Various Artists – Live In The Mojave Desert – Volumes 1-5

Various Artists - Live In The Mojave Desert - Volumes 1-5

Various Artists – Live In The Mojave Desert
Heavy Psych Sounds
Volumes 1-5
Review by: Alun Jones

Hi everyone, it’s Rick. Before I hand you over to Alun I wanted to give you just a little extra background on these releases. All of these performances were a partnership between the California Desert Wizard Association and, in Europe, Heavy Psych Sounds to bring you a series of world-premiere 1080p HD livestream concerts that would subsequently be released as digipak and vinyl versions. All performances were recorded in 24 track ProTools and inspired by Pink Floyd’s 1972 Concert Documentary, “Live At Pompeii”!

Hello there! Remember me? It’s me, that bloke who occasionally reviews albums for Ever Metal and spins ropey old yarns about rock’n’roll. Yeah, him. Sorry I’ve been absent for a while, had a few things on my all-you-can-eat buffet plate recently. More about that another time (if the lawyers allow me). For now, recline in your favourite easy chair, and let’s review. Are you with me? Good.

Right then, bit of a mammoth task, this one. “Live In The Mojave Desert” is actually a series of five albums, each recorded live (of course) amongst the sand and rocks of the Californian desert. It’s probably like Star Trek, when Kirk and crew are roaming around the cliffs and valleys – but in the dark, and with guitars and lights and stuff – and no one dies (hopefully).

Earthless, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.1 Cover

Volume 1: Earthless
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 77:00
9/10

Up first in my sequence of albums is the legendary Earthless, a band who should need no introduction. I listened to their offering whilst on a trip to North Wales; sadly, the surf was flat, but the sonic musings of this three piece fitted perfectly with the rolling roads between green valleys and big skies. In the land of druids and standing stones, witches and warriors, this was a perfect soundtrack. The songs are a journey in themselves, awash with psychedelic Hendrix style explorations. Only three songs, but they’re plenty lengthy and offer huge scope. It’s actually quite beautiful.

Nebula, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.2 Cover

Volume 2: Nebula
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 48:05
8/10

An offering in this series from my old buddies Nebula was very welcome, their brand of psych drenched sci-fi hard rock being something I’m somewhat partial to. This is the album with the most obviously “live” feel – not that it’s sloppy at all, the very occasional tiny imperfections and wall of fuzz give a genuine and celebratory vibe. Opening track ‘To The Centre’ is a feedback drenched, blistering explosion. ‘Giant’ is another standout track with a bouncing, crazy gonzo riff.

Spirit Mother, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.3

Volume 3: Spirit Mother
Release Date: 16/04/2021
Running Time: 33:20
8.5/10

Spirit Mother are another band I’ve not heard before, and they were a real surprise. Their first song, ‘Tonic (Exodus Inc)’ is straight off the soundtrack of some forgotten Italian/Turkish 1970s’ horror movie. The band take the standard desert/doom rock and add violin, and everything veers off in a totally unexpected direction. From mournful 70’s rock on “Ether” to creating their own genre of gothic Spaghetti Western (“Dead Cells”), it’s like Morricone on peyote orchestrating The Exorcist.  Strangely beguiling.

Stöner, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.4 Cover

Volume 4: Stöner
Release Date: 27/04/2021
Running Time: 46:33
9/10

Next on the list was the debut release of Stöner, the very aptly named stoner rock “supergroup” which features Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu, solo etc) and Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, QOTSA, Mondo Generator etc etc). With Brant’s drummer, Ryan Güt whacking the tubs. As a fan of these rogues’ other bands, I was definitely curious about this release. No fear here: this is exactly what I hoped it would be: desert rock royalty. ‘Rad Is Rad’ features a relentless, rolling bassline that drags the listener along on a head-nodding journey whilst Brant croons in his laid-back manner. The big, groovy bass continues in ‘The Older Kids’, and the tracks develop a trancelike vibe as it progresses. And strap yourself in for the final song, ‘Tribe/Fly Girl’ – over 13 minutes that will melt your eyeballs. Definitive.

