River Cult – “Chilling Effect” (Tee Pee Records)
Battle Helm Rating
If you’re still recovering from this heavy psychedelic rock trio’s debut “Halycon Daze”, then prepare for a perpetuation of that live sound and style outta NYC! Sharing the stage with acts such as Brant Bjork, Ecstatic Vision, Lo Pan, Come to Grief, Moss Generator, Duel, and Backwoods Payback, “Chilling Effect” was recorded live in the studio with minimal overdubs, as intended by River Cult to reflect their onstage presence. Mixing ultra heavy down tuned doom with off the wall influences from bands like Les Rallizes Dénudés and possessing a gargantuan bass sound probably stoked by post punk and old goth influences like The Cure and Bauhaus, River Cult actually go well beyond their label into being a massive headbang in every regard on the five lengthy numbers here. Led by Sean Forlenza’s fuzzed choked guitar churning out thick, catchy riffs along with his trippy croons to ‘..feed your mind..’ squeezing through the muffled mix on ‘Left Hand Path’, it’s Anthony Mendolia’s monster bass that gives River Cult their mammoth heavy sound, reverberating and droning magnificently as Tav Palumbo keeps the plod pace going while spazzing out unpredictably in cymbal frenzies before some serious noise shredding from Forlenza finally sends you screaming for the thorazine. Even more rolling and rumbling is ‘Neo Dog’ with its rocking stoner groove…..until Mendolia strikes again with another colossal bass driven riff that has you shaking as Forlenza croons ‘…as the day just passes you by..’ while his wailing guitar seems possessed of its own right, howling dementedly as Palumbo pounds away merrily. Ending in the wah soaked ‘Fool’s Gold’, the warbling wails and crushing doom on this close to 8 minute monument lend more to an instrumental, but the alternating pace and eclectic turns never allow the track to dull, in fact, excite all the more especially when Forlenza goes into Hendrix hysteria before droning out to the warm humming of the amps…and you’re totally wiped out man. Again.