Despite being a band since 1989, I must confess that this is my first time with veteran Greek outfit Nightstalker. On the basis that I liked the name of the album, and the cover art was pretty cool, I thought I’d give them a go. As it turns out, my inklings about what I might expect from the album were, for the most part, pretty spot on.
A bit of bluesy stoner rock, anyone? Why the hell not. In fairness, while it may not be the rarest of musical styles out there, it’s one that gets a lot of fairly average bands who mostly noodle around the same few rehashed riffs. Luckily, Nightstalker’s heritage shines through here, because “Great Hallucinations” has some bloody excellent song-writing chops. “Sweet Knife”, with the plaintive wail of “I can’t sleep at night / I can’t sleep at night” eventually morphs into a proper head-nodding groover. There’s a real warmth to the tone here; the axe work has a lovely comforting fuzz, while the bass work is absolutely on point. Numbers like “Seven out of Ten” have that laid back, holding onto the handlebars effortless swagger that comes from stoner rock in the vain of vintage The Obsessed crossed with the more psychedelic stylings of Church of Misery. Elsewhere, the likes of “Half Crazy” carry some garage rawness, bringing to mind the better moments of Orange Goblin’s “Coup De Grace”, though with much more of a raw blues feel to it.
Special mention to the vocals of Argy needs to be made, as he has the kind of voice that’s just made for this kind of music. With a voicebox that channels Ozzy Osbourne and Wino in equal measure, if you have any regard for the more laid-back side of our kind of music, you’ll be in heaven listening to him. The drumming has a very authentic early 70’s swing to it, while the bass and guitars are both extremely accomplished. The writhing bass-work is just as compelling here as the dancing, chattering six-string. Production wise, this again carries that vintage sound with it, with some of the more modern punch that you would expect, especially with regards to the drum sound.
This may not be the most original album you’re going to hear all year, but you know what? I’m ok with that. It is a very enjoyable, polished and almost effortless listen. It’s certainly better than 90+% of the other stoner / vintage rock inspired albums I’ve heard in the last couple of years. As the nights get colder and darker, it’s nice to have some music that actually makes me feel cosy and warm for a change.
(7.5/10 Chris Davison)