Mountain Tamer, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.5 Cover

Volume 5: Mountain Tamer
Release Date:09/05/2021
Running Time: 36:05
8/10

The album I listened to last in the collection was Mountain Tamer, a band I wasn’t familiar with previously, but a cool name. And a cool name goes a long way with me. The Mountain Tamer sound is raw and in-your-face, with mighty, meaty riffs that clunk around in full-on doom style. There’s also a mind expanding, trippy element to their music, leaving me with the impression of Black Flag in a collision with Hawkwind. This unique approach is best exemplified by stand out tracks ‘Black Noise’ and ‘Scorched Earth’, but it’s all damn fine.

That’s it: five albums, five bands, and a mind-blowing excursion into the remote desert valleys. Whether showcasing how it should be done, or abducting the listener in a smoke-filled UFO to be probed in new realms, these live collections are a trip.

TRACKLISTINGS:
Earthless – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 1
01. Violence Of The Red Sea
02. Sonic Prayer
03. Lost In The Cold Sun

Nebula – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 2
01. To The Center
02. Man’s Best Friend
03. Giant
04. Clear Light
05. Highwire
06. Wall Of Confusion
07. Tomorrow Never Comes
08. Let’s Get Lost
09. Messiah
10. Perfect Rapture

Spirit Mother – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 3
01. Tonic (Exodus Inc)
02. Ether
03. Go Getter
04. My Head Is Sinking
05. Martyrs
06. Premonitions
07. Dead Cells
08. Black Sheep
09. Space Cadets

10. Heathens

Stöner – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4
01. Rad Stays Rad
02. The Older Kids
03. Own Yer Blues
04. Nothin’
05. Evel Never Dies
06. Stand Down
07. Tribe/Fly Girl

Mountain Tamer – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 5
01. Warlock
02. Turoc Maximus Antonis
03. Chained
04. Death In The Woods
05. Black Noise
06. Funeral Of A Dog
07. Living In Vain
08. Scorched Earth

LINKS:
Earthless:

Nebula:

Spirit Mother:

Stöner:

Mountain Tamer:

Heavy Psych Sounds:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

Dead Witches/Witchthroat Serpent – Doom Sessions Vol 666 Split EP

Doom Sessions Vol.666 Dead Witches & Witchthroat Serpent EP Cover Art

Dead Witches/Witchthroat Serpent – Doom Sessions Vol 666 Split EP
Heavy Psych Sounds
Released Date 18/06/2021
Running Time: 31:41
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

The baleful, screaming yellow eye in the sky above Yorkshire is trying to kill me. It bathes me in rays that cause me to scurry for the nearest black cover I can find and cower there, helpless before its puissance and wait until it turns its ferocious gaze to another victim. I cannot glare my defiance at it as it sears my retinas with its endless hatred and neither can I offer it any physical resistance whatsoever as it burns me from afar before I can plunge my fingers into its ocular cavity and scoop out the terrible, fiery beast. Far better, then, to remain in Dark Juan Terrace and lock the door and bid defiance to the horror from without. Except the fucking smellhounds have to be walked and I have to go to the post office and I have to endure the vile, sweaty unpleasantness that comes with the three days of the sun that constitutes a British summer. Mrs. Dark Juan, however, is soaking up the diabolical radiation as she creates a model of a witch transforming into a hare (which is a thing according to Yorkshire folklore, and, fact fans, the British were-animal is in fact the werehare, thereby proving that Britain is a bit shit in most respects, not least in were-animals. I mean even a were-weasel would be better than a jumped up rabbit analogue, would it not?) and once more terrifies the neighbours and the good people of Facebook when she posts pictures of them on it.

So, in a desperate attempt to escape the pasty-legged denizens of fair Halifax wearing voluminous shorts, I have elected instead to remain indoors and listen to the heavy, heavy sounds of doom heavyweights Dead Witches (dragged screaming from the mind of the estimable, and admirably sideburned and flared trousered Mark Greening who you may know from Electric Wizard, Ramesses and With The Dead and Witchthroat Serpent, who are French doommeisters and who unaccountably have not arrested my attention before. As this is an EP, I shall follow my usual style and detail each song briefly…

