Review: Dozer ‘In The Tail Of A Comet’, ‘Madre De Dios’ & ‘Call It Conspiracy’ Reissues
Over the course of March Heavy Psych Sounds will be reissuing the first three classic albums In The Tail Of A Comet, Madre de Dios and Call It Conspiracy by Dozer. Originally released between 2000 and 2003 on Man’s Ruin and Molten Universe, these records, not only helped shape the European stoner scene, they’ve also been highly sought after since the sad demise of both labels.
Now repackaged, including some stunning vinyl styles, they’ve been brought back to life and hoping to delight old fans and attract new listeners, as the band embark on a new tour and a new lease of life for one of the most underrated bands that stoner rock has had to offer.
Dozer ‘In The Tail Of A Comet’
Available on a variety of lovingly presented vinyl you can now get the 12” version in ‘Test Press’ (20 copies), standard Black, limited Red Vinyl (450 copies) and Ultra Limited Transparent Splatter Red Vinyl (250 copies and the absolute pick of the bunch for me) plus a 6 Panel Digipack CD of Dozer’s debut album that reminds us of this young band starting out of the gate with so much potential to deliver.
Critically In The Tail Of A Comet was generally well received, but some detractors were quick to point out they wore their Kyuss influences proudly on their sleeves. Sure there are moments when they sound like they’re close to aping the Californian Desert Kings, like the opening combination of Supersoul and Lightyears Ahead. The latter comes across as a track that could have been found on the cutting room floor of the Blues For The Red Sun sessions with its lush bass heavy nod inducing power and hypnotic groove.
It is moments like this however, that make you remember that a lot of the good that Kyuss did was already laid down by Black Sabbath and the jamming guitar owes just as much to Vol 4 as anything else. This is not to say that the sound is derivative. Supersoul may have the same spirit as Josh Homme’s most revered crew; the fuzzy style riffs, the howl of Garcia like vocals and the rhythmic sway of Olivera and Bjork, but suped up, faster and more metal.
there are more sparks of individuality to Dozer, the stand out being Fredrik Nordin’s vocals which tower over the music and grow in confidence with each passing track…
As the album progresses there are more sparks of individuality to Dozer, the stand out being Fredrik Nordin’s vocals which tower over the music and grow in confidence with each passing track. Speeder has some awful lyrics (but remember that this is their second language and Geezer Butler delivered some absolute stinkers for the greatest Metal Band of all time) but has a bouncing riff and boogie baseline that hints at the potential they would later realise.
The likes of Riding The Machine and Cupola are great examples of fun stoner work outs with the pedal to the metal rush of the familiar – good to nod your head to but nothing to set the world alight. Inside The Falcon is a moodier, darker side of the band which washes over you with tinges of space rock and held together expertly by Bäckwall’s superb drumming.
In The Tail Of A Comet is a solid debut. Yes you can say that they owe a debt to a certain band, like on closing track High Roller, but frankly so could a lot of bands during that time period. What you can hear through the crystal clear production is the sound of a passion and drive. A vibrant youth chucking their own ideas at the wall and seeing what sticks, like the extended jam on Captain Spaceheart that’s still good fun to listen to some twenty years later.
Originally Released: 25th April 2000 (Man’s Ruin)
Reissue Release Date: 13th March 2020 (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Dozer ‘Madre De Dios’
Coming a week after the reissue of In The Tail Of A Comet is Dozer’s sophomore album, Madre De Dios. Much like the first release this has been given a variety of 12” collectable vinyl options to test the willpower of the most staunch record collector – the ‘Test Press’ version (again just the 20 copies ), Ultra Limited Half Yellow/Half Brown (250 copies), Orange (450 copies) and the standard black. The digipack this time comes with an alternative cover.
If you fell in love with these albums back when they were first released now is the time to grab a copy that truly reflects that feeling.
Whilst there is no giant evolutionary step, Madre De Dios (mixed and Produced by the band and Bengt Backe) captures the vibrant fuzz that was present on the first album, but also has a murkier, more urgent vibe to the proceedings. This is evident on opening track Let The Shit Roll which leans full tilt into the new found gritty style, Nordin’s voice edgier and driven along by Johan Rockner’s frenetic bass work.
