He Dreams Of Lions is the third album from Memphis based heavy psych/blues rock trio The Heavy Eyes, taking what they did with 2012’s Maera (both Kozmik Artifactz) and adding more definition to their rough and reverberated retro-sound; a sound which they described as being similar to “a skeleton driving a speedboat on a flaming Mississippi river headed back to 1969”… which to be fair is an image fully deserving of the accompanying t-shirt!
The album flows with distorted heavy fuzz and echo which comes together in order to shape a substantial sound, especially for a trio. This is most notable on stand out tracks such as the stompy ‘Smoke Signals’ and ‘Hail To The King, Baby’ which sounds more like Clutch than the Duke Nukem expected from that title.
Throughout the album there’s a nice heavy stomp of Blues riff n’ groove coupled with a raw feel, particularly on tracks like ‘Saint’. Given this is Ghost Cult the use of heavy of course is subjective, for their genre The Heavy Eyes are indeed fairly hefty especially on the heavy ‘Z-bo’ in the rhythm section: courtesy of Wally Anderson on bass and Eric Garcia on drums. Some of the tracks skirt around the 1969 feel of Sabbath or Zeppelin, with some hints at elements of proto-sludge.
The music is satisfying, but it can feel quite similar at times, and the tracks seem to flow into one another sometimes a little too fluidly and it’s notable that at times there’s a disconnect between the lyrical content and the music, particularly on tracks such as ‘Old Saltillo Road’ which, despite being one of the stand out tracks on the album, has possibly the most dissonance between the lyrical content and the accompanying music. Like a stoner watching a fire rather than anyone with any particular sense of urgency. This is followed by the title track; another strong outing with some nice heavy riffs juxtaposing nicely with the woo-hoo-hoo chorus and multiple phases of tempo and intensity, held together with yet more great rhythm section work.
This is a good album with some genuine highlights, and yet by the same token a significant similarity lies throughout out which allows the overall album to flow together very nicely indeed, but can also be a bit samey towards the end, though it is easier to get hooked into the strutting vibe of the album as a whole rather than any particular riffs or songs.