Acid King – Middle of Nowhere, Centre of Everywhere

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Svart Records, April 2015

9.5/10 – Jamie Cansdale

It has been some ten years since San Francisco’s Acid King their most excellent third album, simply entitled III; anyone within the deepest of doom circles will tell you that this is relatively normal and never dampens the creative output. Some bands do, however, get lost in the aether and fade from existence leaving only relics of a much loved career. Acid King – who have only just released their fourth album since their inception in 1993 – have proven with Middle of Nowhere, Centre of Everywhere that they are very much alive, showing all the countless stoner bands how the ritual should be performed.

Centre of Everywhere begins with a drone, making students of Nadja’s brand of droning ambience look like mere amateurs, before droning on into Silent Pictures, filled with nothing but spacey, fuzz-filled euphoria. The shortest number, Coming Down from Outer Space, follows, highlighting the band’s ability to up the pace yet retain a very dark and brooding atmosphere. Throughout the rest of the record, the bass retains its peak in the mix, but what stands Acid King above the rest of the crowd (like any king ought to be) is their nature of blending this transcending dirge with the hypnotic shimmering of the guitar, ebbing and flowing out of each other seamlessly – seen in tracks like Laser Headlights.

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Like any good stoner album, the listener would be advised to experience the album as one whole collective as opposed to treating each piece as an individual number – think of it as a trip! …Centre of Everywhere most certainly provides one with a transcendental trip, inducing one with the rhythms of a space many will never reach. Many of the albums lyrics beam the listeners on a trajectory outside the realms of consciousness, such as Infinite Skies which, in places, reminds one of heavier incarnations of their locale’s most praised musical era (think late-‘60s).

Before sending us back down to earth, the band treat us with their most doom-laden offering on the album: the title track features some utterly haunting drones, courtesy of Lori S., whose vocals not only serve as a guiding light on the album – complementing the music most splendidly – but on this track are like whispers through the smoke. Droning into its glorious climax the song fades into the closing trance, bringing a close to one of the finest stoner albums of late and a quintessential one at that. Acid King once again triumphs over the face of the genre showing that, like many things, the music gets only better with age.

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