I have reviewed a fair few of the recent releases from Austrian label Psychedoomelic and can state now that they have a keen nose for talent, having unearthed some absolutely incredible bands, but my problem when I sat down to describe this latest slab of doom infused rock was over saturation (which I must add was due to my overzealous volunteering rather than the labels). How was I going to make this interesting for people reading as I described another quality album of Sabbath/Trouble inspired riffage? I felt like I had enjoyed the most decadent meal and was full of all the riches I could bare.
Fortunately Stereochrist put paid to that feeling like a boot to the knackers and came roaring out of the, er stereo with a sense of purpose that grabs you by the scruff of the neck and shakes you until you move with the groove.
‘Double Dealer’ gets this rollercoaster with an urgency, all chugging riffs and southern style swagger; coming off like Spiritual Beggars at their most focused which is an ear cleaning breath of fresh air. There is a little surprise as ex Mood (and now also current Magma Rise) axeman Kolos Hegyi has been spending time with members of Hungarian thrashers Neck Sprain and on this album he positively rages as shown by the whole band on the massively heavy and direct ‘Deal With or Do Without’ where he sounds like a man wringing the last notes from his guitar.
‘III’ has a hardcore flair that comes more from the Crowbar school of doom rather than the more serene styling’s of some of their label mates and this drive makes the album extremely listenable – like on the insanely catchy ‘When You Climb The Ladder’ where the band marry crushing passages that make you want to raise a flagon of ale whilst banging your hand on a wooden table with its huge melodic and hook laden choruses.
Part of this sense of purpose may be down to the return of original vocalist Péter Felföldi who handles the vocals on this album superbly, whether he is raging like a bug eyed lunatic, soaring with grace or crooning in your ear; his delivery completes and expresses itself with the music.
The band run the gamut of stoner styles; ‘941028’ is the kind of gentle instrumental piece Sabbath would have put on Vol 4; ‘Unified Theory’ is dark and brooding; ‘A Ship Load of Trick To Forfeit’ has the groove chug of Sixty Watt Shaman and ‘Queen Of The Octopi’ has the kind of baseline delivery that makes you want to go out and punch people in the pit while ‘Shallowman’ is the kind of epic powerful ballad type track that sees denim clad warriors throw horns and nod like they know the secrets of the universe…
As I said, I was somewhat apprehensive approaching this review as I didn’t want to just churn out a load of clichéd hyperbole but I have to say that ‘III’ put a massive smile on my face; whether it was admiring the subtle flavourings of double pedal drumming, some of Kolos’ heroic guitar solos or just the feeling that Stereochrist had made my job so easy by delivering something so down, dirty and damned enjoyable. Whether you like your doom slow, fast, heavy, melodic, serious or epic there is honestly something on this album for everyone and the production value is fantastic.
Recommend this album? I defy anyone who likes doom not to like it.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden