Golden Void: Berkana

The Bay Area band scale the astral plane on their glittering second.

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Like the Bay Area quartet’s self-titled 2012 debut, there are bare, gold bathed trees on the sleeve, but Louder Studios veteran Tim Green’s production has given Golden Void’s elemental epics a rich new density second time round, sometimes recalling his work with singer-guitarist Isaiah Mitchell’s other band Earthless.

At times it’s as if Mitchell’s crying out from a subterranean abyss where he’s fighting for his life against unknown forces, the bass and weeping guitar drop in I’ve Been Down sounding like the universe planning an interplanetary firefight only he can stop. Massive riffs stack up, Mitchell unleashes West Coast-style psychedelic guitar work, and the album seems bathed in a kind of peyote luminescence, boosted by the spectral keyboard/vocals of Camilla Saufley-Mitchell and bolstered by bassist Aaron Morgan and drummer Justin Pinkerton. Silent Season and Astral Plane freefall through meteor storms of epic melodies and dynamic riff pyramids, while final pair The Beacon and Stormland Feather take the cosmic battle further into the stratosphere before the band disappear into the mist. Golden Void emerge triumphant with this infinite benchmark for US prog.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!