The album’s more grown up feel is helped along by an in-your-face punk vibe that helps keep focus always being propelled in a forward motion, even when they break down in to the more traditional psychedelic jams. Like on Soulshigh and Full Circle (a standing out track, not only on this album but in the scene in general for me) where the temptation to slip back into the lumbering style riffing of Kyuss is mitigated by a new sense of swagger as the track breaks out into a powerful gallop and takes the listener in a new direction.
The rhythm section of Bäckwall and Rocknar are as tight as hell allowing the guitars of Nordin and Holappa to dance around…
At times Dozer just straight ditch the desert rock work out. They may still sound like they’re being played through a tunnel of fuzzed out retro hippy gear, but at its beating heart there is a punk edge, sounding like it was produced by a relaxed band who are starting to push each other.
All the elements on Madre De Dios work well. The rhythm section of Bäckwall and Rocknar are as tight as hell allowing the guitars of Nordin and Holappa to dance around, oscillating between powerful muscle and beautiful melody. This is an album that kicks your ass as well as it can croon in your ear, ably displayed by Fredrick Nordin where he encapsulates the band that Dozer were becoming and growing in strength, power and style.
It is hard to fault the total package of the album in hindsight and on repeated listens Dozer were growing in identity – the slight tweaks in their song writing, more hardened miles on the road and grit under their fingers were adding up to something special and on album number two this was even more apparent.
Often overlooked in the canon of Dozer’s back catalogue, Madre De Dios is worth going back to and digging out again.
Originally Released: 6th March 2001 (Man’s Ruin)
Reissue Release Date: 20th March 2020 (Heavy Psych Sounds)
Dozer ‘Call It Conspiracy’
Almost as if to prove my point about Madre De Dios on the same day the final album of the reissues, and last to feature the stability of the Man’s Ruin/Molten Universe line up, Heavy Psych Sounds will also be bringing out their repackaged Call It Conspiracy release.
Once again there are some drool inducing options; released in a gatefold package, there is again the option of the .blink and you’ll miss. them Test Press vinyl (only 20 again), an ultra-limited and very sexy Yellow and Blue colour set (250), the limited all green (450) and the standard black, not to mention the 6 panel alternative cover digipack. Heavy Psych Sounds have done an amazing job with all three of these records and frankly as a fan of Dozer, and vinyl, March could prove to be an expensive month.
It’s widely regarded that their fourth album, 2005’s Through The Eyes Of Heathens, is Dozer’s classic and defining release, but looks passed their third album, 2003’s Call It Conspiracy, and just how fucking good it is.
Armed with a top notch production job curtesy of Chips Kiesbye, the album is full fat and matured Dozer simply let off the leash. On this record, all the asides their debut owed to past legends are simply swept aside as the band realise their potential.
No more a statement of intent can be better than the stomping opening anthem The Hills Have Eyes. Muscular and in your face, named after the horror movie, it’s awash with melody and soaring sing-a-long moments that sees them rightly rewarded for their self-belief. This could go toe to toe in a slugfest with any other band in the genre and they don’t even take their foot off the gas before smashing into the blistering punk meets desert rock of Rising.
[The Hills Have Eyes is] muscular and in your face, named after the horror movie, it’s awash with melody and soaring sing-a-long moments…
The tempo of Call It Conspiracy is furious, even when it slows downs on the likes of Feelgood Formula and Spirit Fury Fire there is a confidence as they attack their instruments with precision.
When Dozer hit their peaks, like on A Matter Of Timeit is hard to match them in their craft. Largely eschewing the psychedelic leanings of earlier records, Call It Conspiracyhas more in common with Monster Magnet’s Power Trip, not so much in sound, but the simple brash rock ‘n’ roll swagger the songs deliver.
Most of the 13 tracks on the album could be described as anthems and they all crackle with energy as the drums from the soon to depart Bäckwall smash and batter; the bass may take a bit of a backseat in terms of their presence in the mix compared to past releases, but it underpins everything in the ultimate example of less is more, and upfront Holappa and Nordin are on fire.
I could wax on all day about the elements of this album, but on an already lengthy reissue review it seems excessive.
What I will say about Call It Conspiracy is that it’s probably my favourite Dozer album and time has not dulled just how good it is.
Originally Released: 16th September 2003 (Molten Universe)
Reissue Release Date: 20th March 2020 (Heavy Psych Sounds)
These reissues are a welcome and timely reminder of what great a band Dozer truly were/are/hopefully will be again. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to rob a bank to get all this vinyl.
Label: Heavy Psych Sounds
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Instagram
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden