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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Album Review: SASQUATCH - "MANEUVERS"



Alright! The fifth album from one of rock's unsung practitioners has been released. Any spin through any one of the, now five, albums put out by the Los Angeles retro/stoner rock trio Sasquatch will provide opioid level euphoria through a delivery system of dense metal and decibel distension, packaged in razor sharp hooks and monumental melodies. This is the case with the first song on the first album through to the last song on the latest album, the freshly available "MANEUVERS".

The musicians that recorded "MANEUVERS" include:

Keith Gibbs - guitar, vocals
Jason Casanova - bass
Craig Riggs - drums

Where's Rick Ferrante, the longtime drummer for the band, you ask? He's very much still a part of Sasquatch. How could he not be? He's been there from the inception, providing a quality of rhythm drumwork rarely matched this side of Ginger Baker. Craig Riggs, himself an accomplished drummer, as well as vocalist, for the stoner rock legends Roadsaw and supergroup Kind, has been tasked with the skin-thumping duties on #5 as Sasquatch launch their campaign through Europe in support of the new album. Many, if not most, of the gifted musicians that ply their wares in the underground world of stoner/fuzz rock, do so outside of their regular job work schedules, so making extended forays away from those jobs isn't always possible. Rick, though, has other venues lined up for his phenomenal skills, both as a full-time member of The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic and playing live venues with the up and coming underground superstars Aboleth (is that an oxymoron - underground superstar?)

"MANEUVERS" consist of 8 intensely amplified tracks of thick, syrupy mega-fuzz in which Keith Gibbs' wonderfully mellifluous vocals match perfectly his sledge hammer heavy riffs and ozone searing solos, where Jason Casanova's bass is forcefully wielded, relentless in muscular ferocity, and Craig Riggs' steady rhythms sting and pound in incessant brilliance. The overall tone is a soulful resonance, somber, edgy, and nostalgic, unyielding in its sheer power.

"Rational Woman" kicks off the show with gargantuan raggedness, beautifully laid down in primal tempo, showcasing Gibbs' rich, powerfully melancholy vocals. "More Than You'll Ever Be" is steady and relentless, advancing in magnetic forcefulness. "Destroyer" demonstrates the raw might of haunting tonality. "Bringing Me Down" is reminiscent of early Sasquatch songs in sentiment and style, a welcome memory for some, a fresh introduction into past glory for others. Funky and on fire, "Just Couldn't Stand the Weather" brandishes a unique melody and style, a departure that doesn't stray too far from the path marked 'Sasquatch', but is populated by some intriguing mutations, riff creatures at once familiar and uncanny. "Drown All the Evidence" is Americana, magnified, amplified, and wracked through with distortions of flagrant pleasure, punctuated by elegantly ragged, bruising solos. "Anyway" is a psychedelic charmer, a brightly colored panacea, recharging batteries in color and brilliance. The closer is the massive and melancholy "Window Pain". The blue pain and gray fog atmosphere of this song is punctuated by the rare use of keyboards, highlighting the feeling of loss and a damaged soul. Solos reminiscent of Ernie Isley rip through the gray morass in sharp, keen doses.

Overall this album delivers a massive load of essential feels. The music is nostalgic and new, familiar because it's crafted by masters of more than a decade of accomplishment, as well as fresh in a package of nascent material that expounds on a proven formula without a hint of staleness. It's a sound that hearkens back to the last decade when stoner rock was still new and Sasquatch were new kids on the block. The guitars come in every satisfying form, distorting the edges, and burning the center, tapping into those primal cords that run central to us all. Gibbs' vocals are solid, full of heft and strength, and forging soulful connections over and again. Fierceness and joy, the hallmarks of those who love the weapons they wield, are on perfect display through Casanova's masterful, subterranean riffs. And Riggs steps into what would normally be a massive void, shouldering expectations and delivering brilliance with his consummate rhythmic execution.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Riff Hit: ATTALLA - "GLACIAL RULE"



In June of 2014 Attalla released their self-titled first album which quickly garnered acclaim from consumer and critic alike. It was the type of album that, by the time you'd taken in all it's ragged riff glory you began craving the next release. It's taken nearly three years for them to issue a sophomore production, time, one must presume, they took in creating and mastering the contents of the doomrunner-up. It was time well and perfectly spent as "Glacial Rule" fairly detonates in controlled eruption on each track, delivering dense fuzz in dark doom licks, a more controlled assault, more measured in pace, than on the first album, deeper, thicker, but still melodic and hookish. It's perhaps evidence of growth that this foursome didn't rest on the laurels garnered by their initial release, but instead put in the time and work to craft something more, something still of themselves but delving into the gloom, down uncharted tunnels of thick atmosphere and impenetrable doom.

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