Stoner-psych dudes Dead Meadow paved the way for Old Testament, with Jason Simon heading up both but deciding some of his immaculately crafted songs were too beautiful for the heavy and unforgiving world of his main band. Those now go to Old Testament, who seem to know more about Americana than they do riffage and rawk.
Vinyl LP £12.99 CFUL031 / EVH007
Ltd LP on Cardinal Fuzz / Evil Hoodoo. Edition of 500 copies.
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This self titled debut from Los Angeles Old Testament was described to me as “stoner rock’ but it’s more in tune with their Americana folk roots, distinctly recalling the early works of Bob Dylan and John Coltrane.
Droning ballads and haunting blues are aplenty, but there's occasions where its in-your-face Americana wears a bit thin, sounding a bit too country and western at times. The singer’s vocals have a languid quality to them that veer from Kings of Leon-esque grittiness to sounding like he’s about to fall asleep.
The album’s best quality is its sporadic psych tendencies and merging of influences and styles: raga-inspired improvisations coalesce with mournful blues, for example. Their instrumental craft is masterful, too: from Ryan Rapsys tight drum work to Oak Munson’s interjections of haunting harp, alongside an interesting addition of organ and harmonium. It’s a tried and tested formula, and it does it well, but I’m not sure it accomplishes enough to stand out amongst the abundance of similar bands of this ilk. I imagine it sounds better with time, though.
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