Review: Geezer & Isaak ‘Interstellar Cosmic Blues & The Riffalicious Stoner Dudes’

The good people at Heavy Psych Sounds in Rome are busy folk, so it’s entirely possible that I just missed something, but… I have been wondering whatever happened to the Doom Sessions series? It was a great series of split records that landed somewhere between a long EP and a short album and featured the sort of awesome bands you’d expect from a label as well regarded as Heavy Psych Sounds. By my count there were eight entries, but nothing since the Oreyeon and Lord Elephant split released in the spring of last year.

Geezer & Isaak 'Interstellar Cosmic Blues & The Riffalicious Stoner Dudes' Artwork
Geezer & Isaak ‘Interstellar Cosmic Blues & The Riffalicious Stoner Dudes’ Artwork

Well, I’m not sure what happened to the name, but the new split from Geezer and Isaak follows basically the same format as Doom Sessions and hopefully marks a resumption in excellent split records from the label.

I’ll start of with the band I am familiar with – Geezer – who account for the Interstellar Cosmic Blues part of the title. Hailing from Kingston, New York, Geezer are a trio who have been around the scene for quite a while and have released a bunch of records that are well worth tracking down. Their earlier stuff was sort of reminiscent of Wo-Fat – long, jam-based bluesy stoner rock, but over time the tracks became more song-focused and concise. I absolutely loved their 2020 album Groovy, probably one of my favourite stoner rock records of the last decade, and the follow-up Stoned Blues Machine was pretty solid too.

I’m pleased to report that the Geezer side of the split doesn’t mark any radical departures for the band so you can kick back and enjoy four tracks of fuzzy, chilled stoner rock. Acid Veins shows off the many good things about Geezer – huge fuzzy riffs, Pat Harrington’s gravelly vocals and the rock-solid rhythm section of Richie Touseull and Steve Markota. You do have to wait two minutes for the cowbell to kick in, but you should be able to manage given the sweet chorus. Next up is Little Voices which sees the band slow down a touch and lock into a swinging groove that demands (with grievous threats) that you nod along. It sums up everything great about Geezer – nothing flashy and all the more awesome for it.

Mercury Rising reminds me of why Geezer can be annoying to review – I’m not sure how many times I can type ‘irresistible groove’ before it starts to look like laziness. I’ll try pointing out that this one does at least have a mellow extended intro before the inevitable. Finally, there’s Oneirophrenia, which they impressively manage to squeeze into a chorus. You can tick off the boxes if you like: chugging riff, sweet guitar solo, memorable chorus, done.

if you like old-school stoner rock then it’s pretty much essential…

I can’t claim to have so much as heard of Isaak before reviewing this record, but they’re a four-piece from Genoa and, from looking at their Bandcamp page, seem to have released four albums going back to 2010 as well as splits with Mos Generator and Chron Goblin. How can they have passed me by? In any event, the title of their side The Riffalicious Stoner Dudes, assuming it’s accurate, sounded right up my street.

Isaak kick their side off with The Whale, which is quite a statement of intent centred upon a massive, gnarly guitar tone and enough energy to power a small town. It made me think of fellow Italians El Thule, who Chris Barnes at Hellride Music memorably described as possibly the angriest stoner rock band in existence, or words to that effect. It’s perhaps not quite as full-on aggro as all that, but the pounding drums and dextrous riffing are definitely a welcome short of adrenalin.

Crisis sees the band change down into more familiar mid-aced chugging territory, a place where I’d happily set up home. That said, Isaak really do show off their chops here by moving through a range of different sections, from fairly mellow to extremely pissed off. Flat Earth finishes things off and for me it’s the best one on the Isaak side. It would work really well as a closer on a full-length album as it sounds suitably epic, combining a relentless chugging riff and a weirdly memorable chorus.

You can probably tell that I really enjoyed this record. It’s hardly going to knock the Earth off its axis with sheer musical novelty, but if you like old-school stoner rock then it’s pretty much essential.

Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Geezer: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram
Isaak: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Instagram

Scribed by: Liam Blanc