ALBUM REVIEW: Mr. Bison – Seaward

Those who deserted Pisa-based riff kings, Mr. Bison, after their 2012 debut album We’ll Be Brief (Dracma Records) will recognise neither the physical nor the sonic entity that exists today. Only guitarist/vocalist Matteo Barsacchi remains from that initial incarnation, now replenished by two more Matteos – vocalist/guitarist Sciocchetto and drummer D’Ignazi – and the dry, ZZTop-influenced sound of that first effort has been gradually replaced by an oft euphoric leaning towards a form of Desert Psychedelia as progressive as it is retrospective. Their fourth album Seaward (Subsound Records / Ripple Music) is the band’s biggest step forward yet, displaying a level of invention and confidence that is both profound and joyous. Continue reading

The Shrine – Cruel World EP

Despite a brief flirtation with the Century Media label, the decade-long career of Los Angeles grease punks The Shrine has sailed largely deserted seas. As the line-up has grown, however, so has the power of the band’s sound, with new EP Cruel World (Annihilator Records) adding motorised elements to their sleazy Heavy Rock base. Continue reading

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell – Keep It Greasy!

Admiral Sir Cloudesley Shovell is one of those bands you just have to like – it’s ruckus great fun and Keep It Greasy (Rise Above) is a shit kickin’ fun album. I like it because I can head-bang and two-step to it. The track ‘Tired N Wired’ is this mish-mash of chunky bass driven black metal with thick twangy guitars of southern rock mixed with 1970s epic guitar solos. It makes me want to find a pole, put on my hooker heels, a pair of Daisy Duke’s and just dance my wee heart out.  Continue reading

Wo Fat – Midnight Cometh

Wo Fat - Midnight Cometh album cover ghotultmag

A cosmic haze surrounds everything from Texan duo Wo Fat: their chunky, thunderous rhythms swelled by fizzing riffs as suffocating, as implosive, as the vacuum of space. Despite having lost long-time bassist Tim Wilson, sixth long-player Midnight Cometh (Ripple Music) shows no signs of that trait discontinuing.

Though unabashedly Stoner, the Blues melodies and leads of opener ‘There’s Something Sinister in the Wind’ are shot through with added pace, urgency, and no little mysticism, blowing away the blubber often encasing such offerings. Sure, you could hear this kind of stuff down the local Rock pub but not with this power, this weight. The way the dreamy leadwork joins forces with a tight, rampant rhythm section from the mid-point is joyous: whilst the oscillating riff of the denouement, repetitive and swelling, crushes in indolent yet savage fashion.

‘Riffborn’ again provides nothing new, while Kent Stump’s gnarled vocal doesn’t incite the listener to any high emotion. Yet there’s something strangely electric, even comforting, in the fact that such traditional Heavy Rock can still force you to get down and boogie. Stump’s guitarwork is king here, the leads and riffs duelling with lightning dexterity yet retaining their corpulent girth. ‘Of Smoke and Fog’ meanwhile, creates atmospheres in keeping with its title: leads wailing and growling, permeating vaporous wisps as the cabs groan beneath the volume: whilst a rumbling bass and Michael Walter’s drums gradually creep in like a curious rhino, suddenly appearing and looking a little mad to see you on his territory.

That 70s Rock undercurrent is built to the fore during ‘Le Dilemme de Detenu’ and ‘Three Minutes to Midnight’: a shabby, hairy mob on The Old Grey Whistle Test embodied by the harsh, ZZ Top-style verses. Both tracks are enlivened by those fierce guitars, the latter’s moody centrepiece torn to shreds by a dazzling solo. Closer ‘Nightcomer’ meanwhile, is a Psychedelic crush of threatening Groove and pulsing swell that leads to a suitably huge finale.

Comparisons with both Kyuss and Orange Goblin abound for these guys, yet Wo Fat plough their own reverberating furrow. Sometimes the old-fashioned ways are still exciting.

7.0/10.0

PAUL QUINN

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