Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Black Rainbows – Holy Moon

Mini album (maxi EP?) from Italian power trio heads for the stars with their stellar stoner, drone and space-rock.

Having been aware of Italy's Black Rainbows since the band's second album Carmina Diablo, it's obvious from the first few seconds that the band have progressed. The heavy stoner rock is still there but there's been a broadening of musical palette. Space-rock, stoner, drone and boogie are all represented, with even some Jimmy Page style acoustic riffage for good measure.

With only six, albeit long songs on this album, Black Rainbows have managed to display a range of styles and moods that somehow make for a satisfyingly cohesive whole. The album's opening title track is a five minute slice of prime stoner rock grooves complete with '60s space-race themed spoken word samples. Rewarding enough on its own things then take off for avenues new.

Monsters Of The Highway harks back to the sort of noise that used to to be heard at Reading Rock Festival in its pre-student-friendly days, when the Hell's Angels ruled the campsite. A heads down blues rock number with post-Hendrix guitar soloing, it's the perfect soundtrack for your speed 'n' snakebite consumption. Then there's the curve ball of Chakra Temple a softer, meditative number with its spiralling eastern scales over a constant rhythmic drone. Definitely not your standard muscle-headed metal.

The Hunter (no not the Free song) will keep fans of Carmino Diablo and its follow-up, Supermothafuzzalicious happy. (Check out the video below). More surprises next when a distorted hacking cough vocal leads into If I Was A Bird, a track which owes a debt to Jimmy Page's acoustic riffing on Led Zepellin III. Probably recorded on a Welsh mountainside. The album closes with a version of MC5's Black To Comm, which is given a lengthy Hawkwind space-rock makeover. For all the non-metalheads out there, don't think you wouldn't enjoy this record. There's an intelligence, sensitivity and even humour to this record that a lot of metallic fare lacks. You'll be pleasantly surprised.