Here we have Taarkus… from Los Angeles, California. A relatively new band cited as a doom metal outfit with addition instruments and their own style.
Well the first chord that struck with me was the name of this 7” and its artwork. The cover is much like Emerson Lake & Palmer’s album Tarkus. In my mind this is where the band draws their influences and have clearly approved of this imagery to represent them. With all these similarities at the front of one’s perception, I was expecting a progressive fused release, mixed with some old fashioned doom and with all this under the Rise Above banner, surely we have a stellar debut on our hands?
Side A kicks off with the track Stones. It launches with a slow paced rhythm section that doesn’t shift at all for the duration of the song. This is not a bad thing as it appeals to my doom affection and my want to nod along. However the mood I set myself up for was quickly changed as the organ and flute take us into a much brighter territory. This elected mix transports us back in time to sun soaked 1970’s. The vocals from Stephanie Sallee and Emma Maatman soar as they lead the song beautifully on its journey along the chroma colored astral plain.
Side B picks up where side A left off, except At Midnight demonstrates this bands influences. The organ playing wouldn’t sound a miss on a Doors record. I’m sure Manzarek himself would approve and the flute playing brought me back to the days of listening to my mother’s Knights In White Satin LP by the Moody Blues. With The Doors having been mentioned, 1970’s vibe installed, nostalgia engaged, I was expecting more from guitarist Zak Esparza. I can’t fault his tone, but a nice bit of lead thrown into the mix somewhere would have been nice and well received by these ears. Once again the vocals ascend and raise us into the psychedelic world of trippy colors and haunting crescendos.
Overall we have an interesting ten minute debut from Taarkus. However it fell below my expectations and at this point in time, I don’t think I could sit through a full length release. The vocals, flute and organ are the dignitary instruments on here, so I would like to hear the rhythm section offer a bit more and not play it safe, so to speak. But I would certainly be curious to see what they can do next as the potential is there and they have created an intriguing piece of modern, yet vintage sounding slab of wax.
Lurking in the shadows… better keep your soul afraid…
Scribed by: Seán O’Connor