As stoner rock & doom metal have expanded over the last few decades, we’ve seen more and more bands mining, for inspiration, the original, obscure, ‘proto-metal’ bands of the early 70s that ran parallel with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Bands like Dust, and Captain Beyond, or, taking it one step further, the bands featured on the now-legendary Brown Acid series on RidingEasy Records. It is here, in that Twilight Zone of hard rock & heavy metal, that Portland Oregon’s Greenseeker dwell. Sighting all the usual suspects as influences, they stand out from the pack slightly due to the fact they have a female singer, AND a female bass player, who also contributes vocals. As well, they deploy a Hammond organ-infused attack, that balances the riffage and retro sounds nicely.
The Wish, Greenseeker’s debut, released on StoneFly Records, sounds like it was shot through a time portal from 1970. Opener The Iron Tree immediately introduces the bands advertised traits. The Hammond organ is instantly on display, as well as some pleasant, warm, retro-shred courtesy of guitarist Max Siegfried, and vocalist Lauren Hatch’s ethereal, yet-commanding voice and fantasy-themed lyrics take center stage, as do her keyboard skills. Additionally, bassist Selina Cleary‘s background, harmonizing vocals directly compliment Hatch, achieving a soaring vocal effect.
Greenseeker go deep into the purple with the organ-riff-stomp of The Wheel And The Stone, the band clearly taking cues from Messrs Blackmore and Lord. However, Hatch won’t be confused with Ian Gillian anytime soon, so her presence alone makes this more than a straight Deep Purple-bite. Plus, the band transport into prog-freak-out territory before circling back with a nice galloping riff. Again, I must mention the bands tone, as it sounds warm and retro, underscoring their mission statement.
Return To The Mortal Plane teases another early 70s keyboard-bashing-prog-freak-out before settling into a nice chugging, retro riff gallop. Return To The Mortal Plane serves as a centerpiece of The Wish as it builds, drops, and showcases the multiple layers of Greenseeker. Hatch’s distant, yet urgent vocals propel the song through its many twists and turns. Siegfried unleashes a basic, yet triumphant riff at the midway point, foreshadowing the upcoming epic breakdown.
Diviner / Charmed Apprentice is an odd number, beginning as a trippy, spoken-word sample, of what I could not immediately discern, that’s complete with psych-synth-flourishes, and some complimentary, understated-shred from Siegfried. Diviner / Charmed Apprentice then morphs into a quasi-funky, bouncy, organ-stomper. There’s a slight Doors-esque feel on the way out, the organ obviously queuing up that analogy. Uncharted Realms is another slow-burn/build-up/payoff, with a pretty cool, slightly frenzied breakdown, whereas Master Of The Storm keeps a mellower, melancholic energy throughout. Sure, there’s a buildup, but the expected big-riff, breakdown never comes. Instead, Hatch croons and keeps the organ and synth flowing until the songs conclusion.
The Wish concludes with the title track, The Wish. While not a bad track, or record closer by any stretch, I felt the band ran out of gas slightly here, as tempo-wise Greenseeker doesn’t mix it up too much, riding essentially the same groove for the duration of its near twelve minutes. There are some decent riffs, especially towards the end, nice keyboard flourishes, and both Cleary and drummer Shea Gegan sound excellent, keeping the rhythm thudding along, but perhaps Uncharted Realms, or even Return To The Mortal Plane may have served as a more dramatic ending to the record, but who am I to second guess their sequencing?
There’s a loose story running through the songs of The Wish, but frankly, I didn’t dig too deep into Hatch’s lyrical themes, as I got the gist of it throughout the songs. Nor does the listener need to follow any specific narrative to enjoy The Wish.
The Wish is a good, accomplished debut from a band who clearly know what they’re trying to achieve sonically. It’s recorded well, with nice, warm, fuzzy, retro tones, and stands out slightly from the stoner hordes due to the Hammond being front and center, along with Hatch and Cleary’s vocals.
Scribed by: Martin Williams