Treating the world with their own brand of fuzz worship since 2007, Italy’s own Black Rainbows have in that time racked up one hell of a back catalogue, an absolute shed load of shows, and arguably as importantly, built up Heavy Psych Sounds Records, a label that is garnering one hell of a roster of talent on the underground scene. How they have the time and energy to fit this all in, whilst still projecting the image of permanently laid back stoners, is one of those little mysteries that will have to remain unsolved. This year sees them return to studio with a follow up to 2018’s rather good ‘Pandaemonium’ with ‘Cosmic Ritual Supertrip’, a dozen rock solid tracks honed on the road, and crying out to be played in full live once such gatherings are again allowed.
‘At Midnight You Cry’ motors out of the speakers with a hook loaded riff that grabs the listener and shakes them into a dance; even sat in my study in front of a computer when I first heard it, this aged wreck that is your author found his feet stamping to the beat. The good stuff continues with ‘Universal Phase’, a slower and heavier headbanger of a number, laced though with dialogue from the long lost 1965 Sci-fi cheesefest ‘Space Probe Taurus’, a film that like this genre of music, can often be better appreciated with a little chemical enhancement, not that the good scribes of Ave Noctum would ever suggest imbibing anything more than a refreshing cup of tea, oh no.
It may be, like me, when you read the title ‘Cosmic Ritual Supertrip’ you might have thought, “a new Monster Magnet?”; whilst this is not the case, it is obvious that Black Rainbows clearly admire that band, as well as drawing their influences from the same well of inspiration at those titans of the heavy psychedelic scene, ‘Radio 666’, an upbeat number dedicated to all things trippy is a song that could have easily been spawned from the mind of the legendary Dave Wyndorf. Trust me, that is not a dig at Black Rainbows, nor a claim that they are simply ripping off somebody else’s sound; it is foolish not to learn from those who came before, and they’ve clearly learned their sound from some of the greats. Track 4, ‘Isolation’ hits home hard and heavy in the current atmosphere; it may well be a story of any circumstance rather than the current pandemic that has hit both my native United Kingdom and Black Rainbows’ native Italy so hard, but damn, if the band wrote it before then, one of their many trips must have taken them to the future to come back with this story, a tale of gloom and darkness wrapped in a thick layer of romping and stomping seventies riffs. After that darkness, the band travel back to the early days of psychedelia with ‘Hypnotised By The Solenoid’, a track that is equal parts Syd Barrett era Floyd and Hawkwind, with an added dash of ‘Sergeant Pepper’ to spice up the mix. Definitely a number to help you turn on, tune in, and drop out.
Hell, I’m only five tracks into the album, and already the review is in danger of outstaying its welcome, and with twelve tracks filling the album, I’m liable to be running out of superlatives to describe them. Suffice to say, the quality never fades, and throughout the length of ‘Cosmic Ritual Supertrip’, the goodness continues unabated, be it with the chugging rock of ‘Master Rocket Power Blast’ or the Led Zep III flavoured acoustic ‘Searching for the Satellites Part I & II’; to use the modern(ish) phrase, it’s all killer, no filler.
Released in a time when so many of the underground scene are rightly concerned about where their musical futures lie, be it as artist, venue, fan, or part of the behind the scenes mechanism that keeps it running, Black Rainbows have released an album that is full of energy and uplifting tunes, redolent of the joys that music can bring. For a band that often falls into the “Doom” category, indeed last time I saw them live was at 2019’s Doom vs Stoner in Sheffield, that is something to be admired. So, gird your loins, remember it WILL get better, support your music with purchases from the bands, and if you can manage it, a few quid to your favourite mothballed venue, and keep smiling with the help of a ‘Cosmic Ritual Supertrip.’