Uncle Acid And The Deadbeats, Black Mountain, Kadavar, Dean Allen Foyd, Elder, Earthless… Psychedelic embers have been reigniting in rock for a few years, wrapped in a big, nostalgic cuddle of late 60s fuzz, early Sabbath records and slow-burning joints. Lately this presence has felt particularly strong – this new(ish) surge of heavy rock, capturing swirls of stoner rock, psych rock, metal and blues.
A new favourite of ours is Sweat Lodge. They come from Texas (possibly a sweaty lodge in Texas), Talismana is their debut and it’s one of the most more-ish examples of hard psychedelia we’ve heard in ages. Where certain acts of this ilk get lost in the haze, Sweat Lodge carve it into catchy, proto-metal shapes; with plenty of bluesy rock hooks. Lots of stuff, but very digestible.
Beginning with a track called Tramplifier (Tramplifier??! We love this album already!) Talismana starts well – in a stoner-laced barrel of fuzzy goodness, plus with a head-throwing hook. Think Mountain. Think St Vitus. Think Orange Goblin, after a really big spliff. Revved up and spaced out, you’re more than ready for the mighty, blues-rocky groove of Bed Of Ashes. And, indeed, the powerful rock’n’roll table of treats that follows, which has that evocative, recorded-in-a-hot-tin-can quality without losing richness.
Stoner pacing features more heavily in places – the opening of the title track, for one – but it’s carried off effectively, and interspersed with tempo changes. Slow Burn, for instance, starts like a walk through treacle (mmm treacle…) before escalating into a dreamy gallop. Tracks like Boogie Bride (another delicious name) span rumbling bass, early 70s character and hard rock thrust. And Heavy Head is like Paranoid on some sort of trip, with edge and urgency to stop it drifting away into no man’s land.
One to get on vinyl, if you can, or just play on the best sound system possible. Such a cool, commanding record deserves some audio love.