By Gruesome Greg
I was highly impressed by this Boston trio’s debut EP, The Orange Tree, which came out a couple years back, so their inaugural full-length comes highly-anticipated. Mixing stoner/sludge, psych and progressive rock, these guys deliver a pretty unique sound that’s equal parts trippy and heady stuff. In fact, this album, with a runtime just under 63 minutes, contains a three-part titular suite with a further five songs interspersed within. Does it all seem a bit Rush’ed? Yes!
Part 1 starts things off nice and heavy, droning space-rock vocals over a pounding, reverberating backbeat. There is still a good deal of airy psychedelic strains interwoven within this sludge sandwich, however—think more-recent Zoroaster, but with a bit more melody.
After a couple more robust numbers in “The Electrode Man” and “Will We Remain Tomorrow,” chockfull of crunchy riffs that kinda remind me of vintage Black Pyramid, mixed in with some Neurosis and a dash of Ufomammut (yes, it’s that tasty!), Part 2 clocks in at 10-and-a-half minutes. Starting off with some soothing chords and strings, which nevertheless seem a little spaced-out, this tune meanders along for a bit, oozing vintage prog, before a majestic riff comes down with the force of the best power-metal dragon-slayers to rescue a chastity-belted Yngwie Malmsteen. The song isn’t entirely instrumental, mind you, the vocals come in as hoarse whispers buried until a pile of sludge riffage, before taking on a cleaner, more drawn-out effect on the “chorus” (if you could call it that). The craziest part of the song has to be that Voivodesque riff that follows the refrain “No Way Outta Here!”—although it only lasts for a couple measures before we’re back into shimmering prog territory, then its lather, rinse, repeat, albeit with a slower, sludgier chorus the second time around. Yup, this here’s an original, alright!
A couple tunes later, we get another 10-minute epic in the tremendously-titled “We Move to Sleep.” This one doesn’t really have that Cisneros/Pike crunch, however, opting for a lighter (relatively speaking, of course), airier approach. That’s not to say there aren’t some solid riffs, though; the one that alternates with the vocals in the first couple verses is one heavy vegetable, and the solo that follows is impressive as well. Hell, this song even has a Floydian acoustic passage. Betcha didn’t see that coming! (Or did you?)
The third and final part of the “Moles of a Dying Race” trilogy doesn’t waste much time in getting down to business. The shortest of the suite at 5:40, it comingles heavy sludge riffage with some solo-bass interludes—this one sounding a little more like Sleep than the preceding number did. Definitely a bit of a Black Pyramid vibe as well, although the riffs here are also informed by traditional/power metal, and the vocals are of a softer, less threatening cadence. Lyrically, this is the first time the album title is pronounced, and quite often, at that.
If I mentioned Black Pyramid a couple times, it’s worth noting that not only do these guys hail from the same part of Mass, but Blue Aside axman Adam Abrams and ex-BP frontman Andy Beresky played together for a time in an outfit called Palace in Thunderland—which has recently reunited, in fact. (That’s gotta be one helluva double-axe attack!) It’s no secret that I dug the shit outta the first Pyramid record (to put it not-so-mildly), so in some ways, this is kinda what I’d hoped BP II would be. But don’t get me wrong, these guys aren’t some second-rate Black Pyramid imitators, by any means. There is only one Blue Aside, and they are fully deserving of your respect and admiration. You should really buy this record!
Listen to this album online here