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It is not often that I listen to
an album that leaves my jaw on the floor for the duration of said album. Perhaps
I'm a little jaded, or maybe it's that between my radio show and these reviews,
I literally hear hundreds of releases every year. Recording technology is so
prevalent and so inexpensive that pretty much anyone or any band can record and
release their music, and no offense, but the very vast majority of it is
generic and mediocre.
When I dropped the needle on
this new release from Wo Fat, not only did my jaw hit the floor, but my
ears rejoiced and that deep, reptilian part of my brain was dancing in ecstasy.
As a fan of heavy music, I was familiar with the previous releases from this
band, but this, this is Wo Fat on a completely different level. This is not
just one step up. This album has me wondering if perhaps aliens came to visit
the band and gave them a DNA injection of galactic level heaviness.
If, by chance, you are not
familiar with this band, the best way I can describe them is a heavy rock band
that can groove and get a little funky, and can seem to bend time and space
with their rhythmic alchemy. They very often are lumped into the stoner rock
genre, and I can see how that happens, but they are so much more that. To do so
is not fair to them. There are elements of doom and classic rock in what they
do. And did I mention that they are heavy?
I listened to album opener,
“There's Something Sinister In The Wind”, and for the first couple of minutes,
it seemed like a straight ahead rocker. Then without warning, all of these
rhythmic twists and turns started happening and the song morphed first in one
direction, and then into something completely different. Yet with every change
the band was right there, together, blowing my mind. It is an astonishing track
to listen to; you really need to do it. My words are never going to do it
“Of Smoke And Fog” is another
stunner. Perhaps it doesn't quite hit Hendrixian levels, but the opening
minutes definitely have a Trower-esque feeling, that is, until the heaviness
slowly sneaks in the absolutely levels everything in its path. And then melding
back into the vibe of the opening minutes.
I mentioned alchemy in an
earlier paragraph, and that is truly what this band does on this album. They
take the basic elements of guitar, bass and drums, and create something that
simply has to be heard. The creativity and flexibility of this band on this
album are like an entirely new element, something that is rarely achieved in
the oversaturated world of music these days. I mentioned just a couple of
tracks, but every one of the six songs on this album deserve to be heard over
and over again. There aren't too many albums these days that need to be heard,
but this is definitely one of them. This is well and truly an album of the year
candidate. If this is what midnight sounds like, I hope we can freeze time so
that it is always that time of night.