Dead Witches… Now there’s a name to conjure with, especially if you are a Lancastrian like me and your home county is famous for hanging wise women and having jumped up trials in Pendle, which got people killed on the word of a disturbed child. ‘D.I.E.’ is the name of the song DW have offered to this EP, and it is a mere 14 minutes in length and it is superfuzz overload. It is riff after orgasmic riff, underpinned with what can only be described as fucking diabolical bass, such is the subterranean rumble that has turned my brain to fluid not unlike a chunky salsa, and my brain to a jellylike, pliable substance. This is Heaviness with a capital H, dear friends. This is heavier than every single one of your female relatives wearing neutronium lingerie, standing on a plutonium plinth and swinging lead handbags at your noggin. The sound of the song is a colossal, soupy, drug-fuelled and fuzzy at the edges mix that is as huge as the running time. Special mention must be made of vocalist Spring Thompson, who adds an unexpected punk edge to the proceedings with her highly charged, furious vocal delivery. In short – even though it is 14 minutes long, ‘D.I.E.’ is a supremely coherent piece of ultrasludgy doom that easily holds your interest and is riff nirvana. You can tell Mark is behind it all, being the doom megastar that he is, but reigning in the more extreme sound of Electric Wizard for something a little bit more listenable. This is very very good indeed, and the worthy French band following them have a real class act to live up to.

…And live up to them they do. Even though I have lived in France, until I started writing for Ever-Metal.com I had considered the French metal scene to barely exist, yet by God our neighbours over the water have cranked out some magnificently violent stuff in Dirge (fucking awesome), Obzson Geschopf (industrial madhead obsessed with new jack hip hop), Rostres (drone perfection), P.H.O.B.O.S (possibly the heaviest industrial record ever to exist in “Phlogiston Catharsis”), Escotrilihum (one man, utterly utterly demented black metal) and now Toulouse-based Witchthroat Serpent. The French bruisers contribute two tracks to this EP – ‘The Fall Of Whitewood’ and ‘Cyanide Laced-Flavour’ (they used the American spelling but I speak the correct form of English and therefore will also spell it correctly too) [Mr. Juan should know that if it is a song/album title or band name that shouldn’t be done so it is ‘Cyanide Laced-Flavor’. I shall take the whip to him later – Rick] and it has to be said that they are easily up to the weight of their British partners on this record. Riffs of monolithic chunkiness extend into colossal grooves and just keep on fucking going, taking you ever deeper into realms of mystical mescaline-fuelled splendour. The bass on both tracks (which are incidentally linked with close to two minutes of screaming feedback [electric alchemy – just another reason why doom is so good. They can use even the squealing of a feedbacking guitar to continue the colossal grooves] underpinned by a slowly building rhythm section) is sludgier than a day out at Davyhulme Sewage Treatment Works (if you’ve ever been over Barton Bridge on the M60 around Manchester you’ve smelled it) and has gone beyond mere fuzz into theoretical places where only hyperfuzz exists. It also has more bottom end than several dozen busloads of twerking, miniskirted pissheads in Gateshead on a Saturday night. The drumming is tight and multifaceted and the two tunes link and complement each other perfectly. The vocalist is also top notch as he wails and howls over the endless infinity groove.

All three of these songs are doom done right. None of them have any faults whatsoever. Which is annoying because I love picking holes in stuff and being rude about bands. What? Relax, I’m only joking, you muppets. I love the music and the bands and the people in them. I’m firm but fair, mate.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Le système breveté de notation des éclaboussures de sang Dark Juan pour nos amis français – de rien!) cannot help but award the full beans 10/10 to both Dead Witches (doing Blighty proud) and Witchthroat Serpent (you have won a lifelong fan in me, messieurs) for a masterclass in fucking perfect doom metal from each side of the channel. Magnifique!!

Dead Witches – ‘D.I.E.’ (Dragged Into Emptiness) (Official Video)

Witchthroat Serpent – ‘ The Fall Of Whitewood’ (Official Audio)

TRACKLISTING:
01. Die – Dead Witches
02. The Fall Of Whitewood – Witchthroat Serpent
03. Cyanide Laced-Flavor – Witchthroat Serpent

LINE-UPS:
Dead Witches
Mark Greening – Drums & Concussion
Rab McIlrath – Guitars
Sam Cutbush – Bass
Spring Thompson – Vocals

Witchthroat Serpent
Fredrik – Vocals & Guitars
Niko – Drums
Ügo – Bass
Djé – Guitars

DEAD WITCHES LINKS:

WITCHTHROAT SERPENT LINKS:

Dead Witches & Witchthroat Serpent Promo Pics

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.