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Pharaoh Overlord – “Lunar Jetman” – [Ektro Records]

monster   12/12/2012   A Library, CD

Pharaoh Overlord, a Finnish band featuring members of Circle. ??They released several albums of heavy, hypnotic stoner riffs, before being seduced by the False Path of Metal. ??On this album (named after a ZX Spectrum video game), they revisit their earlier sound, but with less repitition, more variety. ??Rodent is the most straight up rocker, other tracks introduce meandering free-form improvisition before eventually arriving at the riffs, but it’s always worth the wait. ??Features additional keyboard work from Hans-Joachim Irmler of Faust.

Entrance Band, The – “Fine Flow” – [Spiritual Pajamas]

monster   11/21/2012   12-inch, A Library

Psychedelic power trio fronted by singer/guitarist Guy Blakeslee, now based in LA. ??Originally called Entrance, a solo project of Blakeslee (best known for “Song of Death”which was used in an episode of Battlestar Galactica). ??This evolved into a permanent line-up, renamed The Entrance Band. ??Known for fiery live shows with intense, emotional vocals; here, they decide to mellow out, and go all instrumental. ??Without the original vocals, “Fine Flow” becomes a tripped out surf guitar jam. ??”In the Key of Sea” very laid back, spacey. ??”Hands…” is a slow ballad, augmented with sax, but verges a bit too far in the mellow lounge direction. ??Ending things out is a slow, twangy cover of the Gershwin classic “Summertime”; swampy with bits of tasty slide guitar. ??Excellent.

-Monster Zero

Speed, Glue & Shinki – “Eve” – [Phoenix Records]

monster   12/14/2011   12-inch, A Library

Seminal Japanese underground band, released in 1971. ??The name comes from the favored drugs of drummer and bassist respectively, plus guitarist Shinki Chen (apparently considered the “Japanese Hendrix” of the day)

Japanese music is often a bizzaro world transformation of western pop; here, we input late-60s heavy sounds ala Blue Cheer and Hendrix, and out comes this warped gem. ??Like much of J-psych, vocals are the weak point. ??A bunch of “hip” phrases gleaned from American records and movies, strung together in an attempt at Hendrix cool, the result is, at times, painful.

Musically, we have glorious proto-stoner rock, heavy riffs, fuzz, and blues guitar.