8.5/10 – Antti Mikonmäki
(Soulseller Records, 2014)
Spectral Haze from Olso is only a couple of years old as a band, but the members have been playing in other Norwegian Doom, Stoner and Black Metal bands for quite some time.
They must have some killer herb (and other substances) in Norway, cuz the amount of quality Psychedelic Stoner bands seems to be quite big.
In the first song the music flows naturally in a groove which brings classic stuff like Iron Butterfly and even Jimi Hendrix to my mind, while the soundscapes remind me of Hawkwind. When we reach the second song, the Hawkwind-influences are very apparent, in a good way. At the beginning of third song the jamming goes so heavy (almost violent and chaotic), the trip turns into a bit anxious, but then comes along a riff banging like “Detroit Rock City” and takes your ship back to orbit. These are pretty much the feelings we will be spending this journey into the deep cosmos.
The bass pounds heavy and low, like in the heavy modern Doom bands, while the guitars are surprisingly thin and filled with a lot of flange and phasing effects, skilfully played, reminding of sixties above all else. The drumming sounds also as if recorded in the sixties (mostly pretty fast jamming full of cool fills, but sometimes slows down to more Rocking pace, or really slow Doom), and the natural talents evident in the playing is very reminiscent of that era as well. The vocals sound very authentic and British, like a mixture of Robert Calvert and Marillion’s Fish.
These dudes know how to create the necessary groove as a band. I’m guessing they function amazingly well on stage as well. The amount of awesome riffs on this release is staggering. There’s basically not a single boring part on this album. Like a 45 min trip, it definitely keeps you in it’s spacy grip, if you wanna listen to this amount of Psychedelia on one sitting.
This is heavy psychedelia, which appeals to you only if you can handle stuff like the biggest influences here (did I mention Hawkwind yet?) with a satisfied grin on your face. For those looking for more chilled (or ultra heavy) modern Doom or Stoner, will be disappointed. This stuff is energetic and old man, as old and energetic as Altamont.