Essential New Fuzz Worship: Goatsmoke, Earthbong, Ultra Void and ABANAMAT

127
, , , ,

Goatsmoke – Satanic Blues

Artist: Goatsmoke

Album: Satanic Blues

Label: Independent

Release Date: January 30, 2023

Location: New York, New York


As someone that’s always had a soft spot for fuzz laden music with satanic themes and concepts, I was immediately enamored with Goatsmoke‘s Satanic Blues. Their inseparable marriage of the occult and bong smoke drew me in, but the music itself kept me coming back for more. Most impressively though, everything you hear on the album was written, performed, and recorded by one man, Matt Neary.

The project plays a bluesy style of stoner sludge that expertly incorporates thrash and doom undertones. Vocally there’s a biting gruffness present throughout, but this edge is softened by the mind-altering guitar and bass driven magic of the album’s instrumental work. The release simultaneously draws you in and pushes you away, puts you on edge and relaxes, it’s all about duality and it works amazingly well.

For me the album is made that much more engaging by its heavy use of ‘Satanic Panic’ inspired audio clips and lyrical themes, which dive head first into these concepts. There’s a sense of committing to these themes and a tongue in cheek approach that mocks those who fear the role of the devil in heavy music and who demonise drug use. Lines such as “listen to heavy metal music and the devil will make you kill your mom” are prime examples of this.

Instrumentally we’re hit with a fantastic level of fuzz, but not so much that it slows down the tracks or blunts their aggression. The thrash driven riffage strewn throughout pairs perfectly with the thick bass the guitar’s downtuned, fuzz laden sound and gives the release a unique overall energy and tone. These faster paced segments give way to slower, heavier, more trudging doom focused moments, adding some nice variety. Occasionally we’re treated to a very small taste of keyboard, which I wish we got a little more of. As great as all of this is, without the bluesy swagger woven into the fabric of the music, it just wouldn’t be nearly as effective. Lastly, we have the vocals, which present us with a raw, powerful howled style that sits somewhere between sludge and death metal and really serves as the soul of the album.

Overall this is a fantastic album and one that I’ve come back to a few times already since stumbling across it. I can see the project developing a dedicated fanbase as it has all the makings of a legendary underground stoner sludge act, but with a unique twist that will separate it from its peers. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Listen to and order the album:

Bandcamp

Earthbong – Proceed As One

Artist: Earthbong

Album: Proceed As One

Label: Independent

Release Date: January 27th, 2023

Location: Kiel, Germany

I feel as if the band name Earthbong perfectly describes what we are treated to on Proceed As One, as both tracks are so heavy, fuzzy and downtuned that they seem as if they could shake the very earth upon which the listener stands if played loud enough.

Earthbong are a project that I’ve covered here before with their last full-length album Bing Rites (READ HERE), so when I saw they had a new album out I knew I was going to have to say a few words. The band continue what they started with their last release but with a few tweaks and new tricks. Most importantly though their music remains hypotonic and entrancing, just as it was before. The sparing use of vocals allows the music to speak for itself for much of the EP and it has a lot to say.

The repetitive, wave like riffs wash over the listener time and time again, slowly allowing them to detach from reality and enter an altered state of being (if they allow themselves too of course), a state that can definitely be helped by some consumption of natural ‘herbal’ products. There’s a fantastic balance struck between crushingly heavy, fuzz laden repetition and cleaner crisper shredding, with the former getting a great deal more airtime. This division of focus works well for the release and ensures that the listener never feels burned out or bored.

The drum work is equally as hypnotic, presenting us with captivating rhythmic patterns and really making each symbol crash and thundering pound count. Vocally we have a dual style, one more guttural style that comes across almost like a halfway point between sludge and death doom and another that is a raw, filthy sludge style croaked shriek. Both work well interchangeably and compliment the music perfectly. Their minimalistic use makes them that much more impactful when they do appear.

While only featuring two tracks the EP comes in at over 20 minutes thanks largely due to its monumental opener Fathead which runs over 14 minutes in total. The song really takes its time to unfold and uses almost ritualistic repetition to distort time. While Wax is a shorter piece only coming at 6 min or so, it hits HARD and brings the heavy. The song pummels the listener with wave after wave of crushing fuzz and distortion and I’m all for it. There’s no slow build here, this is simply ass kicking, eardrum bursting noise.

Overall the EP is a fantastic listen and something that I think all fans of music of this nature will enjoy. The band continue to demonstrate that they are masters of their craft and I look forward to their next offering. If you have a spare 20 minutes, sit back, relax, consume and enjoy.

Listen to and order the album:

Bandcamp

Ultra Void – Mother Of Doom

Artist: Ultra Void

Album: Mother Of Doom

Label: Independent

Release Date: February 23rd, 2023

Location: Brooklyn, New York

The Ultra Void that we once knew is no more, as the band becomes a solo project. However, what we now have in its place is something just as powerful and innovative as its original iteration. If Mother Of Doom shows one thing is that Jihef Garnero can easily hold his own as a top notch fuzz-peddler.

The lineup isn’t the only change in the project, as the overall sound of the music has become more distorted and mind-altering than ever before. Along with the expected fuzz and distortion elements are spacey, ethereal, psychedelic influences. For me this is the album’s true selling point, the disorienting, ethereal essence of the release. I know that these are all just words that I’m throwing at you, and you’re still left wondering what I mean by all of this, well let’s get into it.

I’ll start with the vocals, which would give most the impression that the project is still in fact a band. We’re treated to multiple varied vocal styles that both interchange and overlap, creating an echoed, layered effect. Some of these are clean, some are gruff harsher vocals that almost remind me of Matt Pike in some ways, but most have some form of distortion effect applied. Throughout the album you’ll find different styles presenting the same lyrics, but one runs very slightly behind the other, this intentionally mismatched timing is genius and adds a whole new layer of trippiness to the mix.

Instrumentally there’s more crisp, wild, and meandering psych riffs strewn throughout the album than you can shake a stick at. Along with this are plenty of blues influenced elements, which add a moodiness and a certain level of swagger to the mix. Then of course you have your more fuzz laden, downtuned doom elements that make up a large portion of the album. The level of effect usage and distortion applied to the guitar and bass elements on the album is honestly astounding and yet it feels so natural, as if this is how music is supposed to sound.

While I do enjoy the vocals on the album, it’s the instrumentals that really do it for me. For that reason, Måntår is easily one of my favourites on the album, it’s a nice break from some of the intensity of the other tracks and allows you to really sit back and soak it all in. Putting it in the middle of the album was an excellent choice, it’s a great half way point place holder and divides the album into to more easily consumable halves.

Overall, I see this latest offering as a step in the right direction for the project. While I truly enjoyed what the band was putting out before, this release is in my opinion their strongest to date. I don’t know where things can go from here though, how can the music get more mind altering and distorted? I look forward to finding out.

Listen to and order the album:

Bandcamp

ABANAMAT – ABANAMAT

Artist: ABANAMAT
Album: ABANAMAT
Label: Interstellar Smoke Records
Release Date: February 17, 2023
Location: Berlin, Germany

Germany’s ABANAMAT take us to a place that I never want to leave, a land of mysticism, intrigue and spirituality. This is very much a case of an album cover accurately capturing the feelings that its music gives the listener. Just as skeletal camels traverse the dunes carrying mysterious riders away from an ancient temple set below alien planets and moons, so too is my mind transported to another world.

Heavy psych will always be some of my favourite music for the exact reason above, the level of escapism that it provides. Its music that allows one to disconnect from the reality of life, to lose themselves to the music and be swept away on seas of carefree, unstructured jamming and soothing spacey vocals. This album does exactly that, I can simply put it on and not have to think and can just simply enjoy good music.

The guitar tone employed is absolutely stunning to say the least, it has a velvet touch as it enters your ears. That’s not to say that the whole album is soft and soothing, as there is a lot of excitement to be had throughout. Parts of the release can get heavy and/or aggressive, particularly as slowly developing segments reach their crescendo. For the most part though, if you’re looking for something that’s going to kick your ass, this isn’t it. Although there are moments where things get so technically impressive with the sheer level of psych fueled riffage that your brain can become overloaded.

Personally, I love the fact that the release is primarily instrumental, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love the vocals when they do make their occasional appearance, but they would only take away from the album’s atmospheric majesty if they were constantly present. I’ve never been one to need vocals with my music, I can appreciate instrumental work and song writing for what it is and albums like this just remind me why that is.

Personally my two favourite tracks on the album are stark opposites, the first being Flying Fish, which is probably the most relaxed and ethereal song on the album, it also contains no vocals at all. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Amdest (see the video below), which is the most aggressive and heaviest track on the release. Best of all the two follow each other, so you go directly from one to the other, making their contrast seem that much more obvious. I have to give some major props to Djinn too, for having some of the most badass Middle Eastern influenced riffs, rhythms and tones that I’ve heard in some time, as well as some absolutely killer guitar work on the whole.

Overall this is one hell of an album and anyone who enjoys heavy psych would be a fool to miss it. If you are one of those unfortunate individuals that can’t appreciate vast swathes of instrumental work or long form tracks, then this one won’t be for you. However if you’re fully cognitively developed and have the attention span of an adult then please give this a listen.

Listen to and order the album:

Bandcamp




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *