Dozer – Re-issues

Dozer – Re-issues
In The Tail Of A Comet/Madre de Dios/Call It Conspiracy
Heavy Psych Sounds
Release date: March 2020
Running time: 35:06/37:34/53:18
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10
9/10
9.5/10

Don’t you just love it when you find a new band to obsess about? Music so awesome, so perfect that it just lights up your life. Well, Dozer have filled that gap in my existence recently – I can’t believe how I endured without them before. Though these three albums are all reissues from the early part of the 21st century, so fuck knows what I’ve been up to for the last 20 years. Seriously, what was I doing back then that meant I missed out on this?

Hailing from the wonderful land of Sweden, a place which must have some kind of genetic master code for musical excellence, Dozer are a mighty stoner rock collective delivering heavy, intense and groove laden tunes. I don’t know how or why the Swedes are so good at this – is it the long, dark winter isolation? The never-ending day light in summer? Agnetha Falkstog’s tight pants? There’s something magical happening there, that’s for sure.

Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds have done the world a remarkable, philanthropic favour by re-issuing these three albums by the band. And, praise Tony Iommi, on beautiful, sexy vinyl too. This really is a wondrous, benevolent gift to bestow upon us. 

So, what does the music sound like, you ask (at least you do if, like me, you were clueless enough to be unaware of Dozer previously)? First album 2000’s “In The Tail Of A Comet” (8.5/10) erupts into beautiful, head nodding, rolling riffs from the off. Layers of fuzzy, psychedelic invention and heavy rhythms usher us into their world. A particular highlight is the finale, ‘High Roller’, where although the band take their foot off the gas a little, they create a trippy, vast soundscape to get lost in.

Nay-sayers may choose to point out Dozer’s obvious similarity to Kyuss; hell, even singer Fredrik Nordin sounds like a carbon copy John Garcia. With their second album, 2001’s “Madre de Dios” (9/10), that influence becomes less pronounced as their own creativity develops. This second album seems more brutal, more aggressive. It doesn’t take long, however, to reveal more textures and experiments with the formula – see ‘Earth Yeti’. Album number two is a faster, heavier, punkier version of Dozer – yet still expanding on the desert rock template.

By the time we get to the final album of this reissued trio – 2003’s immense “Call It Conspiracy” (9.5/10) – Dozer have developed their own sound and personality yet further. The Kyuss/FU Manchu influence is still there, but Dozer have grown into something of their own. This album is the heaviest, most “metal” work – but still creative as it stretches those stoner boundaries into new, warped shapes. Whether it’s full throttle rock’n’roll with lead track ‘The Hills Have Eyes’ or groove laden head-nodder ‘Man Made Mountain’, there’s much to explore here.

Gushing praise, indeed: but if you, dear reader, are a fan of the crushing riffs, unrestrained groove and sonic washes of stoner/desert rock – these Dozer albums are highly recommended. Tune in, turn on and explore these revived classics now.

TRACKLISTINGS:

In The Tail Of A Comet (2000):
01. Supersoul
02. Lightyears Ahead
03. Speeder
04. Inside The Falcon
05. Riding The Machine
06. Cupola
07. Grand Dragon
08. Captain Spaceheart
09. High Roller

Madre de Dios (2001):
01. Let The Shit Roll
02. Freeloader
03. Soulshigh
04. Octanoid
05. Earth Yeti
06. Full Circle
07. Mono Impact
08. Early Grace
09. TX-9
10. Thunderbolt

Call it Conspiracy (2003):
01. Hills Have Eyes
02. Rising
03. Feelgood Formula
04. The Exit
05. Spirit Fury Fire
06. A Matter of Time
07. Man Made Mountain
08. Way to Redemption
09. Crimson Highway
10. Black Light Revolution
11. Glorified
12. Lightning Stalker

LINE-UP
Tommi Holappa – Guitar
Fredrik Nordin – Guitar/Vox
Johan Rockner – Bass
Olle Mårthans – Drums

LINKS:
www.dozermusic.com/
www.facebook.com/dozerband
www.instagram.com/dozer_band/
www.lo-fi-merchandise.com/band/dozer/
www.spotify.com/artist/57VFYrmiB0eCM2qXZmV96N
www.youtube.com/user/wwwdozermusiccom
www.heavypsychsounds.com/
www.facebook.com/HEAVYPSYCHSOUNDS/

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.

Randy Holden – Population II

Randy Holden – Population II
RidingEasy Records
Release date: 28/02/2020 (Delayed Due to Covid-19, New Date Soon)
Running time: 30:25
Review by Alun Jones
8.5/10

First of all, an important note for all readers: Randy Holden is NOT the name of a winning hand in strip poker. I used the phrase at a recent gathering at my Rock’n’Roll Naturist Society club, and nearly got a bunch of fives from Ozzy as a thank you. Tommy Lee was up for it though, as you can probably imagine.

Anyway, Randy Holden is actually a guitar pioneer who served some time with proto-metal giants Blue Cheer, before splitting to take the helm of his own project.  Population II was the result – a far ahead of it’s time Big Bang of doom and sludge metal.  

Originally receiving a limited release in 1969, this album has earned cult status with afficionados of early heavy rock. And it’s no surprise why; “Population II” is a huge sounding, riff driven behemoth that sounds like it simply can’t have been created in that time period.

But it was! The era that popular culture tells us was the age of peace and love also birthed this unholy slab of heavy noise. Randy Holden, like his previous bandmates in Blue Cheer, was happily stomping all over flower power.

Of course, “Population II” is totally over the top. ‘Guitar Song’ is the first track, featuring the somewhat unimaginative opening line “I love the sound of a guitar playing” – so no marks for lyrical finesse.  If you’re after poetry, this probably ain’t for you. Instead it’s six minutes of slow, heavy driving riff-based rock that sets the tone for the album.

‘Fruit Icebergs’ is an outstanding name for any song; in fact, I might steal it for a band name. Slow like cooling lava, with a doom-laden melancholic sound – It’s dark in a Sabbath way. Whereas the shorter ‘Between Time’ picks up the pace a little and borrows a chorus from ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’.

‘Blue My Mind’ is less gloomy, but certainly taps into the blues with a hint of Hendrix. The final song, ‘Keeper Of My Flame’ is over 10 minutes of pulsating, repetitive riff wrestling that doesn’t out stay it’s welcome. Ol’ Randy stretches for the epic here and pretty much nails it, strangling that guitar and taking the listener on a heroic journey.

Yet another history lesson for which we can thank the scholars at Riding Easy Records, Randy Holden’s “Population II” is back in circulation and worth taking time to investigate. You’ll wonder how this was lost for so long.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Guitar Song
02. Fruit Icebergs
03. Between Time
04. Fruit Icebergs (Conclusion)
05. Blue My Mind
06. Keeper of my Flame

LINKS:
www.ridingeasyrecs.com/
www.ridingeasyrecords.bandcamp.com/
www.facebook.com/ridingeasyrecords
twitter.com/EasyRiderRecord
www.youtube.com/channel/UCfcKvfj8ei5GD2YVtLYhaoQ
www.instagram.com/easyriderrecord/

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.