Fumarole – Valley of 10,000 Smokes

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Artist: Fumarole

Band: Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes

Label: Interstellar Smoke Records

Release Date: 16/10/2020

Country: Australia

Let’s take a look at Fumarole and their upcoming full-length release Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. The album will be out October 16th on Interstellar Smoke Records, in partnership with Dewar PR.

If you aren’t familiar with Fumarole, the band hail from my former city of residence Brisbane Australia and play a blend of stoner/psychedelic rock and doom with some heavy metal elements. This is the band’s debut full length release, following their EP Mountain, released in 2018. The band is Dan Bartsch (bass), Ryan Stewart (drums) and Kurt Werder (guitar and vocals).

Fumerole’s style follows in the foosteps of bands such as Orange Goblin, The Sword and Earthless and while their influences can be heard in their music, they’ve definitely crafted their own unique sound and style after drawing upon elements from each.

So lets take a look at the music, what we have here is killer stoner rock riffage, paired with powerful, gruff (but not overly gruff) vocals and plenty of groove. I would say that the catchiness and grooviness of this release its its biggest draw card, along with the actual tallent of the band members themselves.

Kurt provides us with some killer guitar work on the album, drawing influences from multiple areas. While some segments are cleanly definable as stoner rock style guitar, there are some spectacularly psychedelic riffs mixed in. Other parts are slower and heavier and have a much doomier vibe to them. Then there are parts that are definitely influenced by heavy metal, while they aren’t as common as the other styles presented on the album, their influence can be felt. While we’re talking about Kurt, his vocals are probably in the mid sort of range, with a bit of an edge to them, at times being harsher and deeper. They’re certainly not as gruff as one of the band’s key influences Orange Goblin’s, but theyre definitely not as clean and crisp as those of their other influence The Sword. Weirdly enough, they actually remind me a little bit of Oderus Urungus at times, particuarly on track 8.

I should also mention the bass work on this release, I really enjoyed the complexity and the volume of the bass on this album. You can clearly hear Dan’s playing at pretty much any given time, which for me as a big fan of audible bass in metal is a huge draw card for the album. It really just adds another layer of character and atmosphere to the overall sound.

Drum wise Ryan holds his own in the mix, remaining relevant and audible in amongst the thick guitar and bass tones. He does a great job of shifting styles and tempos to compliment the rises and falls in each track. Stoner rock drumming isn’t always on the most technical side, but its still extremely important to maintain and at times drive the energy of the music, a stoner rock band with a weak drummer can seriously damage the overall sound of their music and Ryan makes sure that this isn’t vaguely the case on this album.

As far as favourite songs go, track 8 Valley has a fantastic energy to it and some truly catchy segments. The song has almost a battle hymn type of energy to it, a song to traverse the Valley of the Dead to. The vocals are in peak form on this track, showing some real power behind them. The segment from about the 2 minute mark until about 2:40 is just fantstic, and is one of the most memorable on the album. This happened to be one of the tracks that the band released as as single and I can definitely see why.

I’m also a big fan of I track 4 Ghost Smoke, the song opens with some truly groovy bass before kicking into stoner rock riffage. The song has a low to mid tempo to it, with parts being on the slower and heavier side. The instruments are fairly downtuned on this one and overall it sits on the doomier side of things. Then at around 3:45 or so we get some high energy stoner rock guitar work, which breaks into psychedelic guitar. This also happens to be on the tracks that the band released as a single.

Another song that I really enjoyed was track 6 Remote Controllers, this one’s a little on the longer side, coming in at 5 minutes. The track opens with some great guitar work, the vocals kick in shortly after. The first part of the song is very much stoner rock but then its a little more psychedelic from about 1 minute onward, with some trippy guitar work and less aggressive more atmospheric vocals. We pick up speed again in the middle but then return to the more relaxed style. We get some great bass and a really groove heavy segment around the 3:17 mark which shifts into some high energy rock to take us to the end of the track.

There are plenty of other solid tracks on the album but those three would probably be my favourite. Overall this is an enjoyably stoner rock release and if you’re in the mood for something to relax and/or rock out to, then give this a spin next week once it comes out.

I’ve included the singles that have been released so far below:

Valley:

https://fumarole.bandcamp.com/track/valley

Ghost Smoke:

https://fumarole.bandcamp.com/track/ghost-smoke



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