Album: Primeval Transmissions
Label: Desert Records
Release Date: 05/02/2021
Country United States
The band hail from Portland Oregon and formed back in 2001. They play a meditative blend of stoner, doom, psychedelic, drone and desert rock. The band features no guitar player, choosing to be bass driven, giving them a completely unique sound. The band is Steven O’Kelly (bass guitars and vocals) and Ian Caton (drums and auxiliary percussion), with a guest guitarist Rob Wrong of Witch Mountain featuring on track 3 Observer. The album was engineered, recorded and mixed by Rob Wrong of Wrong Way Recording and mastered by Tad Doyle at Witch Ape Studio. Album art by Tyler Wintermute.
I’m going to get this out of the way now, discussing who the band sound like. Basically, if you’re a fan of Om, Grails, YOB, or Sleep then this will be well worth your time. Having said that the band have a completely unique style all of their own, drawing elements of inspiration from these acts, rather than worshiping or copying any one of them. There really is a meditative quality to this album, it draws you and mezmerises you, keeping you entranced from start to finish.
To start with, the bass work on the album is completely captivating, the tuning, tones and effects applied to it makes it completely unique. I’m a sucker for a bass driven album, as anyone who has read my reviews of bands such as Seum, Om or Thosar would know. There’s just something about the depth of tone and the fullness that it possesses that I truly love. Anyone can choose to replace guitar with bass though, its how you use it that matters, and this band use it well. Between the looooooow tuned base layer bass and the heavier, more rhythmic chunkier bass and all other variants in between, it makes for a dense and well fleshed out sound that should please any listener. The depth of tone and the palpable reverb on each and every track is honestly entrancing in itself. Some of the distortion and applied effects to the bass such as on track 2 Dwarka is badass and gives it a completely new sound. The momentum and energy on the tracks tend to gradually build as they unfold and develop, making you want to stick with each one to see how it plays out.
The vocals on the album are a semi sung, semi shouted style, yet they come across as somewhat hushed and atmospheric in nature. There is a perfect level of echoing and distortion effects applied to them to give them that bit of extra character. They really work well in tandem with the instrumentals on the album and help to complete the overall atmosphere on the release. The drumming/percussion on the album is equally as powerful and is the third and final piece in the puzzle of the band’s atmosphere and sound. While being somewhat minimalistic, the heavy use of cymbals really has an impressive amount of impact on the overall sound of the album. The use of other instruments such as shakers (possibly maracas or ganzá) add plenty of additional effect too. The inclusion of guitar work (courtesy of Rob Wrong of Witch Mountain) on track 3 Observer really makes an impact, being the only segment featuring the instrument on the entire album. additionally, Rob is a killer guitarist and gives us some fantastic riffs and hooks.
Overall, this is a truly captivating piece of music that has a character and energy all of its own. It also features some of the most impressive bass work I’ve heard in a while and deserves your attention. At present you can listen to tracks 2-4 of the album, prior to its release. So, what are you waiting for, take a trip today, give it a spin and get your pre-orders in.
Listen to and order the album below: