Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds is certainly one of the more prominent labels in stoner and psych these days. Their roster is an impressive one and you can usually bet that what they put out will deliver for the tastes of riff enthusiasts worldwide. For today we have a nice four-song split effort from La Spezia’s Oreyeon and Florence’s Lord Elephant to check out.
We launch with Oreyeon’s cover of Slo Burn’s Wheel Fall. It’s a bit tighter and sleeker than the original but doesn’t stray too far from the formula. The vocals are a bit subdued in the mix for my liking, yet the instrumentation more than makes up for it. This is very much Desert Rock 101, but I’m okay with that.
C10H12N20 is a different matter entirely. The moody track – which spans over ten minutes – begins with a stirring King Buffalo-like build up prior to plunging into a triumphant riff highly reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins or perhaps HUM. The guitars color the progression in a lyrical fashion with a steady rhythm maintaining the pace. A brief clean section brings a moment of breathing before a return to the heavy melodic main riff brings the song to a close. A very impressive piece of ‘90s inspired instrumental alt rock.
Doom Sessions Vol. 8 is a tasty sample of the Heavy Psych Sounds roster…
Now it’s Lord Elephant’s turn with their own ten-minuter Twilight Reflexes. This is some seriously groovy and very lo-fi psychedelic blues rock in the tradition of Robin Trower and Earthless. A colorful pyrotechnic display of minor pentatonic soloing over free jazz drumming carries the track to a semi crescendo. A suitably snarling stoner bassline then takes over giving way to a much heavier end segment. It makes for a nice contrast and blend of styles.
Finally, we have a crushing rendition of Link Wray’s proto-stoner opus, Rumble (a song that was actually banned by some US stations in the 50’s for being misinterpreted as being a gang violence anthem). This version doesn’t go by the book and plays with some major chord flourishes, initially giving it a bit of a post-rock feel. The distortion gets considerably more amped up towards the middle of the track and there’s some simply delightful jams to be had. In my opinion, this is the best kind of cover in that it finds its own identity.
Doom Sessions Vol. 8 is a tasty sample of the Heavy Psych Sounds roster. Both Oreyeon and Lord Elephant do an excellent job of actually working with different styles rather than delivering a predictable stoner formula. I will certainly be looking forward to seeing and hearing more from Italy’s finest bearers of the distorted fuzz. Definitely recommended.
Scribed by: Rob Walsh