Grails/Pharaoh Overlord: Black Tar Prophecies/ Palmu

Split release teams up stoner rock and Krautrock metallers

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As befits a series of LPs that appears to be named after mystical revelations brought about by the use of heroin, the music contained on this excellent split is languid, left of centre, hypnotic and sensual.

Grails, a revered cult stoner/sludge outfit from Portland, Oregon with ties to Om and Neurosis, channel most of their esoteric output into this series and the fifth volume has seen them split the release with Krautrock and NWOBHM (or should that be Finnrock and NWOFHM) obsessed Finland outfit Pharaoh Overlord (aka Circle).

Chariots is a blissed-out haze of pedal steel, synthesizers, strings, Spanish guitar and Ennio Morricone-influenced harmonica. There is a sequel to Belgian Wake Drill, which intensifies matters with buzzing psych-rock guitar lead but the overall vibe here and on Junkie Blues is more John McLaughlin’s smooth fusion than anything else.

Things really get going with Pharaoh Overlord, however. Suntio is what you get when you combine a ZZ Top riff with Neu!-style motorik drumming and the oppressive one-note dirge of Palmu is astounding, with bent notes and drones sounding like air raid sirens and howling war plane engines during a blitzkrieg.