Topographical maps may tell you that there are no deserts in Germany but Red Stoner Sun are here to prove otherwise. On their latest release, Echo Return, the Berlin trio pitch a tent revival of early Queens of the Stone Age robot rock. A lazy hypnotic beat and feedback shimmer establish the atmospherics early on album opener "Tokon Shira (reprise)" but the vibes quickly darken as the track's bludgeoning riff staggers forward with the unwavering advance of a man with murderous intent. "Horsemachine" shifts it up a couple of gears, punctuated with staccato bursts before climaxing in an orgiastic solo. The heavy riffery continues on fast and furious pounder "Poncho" and the eminently crunchy "Mr. Brown", whose robotic chords could have been penned by Josh Homme himself.
A supremely experimental psychedelic vibe pervades most of Echo Return, from fuzzy instrumental "Rockwell Six" to stoner groove-a-rama "Sizzleman", the latter showcasing singer/guitarist Marceese' laconic vocal delivery, conjuring up the ghost of Lou Reed. Perhaps the most sublime track on the album though is "Alone 25". a funky wah-wah drenched strutter. Hell you can practically feel yourself cruising through the desert with the top down and the stereo cranked, heading out to the generators on the horizon. It all culminates in "Smoke.76", an epic freakout with a decidedly spooky ambience created by both its snaky middle-eastern riff and diabolically distorted vocalizations. If you're really stoned it sounds as if Beelzebub himself is communicating directly to you through the speakers, commanding you what to do... which is probably listen to more Red Stoner Sun.