Thu 2nd March 2006
It appears to have been a bit of a rough ride for Suns of Thunder since they recorded this album back in 2004. After the Welshmen had left the studio, happy in the knowledge that 'Last of the High Rollers' had been produced (by members of the mighty Dub War no less), band members began to leave, remaining members picked up injuries restricting them playing their instruments, and all impetus was lost. So, having recruited replacements and given them time to settle in, the album finally gets released, with the band now able to back it up with the immediate future secure and gigs to promote it.
And we should all be thankful for this, as 'Last of the High Rollers' is a little gem. If the band were to have given up the ghost in the intervening period, then we would be ignorant to the fact that we were missing a top-notch British stoner rock album - and we'd all be the worse off for it.
The title track kicks off the small (just over 35 minutes), but perfectly formed, 6 tracker and immediately hits a raucous groove and showcases Suns of Thunder's straight-up rock sensibilities. Better is to come, 'Oldman Haystacks''s deliciously dark, creeping opening (a la Bongzilla), giving way to a latter-day Clutch style flow - complete with stylish use of organ - but containing enough originality to evade any complaints about plagiarism, leaving you to enjoy the song to the maximum.
Despite it's relatively short length, and the fact that they must have felt on a roll, Suns of Thunder still have the nous to change the tempo and the style on a couple of tracks - ensuring that lapses in the listeners attention through monotony do not occur. The first is 'La Fruta Del Diablo' with it's clean guitar and mellow organ, the other being the album's closing epic 'Under the Control of Time Part II' - which features the surprising inclusion of tribal drumming patterns and dreamy female vocals.
'Another Dead Hero' and 'Tongue and Groove' round things off perfectly, with weighty riffs and fast paced rock, to neatly complete a truly delectable album. If Suns of Thunder get a clear run of things for the foreseeable future, and you'd think they'd be due some luck in that respect, then they could really set the pace and agenda for stoner rock on these isles.