21 September 2016

Review: Brant Bjork – “Tao Of The Devil”

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I had to do a little research to be able to say something other than ‘the Kyuss dude’ as an intro to this review. My research leads me to hang my head in shame as this guy never stops with more than ten albums bearing his name. Looks like I’ve got some catching up to do, or on the other hand, my dear readers, it gives me a fresh set of ears to consider the album free from the shackles of prior knowledge. Soooo.

brantObviously I had a little clue as to the sounds my ears were to digest due to the fact that Californian Mr Bjork can be safely regarded as one of the pillars of the desert rock/stoner scene through his work with Kyuss, Fu Manchu, Mono Generator and so on. My slightly haphazard and inexpert expectations were met and exceeded. ‘Tao…’ is a solid rock album first and foremost. We kick off with ‘The Gree Heen’ that punches like a Sabbath classic (I’m pretty much a Brummie so it’s only natural for me to have a Sabbath-esque radar). Solid riff and groove. As the album progresses theatrics adopt a more bluesy boogie feel with more nods to American influences such as Hendrix, Santana and Skynyrd. This bluesy edge is mist strongly felt running through ‘Humble Pie’ and ‘Biker No.2’.

‘Tao…’ is a solid rock album first and foremost.

Brant sounds easily soulful and the whole recording sound warmed up and fuzzily saturated. The drums sound alive and weighty and the guitars and bass are perfectly balanced to push that groove home. The lengthy ‘Dave’s War’ is a journey through rock outs and drop outs with lengthy and heady jams and funky percussion. ‘Luvin” is just so damn catchy and calls to mind QOTSA and perhaps even Soundgarden and their most groovy. The seventh and final number us the title track is a filthy low slung blues grind and my highlight of the album. It has such a dusty and worn sound to it that echoes in the memory long after the album falls to silence.

I cannot deny that this is not my typical listen, as eclectic as my tastes are. More to the point, I cannot deny that I whole heartedly enjoyed the album from starting finish. It is largely a feel good album even through the darker blues moments due to the cosy and fantastically fuzzed out production. You don’t have to be a Kyuss consumer to enjoy this, just a consumer of well executed heaviness with stoner and blues goodness stirred in.

8/10

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