Review: High Noon Kahuna ‘This Place Is Haunted’

High Noon Kahuna are Tim Otis – guitar/screams, Brian Goad – drums and Paul Cogle on bass/vocals and their prior releases comprise 2020’s S/T EP and 2022’s debut full-length Killing Spree. The trio’s Bandcamp page states that they hail from Frederick, Maryland and I’m aware of the significance of that particular state when it comes to producing bands from the doom, stoner and psych genres.

High Noon Kahuna 'This Place Is Haunted' Artwork
High Noon Kahuna ‘This Place Is Haunted’ Artwork

These include names like The Obsessed, Wretched, Internal Void, Iron Man, Earthride, Revelation and Unorthodox, Frederick in fact is also known for hosting an annual doom festival so all of this bodes well for the record, but will it measure up? We’ll soon find out…

Atomic Sunset features a kind of desert rock expansiveness that you might expect from bands such as Yawning Man, the difference here being of course the additional use of vocals. There’s a post-rock vibe too, the music’s complex and experimental nature running contrary to the seemingly simpler hand drawn cover art. A nice contrast and a brilliant opener.

Lamborghini is a punchy, bracing instrumental that reminds me of the darkness of Paisley Underground outfits such as Thin White Rope, particularly tracks such as Down In The Desert, absolutely kickass. There’s a yearning quality to Prehistoric Love Letter that reminds you of how awesome and authentic emo used to be before the Hot Topic mob muscled in with their bad makeup and indulgent self-pity. An exquisite track that actually had me teary eyed and nostalgic for my youth. Good Night God Bless is abrasive noise-rock not far removed from legends Karp and contemporary outfits such as Child Bite or Oozing Wound. Outstanding.

Intriguing, intelligent songwriting and an album that makes for a highly recommended listen…

The Devil’s Lettuce is a fascinatingly trippy blend of jazz, funk and surf style rock, meanwhile Brand New Day has post-rock vibes not too far removed from the much overlooked Ostinato. Radiohead also springs to mind especially vocally, which is interesting considering the fact that I never particularly cared for them. A more subdued track but no worse off for it. Midnight Moon is the kind of moody post-punk which yours truly is guaranteed to lap up every time and this segue-ways into Sidewalk Assassin, really quite amazing post-hardcore ala Drive Like Jehu and a more engaging At The Drive-In.

After that blast of musical fury Mystical Shit slows the pace with chilly death-rock that fans of bands such as Grave Pleasures, False Figure and The Wraith will get a huge kick out of. Interestingly, there is a more distinct metallic edge present recalling at times the Melvins. Harking back for the times when Queens of the Stone Age used to be good? Me too. Well, Tumbleweed Nightmare will help you scratch that itch. A dusty cool as fuck tune.

Flaming Dagger, contrary to its incendiary title, is an ultra-mellow, psychedelic belter not far removed from what Samsara Blues Experiment and Yuri Gagarin were/are producing, making for what is an eminently enjoyable listen. Finally, we have Et Ita Factum Est which, as with its predecessor, follows along a psych rock route but with more intensity this time, think GNOD, White Hills, Hawkwind and early Monster Magnet (John McBain era). If you are someone who enjoys indulging in substances now and again, then this provides an ideal soundtrack.

This Place Is Haunted, possessing as much musical variety as it does, could have ended up a disjointed confused disaster. Thankfully that’s nowhere near the truth, I instead find myself listening to it repeatedly so as to enjoy its many musical highlights. Intriguing, intelligent songwriting and an album that makes for a highly recommended listen.

Label: Crucial Blast Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Spotify | Twitter | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills