with the band’s stoner / doom metal orientated tendencies a la Acid King III coming to the fore that will doubtlessly satiate old-school fans. There are moments on the track that even had me thinking of the thunderous ‘Under The Sun’ by Black Sabbath.
‘Color Trails’, which concludes the album, takes its time before settling into the kind of immense groove one has come to expect of the group, think ‘2 Wheel Nation’ but with the band’s more recent trippier psych flourishes added to the mix.
So after eight years was it worth the wait? A resounding yes can be the only answer. Lori recently said that she isn’t the same person she was when the band formed and that progression on a personal level translates to the album we have in front of us. Acid King demonstrate its possible to evolve without completely compromising your identity. A spectacular release which will top plenty of end-of-year top tens.
Buy the album here:
9 / 10