Various Artists – Live In The Mojave Desert – Volumes 1-5

Various Artists - Live In The Mojave Desert - Volumes 1-5

Various Artists – Live In The Mojave Desert
Heavy Psych Sounds
Volumes 1-5
Review by: Alun Jones

Hi everyone, it’s Rick. Before I hand you over to Alun I wanted to give you just a little extra background on these releases. All of these performances were a partnership between the California Desert Wizard Association and, in Europe, Heavy Psych Sounds to bring you a series of world-premiere 1080p HD livestream concerts that would subsequently be released as digipak and vinyl versions. All performances were recorded in 24 track ProTools and inspired by Pink Floyd’s 1972 Concert Documentary, “Live At Pompeii”!

Hello there! Remember me? It’s me, that bloke who occasionally reviews albums for Ever Metal and spins ropey old yarns about rock’n’roll. Yeah, him. Sorry I’ve been absent for a while, had a few things on my all-you-can-eat buffet plate recently. More about that another time (if the lawyers allow me). For now, recline in your favourite easy chair, and let’s review. Are you with me? Good.

Right then, bit of a mammoth task, this one. “Live In The Mojave Desert” is actually a series of five albums, each recorded live (of course) amongst the sand and rocks of the Californian desert. It’s probably like Star Trek, when Kirk and crew are roaming around the cliffs and valleys – but in the dark, and with guitars and lights and stuff – and no one dies (hopefully).

Earthless, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.1 Cover

Volume 1: Earthless
Release Date: 02/04/2021
Running Time: 77:00
9/10

Up first in my sequence of albums is the legendary Earthless, a band who should need no introduction. I listened to their offering whilst on a trip to North Wales; sadly, the surf was flat, but the sonic musings of this three piece fitted perfectly with the rolling roads between green valleys and big skies. In the land of druids and standing stones, witches and warriors, this was a perfect soundtrack. The songs are a journey in themselves, awash with psychedelic Hendrix style explorations. Only three songs, but they’re plenty lengthy and offer huge scope. It’s actually quite beautiful.

Nebula, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.2 Cover

Volume 2: Nebula
Release Date: 09/04/2021
Running Time: 48:05
8/10

An offering in this series from my old buddies Nebula was very welcome, their brand of psych drenched sci-fi hard rock being something I’m somewhat partial to. This is the album with the most obviously “live” feel – not that it’s sloppy at all, the very occasional tiny imperfections and wall of fuzz give a genuine and celebratory vibe. Opening track ‘To The Centre’ is a feedback drenched, blistering explosion. ‘Giant’ is another standout track with a bouncing, crazy gonzo riff.

Spirit Mother, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.3

Volume 3: Spirit Mother
Release Date: 16/04/2021
Running Time: 33:20
8.5/10

Spirit Mother are another band I’ve not heard before, and they were a real surprise. Their first song, ‘Tonic (Exodus Inc)’ is straight off the soundtrack of some forgotten Italian/Turkish 1970s’ horror movie. The band take the standard desert/doom rock and add violin, and everything veers off in a totally unexpected direction. From mournful 70’s rock on “Ether” to creating their own genre of gothic Spaghetti Western (“Dead Cells”), it’s like Morricone on peyote orchestrating The Exorcist.  Strangely beguiling.

Stöner, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.4 Cover

Volume 4: Stöner
Release Date: 27/04/2021
Running Time: 46:33
9/10

Next on the list was the debut release of Stöner, the very aptly named stoner rock “supergroup” which features Brant Bjork (Kyuss, Fu Manchu, solo etc) and Nick Oliveri (Kyuss, QOTSA, Mondo Generator etc etc). With Brant’s drummer, Ryan Güt whacking the tubs. As a fan of these rogues’ other bands, I was definitely curious about this release. No fear here: this is exactly what I hoped it would be: desert rock royalty. ‘Rad Is Rad’ features a relentless, rolling bassline that drags the listener along on a head-nodding journey whilst Brant croons in his laid-back manner. The big, groovy bass continues in ‘The Older Kids’, and the tracks develop a trancelike vibe as it progresses. And strap yourself in for the final song, ‘Tribe/Fly Girl’ – over 13 minutes that will melt your eyeballs. Definitive.

Mountain Tamer, Live In The Mojave Desert Vol.5 Cover

Volume 5: Mountain Tamer
Release Date:09/05/2021
Running Time: 36:05
8/10

The album I listened to last in the collection was Mountain Tamer, a band I wasn’t familiar with previously, but a cool name. And a cool name goes a long way with me. The Mountain Tamer sound is raw and in-your-face, with mighty, meaty riffs that clunk around in full-on doom style. There’s also a mind expanding, trippy element to their music, leaving me with the impression of Black Flag in a collision with Hawkwind. This unique approach is best exemplified by stand out tracks ‘Black Noise’ and ‘Scorched Earth’, but it’s all damn fine.

That’s it: five albums, five bands, and a mind-blowing excursion into the remote desert valleys. Whether showcasing how it should be done, or abducting the listener in a smoke-filled UFO to be probed in new realms, these live collections are a trip.

TRACKLISTINGS:
Earthless – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 1
01. Violence Of The Red Sea
02. Sonic Prayer
03. Lost In The Cold Sun

Nebula – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 2
01. To The Center
02. Man’s Best Friend
03. Giant
04. Clear Light
05. Highwire
06. Wall Of Confusion
07. Tomorrow Never Comes
08. Let’s Get Lost
09. Messiah
10. Perfect Rapture

Spirit Mother – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 3
01. Tonic (Exodus Inc)
02. Ether
03. Go Getter
04. My Head Is Sinking
05. Martyrs
06. Premonitions
07. Dead Cells
08. Black Sheep
09. Space Cadets

10. Heathens

Stöner – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4
01. Rad Stays Rad
02. The Older Kids
03. Own Yer Blues
04. Nothin’
05. Evel Never Dies
06. Stand Down
07. Tribe/Fly Girl

Mountain Tamer – Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 5
01. Warlock
02. Turoc Maximus Antonis
03. Chained
04. Death In The Woods
05. Black Noise
06. Funeral Of A Dog
07. Living In Vain
08. Scorched Earth

LINKS:
Earthless:

Nebula:

Spirit Mother:

Stöner:

Mountain Tamer:

Heavy Psych Sounds:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Alun Jones and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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