Italian trio Black Rainbows hail from Rome, a city steeped in history and important significance to the world. Home of so many works of art and considered a cultural masterpiece, the Italian Capital has offered much throughout history and it offers again with this mind bending three-piece. Bringing fuzzed out, psychedelic and stoner friendly grooves with a massive sound, Black Rainbows who have been likened to what would happen if Hawkwind and MC-5 collided in the Mojave desert have already released one album to critical acclaim (Hawkdope) and after some strong performances and inclusion on the bill at the much revered Berlin Desertfest, this trio have some serious hype to them. With Stellar Prophecy ready to drop, let’s see what is written in the cosmos.
“Electrify” opens the album with a real thick, dirty fuzzy. Groove laden and driving the track, the rhythm is fantastic, a real headbang friendly, infectiously hip shaking feel and pulse. Vocally, it resembles Fu Manchu. The slightly lazy vocal delivery rolls off well over the dirty stoner groove feel and it just works great, especially with the slightly hazy edge, cowbell break and real powerful mini lead fills which all collide towards the end for a full on, surreal and intense outro.
“Woman” is slightly slower paced. With a real dirty bluesy feel to the flow and sound of the track, it simply coasts along. Great timing and powerful delivery, augmented by some slick hammond organ use in the big sounding chorus works fantastic. With a real classic 70’s feel to it, the track just oozes blues and rawness and this is reflected in the solo. Despite the tone being a little too prominent, you can’t help but nod along in approval and get engrossed in it. The bassline too, full of groove and thick tone, a real solid effort all round.
“Golden Window” opens with a sweet sounding, simple bass riff and some delayed pick slides, giving a slight spaced out edge to it. Synths slowly creep in, giving it a real Hawkwind feel, full on out there and trippy! Slowly building with some free time, heavily reverbed and delayed guitar melodic lines and slowly building, pounding drums, it starts to gain momentum, giving a surging feel and you know when it peaks, it is going off big. As the build hits its peak, it explodes with a real raw, steady paced psychedelic groove. Hazy vocals help build the psych-hypnotic feel and when you take into account the fact this track is near twelve minutes long, you know it is going to be an experience. With some big hammond organ augmentation for added effect, a real massive sounding bluesy solo rips through the steady groove, contributing some real power to the out there feel of the track and later on, just when you think it has calmed down, it explodes back to life for an intense ending!
“Evil Snake” has a real fast pace feel to it. As the guitar riff builds, a big drum roll sends it all crashing down into a high energy, fast paced and explosive sounding full on rocker. Headbang friendly, perhaps even mosh pit inducing, the heaviness and power in the musical delivery which overpowers the vocals at points is fantastic. Just a full on energetic track which encourages movement. The mini bass break has a fantastic sound and feel to it and the fuzzed out fat riffs and twisting solo really cap it off, a solid track all round. “It’s Time” continues the more rocking approach. With its fuzzed out bass riff mirrored by the guitar, the punchy and twisty groove really grabs you and the more modern take on the retro sound works fantastic. It’s one you can kick back and relax to whilst still getting caught up in it in a similar manner to how bands like Free and Cream did things.
“Keep The Secret” has a real infectious groove to it, sounding a lot like Monolithic, Baby! era Monster Magnet (Think Unbroken, Hotel Baby!). Fat riffs, a real kick to the delivery and some tasty lead sections, it keeps the upbeat feel of the previous two tracks, showing that Black Rainbows can both captivate and rock with the best of them. Bring us back to the psych sound, the closing track “The Travel” slows it down again. Simple building feel guitar, bass and drums accompanied by samples and spaced out lead fills set the scene and the hazy vocals begin to cast their hypnotic charm once again. Building in surreal intensity and giving the sensation that everything is closing in on you, this ten minute epic brings back the mind melting delivery of the track Golden Window. Oddly melodic riffs, swirling and surging ambient effects and gratuitous reverb and delay create a chaotic feeling surreal world and the way it builds to a peak in the middle of the track is like an ominous warning. You know the explosion is coming but the suspense of the build keeps you in limbo, just waiting to be blown away and at the six minute mark, this entropic mess finally subsides, lowering the intensity and returning us to the calm initial feel of the track. Whilst not an explosion of riffs, the frantic build serves its purpose, returning things to normality, easing you back into the real world before the final two minutes when it kicks in again for one last blast of power and riff.
Overall, “Stellar Prophecy” is an experience. Filled with raw, dirty blues and classic rock and roll appeal, it merges this with some mind bending hypnotic and psychedelic feel to give both an intense musical experience and a real party feel good time. It’s worth a listen and these guys are one to keep an eye on.