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Black Rainbows- Deadsmoke- Duel- Holy Grove

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This time out we spotlight a stack of new releases from Heavy Psych Sounds Records. The label specializes not only in heavy psych but also in garage psych, retro rock, stoner rock, space rock, fuzz blues and lots of other cool stuff. Let's take a listen!

Black Rainbows
Stellar Prophecy

One of the lines of the album's opening track "Electrify" goes "C'mon, electrify my soul!" and the band's bass player Dario Iocca certainly has some serious juice running through his rig and effects pedals as a big, fuzzed-out bass riff anchors the heavy psych tune. "Woman" adds a bluesy feel to the vibe as guitarist Gabriele Fiori plays classic blues rock licks and sings over a quavering organ melody. From the slow, lysergic sizzle of "Golden Widow" to the boogie-psych of "Evil Snake," Stellar Prophecy is a slightly dark voyage to hidden inner realms where enlightenment surely awaits.

Deadsmoke
(Self-titled)

If you like your psychedelia slow and sludgy then here's a record for you. Sludge generally has a dark overtone but this Italian band sounds even more doomy thanks to vocalist Matteo who sings like his soul is hanging on by a thread. A forlorn sounding twangy guitar riff opens album highlight "Tornado," a cut that eventually rips through the mind, indeed like a tornado, but in slow motion. The effort closes with the fine psychedelic delirium of "Night of the Vipers."

Duel
Fears of the Dead

Keep Austin weird? This Austin-based foursome does their part here with songs like the heavy riff-rocking "Kraken" and its great sing-along lyric of "It's time to release the kraken!" The kraken sea monster is of course mythical (or is it!?) but for sure the band has created quite a beast in Fears of the Dead. Tom Frank's vocals and the arrangement of "Fell to the Earth" give the song a bit of a Doors sound and the band's penchant for '70s hard rock echoes throughout.

Holy Grove
(Self-titled)

There's a little bit of Black Sabbath love to be heard in the music of Holy Grove, noticeable especially on songs like "Nix." One big major difference though; Holy Grove has a lady behind the mic in the form of Andrea Vidal. Vidal is no delicate flower vocally and she manages to sound ominous and enticing at the same time on sludgy grooves like "Huntress" and upbeat rockers like "Caravan" as well. Vidal and the rest of the band are at their best here on the woozy and appropriately doomy "Hanged Man."

Heavy Psych Sounds has also released new music from Ape Machine, Throneless, Stoned Jesus, My Home on Trees, Old Man Lizard, Banquet and Farflung lately, and a sampler featuring all the bands mentioned in this column is also available. Find out more at www.heavypsychsounds.com

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