Vocalist/guitarist David Angstrom has been part of and behind a few potent propositions, Hermano, Supafuzz, and Asylum On The Hill included, but he might have just outdone them all with Luna Sol, certainly if their debut album is a taste of things to come. Blood Moon is a glorious roar of backwoods bred stoner rock, bulging with voracious riffs and intoxicating grooves as well as a blues spicing to have you woozy. It is also one of the most contagiously virulent slabs of dark rock ‘n’ roll to hit the senses in recent months, nay years.
It was 2012 when Angstrom moved to the mountains just north of Denver and began being inspired by the local news and folklore, and you might suggest the “we don’t like strangers” mind-set that small out of the way communities can develop. With songs in his creative pocket, Angstrom formed Luna Sol with local musicians in the creative shape of guitarist/ vocalist Shanda Kolberg (The Swanks), bassist /vocalist Shannon Fahnestock (The Swindlers), and drummer Pat Gill (The Feds, ’76 Pinto). Recorded at Sierra Estates in Colorado, Blood Moon is the first aural moonshine from the band, a collection of songs easy to get a greedy taste for alongside a rabid addiction too.
Musically there is no escaping offering references to the likes of Kyuss and early Queens Of The Stone Age, but they are colours to a tapestry hard to suggest is anything but Luna Sol like. Quick evidence comes with album opener Bridges. Percussion and guitar make an immediate lure which soon expands in a haze of sonic electricity and spicy enterprise as the vocal roar of Angstrom hits ears and appetite as forcibly as the sounds around him. It is soon evident that vocals are shared in varying ways across the band which only adds to the diversity and theatre of song and creative release. The album also features several guests, here Dean Smith (Supafuzz) adding bass growls within the fiery web of guitars.
The excellent enslaving start continues with Death Mountain, the skills of bassist Dandy Brown (Hermano, Orquestra del Desierto) and slide guitarist Greg Martin (Kentucky Headhunters) adding to the crawling seduction on offer. Almost from its first breath, ‘drunken’ grooves are winding their meandering charm around the imagination whilst the bass is a grouchy but compelling protagonist against the potent twin vocal delivery. Like a primal seductress the track entices and crawls over the listener, intimidating as it lures until the infection flooded chorus warms the soul as the prowess of Martin bewitches.
The pair of December and Leadville keep ears and appetite just as engrossed next, the first of the two with its dirtier air and more predatory attitude backed by the additional magnetic tones of John Garcia (Vista Chino, Hermano, Kyuss). The track has the weight and muscle of a beast and the sonic toxicity of neat liquor as well as the melodic beauty of a mountain vista, whilst its successor unleashes an addiction forging swing any rock band would salaciously solicit for. Its swagger is irresistible and sonic air bracing with the peak of pleasure arriving with the slips into the relative calm of banjo plucks and vocal repetition courted by a juicy dark bass tempting.
Pretty Rotten keeps that slightly bestial tone going in its compelling stroll lined with the barracuda like tones of the bass provided by Nick Oliveri (Vista Chino, Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age). As with the previous pair of tracks there is also an essence of what is basically rock pop catchiness which plays like a mix of 12 Stone Toddler and Eagle of Death Metal and has ears and emotions fired up as greedily as the tonic of blues flames scorches the whole thrilling affair.
Thicker classic rock hues join stoner instincts for Operator, a song which took longer to warm to in the same way the others inspired but almost creeps up on the passions as by half way realisation sets in that body sways and vocal participation have joined the call before thoughts. The track is hypnotic, another hazily crawling tempting which eventually and fully has its way before passing over ears to Standley Lake for an infestation of the imagination and psyche with its rhythmic spell and scorching winey grooves. It too is a slow burn on the passions in a way but a highly resourceful and successful one easily involving hips and throat by the time Your Way steps forward with its rich blues and psych rock smoulder aided by the Hammond prowess of Dizzy Reed (Guns N’ Roses). Immersive and atmospherically ablaze, the track leaves lips licked in satisfaction before leaving the darkly haunted In the Shadows to being the album comes to a close. Jason Groves (Supafuzz, Asylum on the Hill) offers the bass bait in this mouth-watering caliginous proposal, musically and narratively the song aural drama of noir soaked hidden deeds and dark souls, and thoroughly riveting.
It is a mighty end to one thoroughly exhilarating release; the last card in a deck of spellbinding persuasion which from start to finish enrols the listener in an adventure of strange melancholy and curious endeavours. It is also a swamp of rock ‘n’ roll which just rouses the spirit in possibly the best heavy rock album this year, certainly the favourite.
Blood Moon is available from September 11th across UK/Europe via Cargo Records.
Pete Ringmaster 11/09/2015
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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