Red Spektor – Heart Of The Renewed Sun
Release date: 02/10/2020
Running Time: 40:45
Review by Dark Juan
Score: Fucking millions out of 10!
Good afternoon once again, acolytes and denizens of the world. Of climes unknown to me, Brazil (hi, Victor!) and of Australia, a continent where even the wildlife is designed to kill humankind, yet where people still survive although their surroundings wage a guerrilla war, knocking off a victim here and there. And to anywhere else on this strange little blue ball careening through the galaxy at a steady 67,000 miles per hour. You are my brothers and sisters, you dear people, and my heart explodes with love for you all.
Actually, that’s a big fat lie. I am a twisted, obsidian wreck of a man only concerned with furthering my gospel and defiling virgins in the name of The One That Walks Backwards, and absinthe. My hellhounds (all three currently snoring in various positions of repose – Sir Zeusington Zeus VC, KCVG, MM, DFC and Bar stealing all the warmths in front of the radiator, Hodgson Biological-Warfare asleep on the sofa, welded to the side of Mrs. Dark Juan as usual and the Dread Lord Igor Egbert Bryan Clown-Shoe Cleavage-Hoover tilting at windmills, shouting at absolutely nothing and trying to fight dogs three times his size to no avail as is a normal day at Dark Juan Terrace…) are relaxed for once, enabling me to exhort the delights of Stoke-on-Trent heavy rock trio Red Spektor to you in peace, for once in my miserable goddamned existence! That, and the fine cup of Yorkshire tea by my side (other hot beverages are available, but trust me you wouldn’t want to fucking bother) enable me to give my full attention to an album that appears to be so far up my street it has parked its psychedelic painted Type 1 VW camper van in my front room, much to the consternation of Mrs. Dark Juan, who is upset that I have not told her that we were expecting visitors, from another plane of reality or otherwise.
Before we begin, a disclaimer – There will be drug references and an overuse of the word psychedelic in the following ranting. This is because psychedelic stoner rock gets me more excited than being left alone in a room full of cloned Gemma Arterton’s in varying states of undress and I have an endless supply of Viagra. You can thank me later for the mental image that has left you with.
Opening track ‘Warflower’ transports us instantly into the mid 70’s psychedelic explosion with a pleasing mix of Wolfmother, Hawkwind at their most muscular and the more exploratory parts of Steppenwolf and Blue Oyster Cult as a basis for their sound, with added Sir Lord Baltimore and LSD dripping Cream. This diverse mix of musical influences is indeed a Very Good Thing. It is well known that Dark Juan is a sucker for stoner and doom and added psychedelia just makes me dance like a hippy with those strange hand movements that only hippies and goth girls do to “Lucretia My Reflection”. It’s all phaser, fuzz and tube screamers and its fucking brilliant! Every instrument is mixed very well, and the clarity of the sound is excellent. The bass of Mr. Rob Farrell cuts cleanly through the mix without over powering the sound of the band as a whole and the riffs, man. The fucking riffs! Riffs of such splendour and majesty and acid fuelled power that I can’t help but prostrate myself at their feet and worship their shining puissance whilst weeping that I am the world’s shittest guitarist. Also, the impassioned howl of Mr. John Scane deserves note as he rips out his soul with his vocal, at the same time as whipping out cutting yet utterly groovy solos on his guitar. I am being transported on giant rainbow waves of mescaline fuelled enthusiasm into a stoner universe I haven’t visited since I reviewed Blackwulf, several years ago. This record is a mighty fucking beast, stomping around among the galaxies in there. Mainly because the drumming on this record, by Mr. Johnny Esp, is utterly magnificent. His drums are also produced to perfection, cymbals being punchy and easily clearing the bass and snare drum, and the bass drum being thrilling and resonant and not sounding like a taut dishcloth being clouted by a length of wet four by two.
‘Masquerade’ is a standout tune on the record, fuzz driven guitar being driven by sexy basslines and touches of Hammond organ while John howls his impassioned heart out. It has to be said that I currently love this modern reinterpretation of the early stages of hard rock and heavy metal that is being explored by the likes of Red Spektor, Lucifer, Häxan and the like. Having reviewed Blue Öyster Cult’s live record recently, I have had occasion to compare the mastery of BÖC’s early output with the more modern version that we call psychedelic stoner, and with this record by Red Spektor I am pleased to report to you all that this album is a modern classic in the making, if there’s any cosmic fucking justice.
‘Long Way Down’ has the trippiest opening I have heard in years, valve-driven fuzz phasered guitar with lashings of reverb and echo over a grooving bassline that suddenly jumps into the kind of hard rock riff that makes this hellpriest weep for joy, and want to cut the hands off every other guitarist out there. Then there’s some of the bluesiest soloing I have heard in a good long while as well. Vocally, John Scane sits in a range best described as what Wolfmother’s Andrew Stockdale would have sounded like had he not got his bollocks stuck in a vice during recording sessions and this is to his credit. ‘Violet Sun’ is arguably the most psychedelic song on the record – echo, reverb and phaser turned up to the max for the utterly glorious acid-fuelled solo. The valve-driven, tube screamer sound adds to the ambience – it is a record that sounds like it has been played on the richest sounding pieces of old equipment the band could get their hands on.
In short, this record sounds absolutely PERFECT for what it aspires to be. Vintage, trippy as fuck and hard as hell. All bases are covered – the psychedelic aspect with the sound and the sometimes (ahem) exploratory middle eights, the hard rock with the tempos and distortion and soloing, and the blues in the arrangement of the songs (especially on ‘Hell To Pay’ – that verse is bluesy as fuck mate before we go skyrocketing off into purple edged, LSD fuelled universes of the mind on the soloing) and the vocal being of the classic rock type. It is safe to say I’m a bit of a fan, and proof that music doesn’t have to be spectacularly fast and roaring to be heavy as fuck, man.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is utterly broken beyond repair right now, to the imminent despair (and probably fury) of Editorial Lord Richard of Tilley, as he doesn’t like me making a mockery of his scoring system, but it is currently reading about 47,000,000 out of 10. It could be a calibration error.
A serious contender for Album of The Year. Red Spektor are THAT good.
04. Guided Tears
05. Long Way Down
06. Violet Sun
07. Hell To Pay
08. Ivory Towers
John Scan – Vocals/ guitar
Johnny Esp – Drums
Rob Farrell – Bass
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