Album: The Fire Above
Label: Electric Valley Records
Release Date: 19/03/2021
Written by James Sweetlove
The band hail from Sydney, Australia and formed roughly half a decade ago. Since this time a demo, an EP and this full-length release, which follows their 2019 release Blackwitch. The band is Scott Fisher (vocals and guitars), Scott Wilson (drums) and Luis Lipovac (bass, backing Vocals and organ on “Shadows” and “Rise.”) The album was mixed by Clem Bennett and mastered at studios 301 by Steve Smart. We have Marco Nieddu to thank for the album’s killer artwork.
The band play a heavy psych dominated blend of doom, stoner and sludge. While there is a harshness and heaviness to the music, there is a real smoothness and expansiveness that comes from the psych elements on the release. You’ll find plenty of parts on the album that are instrumental, and this is where the immersive atmosphere of the release truly shines. There are some truly captivating segments on the album, with meandering psych-based guitar and other elements such as organ and the use of triangle and egg shaker (courtesy of Jason Whalley). There is something about heavy psych that draws the listener in, in a way that other styles of music can’t. It’s a truly unique experience that connects with the listener on a deeper level, almost inducing a somewhat trance-like state at times, where you lose yourself in the music and this album is no exception.
The harshness of the vocals on the album could seem to some to be at odds with some of the more mellow segments on the release, but it’s this duality that makes the album stand out. Personally, I think that the dichotomy between the two textures gives the album a sort of push and pull feeling that is all part of the listening experience and needs to be embraced. The vocals on the album despite being harsh have a sort of hypnotic elements to them as well, which I think may come down to their drawn-out nature at times. The words coming out of Scott Fisher’s mouth have a way of sort of lingering and hanging in the air, that really adds to the overall atmosphere of the release. There is also a certain level of distortion and effects applied in parts which further adds to this.
The guitar work on the album is wonderfully varied and exists within two realms that both occur separately and overlap at times. These realms are cleaner, more meandering psych-based guitar work that leans more towards the jam-based style of play. This tends to overlap more with the accordion work on the album. The other side to the guitar is the heavier, fuzzier stuff on the album which follows somewhat more of a structured approach and keeps the songs on track. Personally, I enjoy both sides to the album and am glad that they mesh so well that it almost seems like there is only one style of music at play here. I must compliment the bass work on the album too, there’s some truly groovy, trippy stuff going on here and I’m all for it. The drum work is perfect, switching between relaxed, chilled out patterns and hard and heavy hitting doom, sludge work. The organ must also be praised as it really adds a lot of character and depth to the overall tone of the album. As a huge 60s psych rock fan I am always for organ in my rock and metal music and think that we need much more of it.
Overall, I was hugely impressed with the band’s first full-length offering and look forward to what is to come. I can see a lot of fans of the doom/stoner/sludge/psych genres being big fans of this release and the band finding a loyal following fairly quickly. So, give the album a spin today and find out for yourself.
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