Earthless – “From The West” (Nuclear Blast Records)
Hey man, prepare for cosmic jams from San Diego! But before you pass the bong though, better take note that the trio of Earthless may well be psychedelic rockers, but don’t be expecting some laid back, space rock trip to chill out to! While there’s certainly plenty of far our moments to the music of Earthless, this ain’t no mellow affair. Taking as much inspiration from Captain Beyond and even Kraut Rock, there’s also plenty of stoking from the likes of Geezer Butler, Lemmy, John Bonham and Keith Moon delivering plenty of intensity alongside bunches of insanity! Historically an instrumental band, this year’s “Black Heaven” album saw a shift with four of its six songs featuring vocals whereas earlier releases only occasionally had singing. But on “From The West” you get the best of both styles. Recorded in San Francisco on the eve of the release of “Black Heaven”, this live album features 7 electric tracks with a racing energy level that doesn’t let up from start to finish! Frankly how the trio maintain their tightness through the delivery of these monster jams – including the titanic 20 minute ‘Uluru Rock’ – is beyond me but to the eternal credit of the talents of Isaiah Mitchell’s guitar and vocals, Mike Eginton’s bass and Mario Rubalcaba’s drums. Earthless has it all from pulsating fuzz and wah mayhem to smog heavy bass and trippy vocals alongside frantic drumming. But like I said, this isn’t a galactic walk in the park but forged instead by the guitar legends of the 70s, when axe duels, drawn out solos and monumental jams were the thang – just check out Lynyrd Skynyrd or The Outlaws and you’ll know what I’m talking about. Then when you add in the massive hooks and ultra catchy stoner grooves all delivered through high volume drive, what you’ll get is one of the world’s top power trios – I mean, just hear these guys crush Zepp’s ‘Communication Breakdown’! “From The West” is a testimony to massive horsepower, in this case the band’s own and for that I have no hesitation in ranking this live album of the year…..so far.