Now here’s a stoner rock supergroup, if I ever did see one! Big Scenic Nowhere is a collaborative effort between Bob Balch and Gary Arce, with guest appearances from the likes of Mario Lalli, Nick Oliveri, Tony Reed and Monolord frontman Thomas Jäger, who is quite a ways away from the California desert. Their debut effort features nine tracks clocking in just shy of 45 minutes, and contains at least some of the riffs you might expect.
“The Glim” opens the proceedings with a slow ‘n heavy riff that sounds more Kyuss than Fu Manchu, moving along at a steady, head-nodding pace until it hits its lighter, airier, Bowie-er chorus around the 90-second mark. Clocking in at just 95 seconds, “The Paranoid” is the kind of rapid-fire punk rock heard from Bl’ast, a very young Neurosis or even pre-Fu Manchu outfit Virulence. “Then I Was Gone” turns some of the stoner-rock tones back on, but it’s got more of a post-punk/goth-rock feel, particularly in its softer chorus. “Mirror Image” also offsets its fuzzy crunchy with gothic gang vocals, giving it a bit of a late 90’s Ozzy feel; likewise, the jaunty, riff-forward “Shadows from the Altar” is much more akin to Uncle Acid than Acid King.
Although it’s one of the mellower numbers on here, the light, airy, seven-minute “Hidden Wall” might do the best job of capturing the laid-back vibe, albeit one in which xylophone-sounding keys feature prominently. It’s definitely not “desert rock,” but still a decent tune to chill out to.
(Heavy Psych Sounds)