Sat 15th March 2014
Perkele is a webzine that has done sterling work promoting the stoner and doom scene within Italy for well over a decade now. They've put out a number of compilation albums showcasing the best the scene within their country has to offer, all of which have been worth the time as bands that leave a lasting impression on you are revealed where otherwise you may not have had exposure. I still occasionally play volume 1, which we received for review back in 2005, which allowed the talents of THUMB, Alix, Black Hole of Hulejra amongst others to shine.
Volume 5 has now landed and is more of the same - a snapshot of Italian bands from the stoner rock niche, a chance for their scene to celebrate and outsiders to investigate and share in the spoils. As ever with compilations, there's a mixture in sound and quality, and across the 24 tracks here there are moments I'm not overly enamoured with, but the overriding feeling is one of discovery.
There are only three bands here I've even heard of before. Black Capricorn have gained wider recognition, and their full sounding instrumental stoner track highlights why, although it lacks something to make it truly shine. Doctor Cyclops are another name I recognise, playing a trad doom, classic metal stomp which deviates into Pink Floyd with stoner riffs towards its end. And then there's Stoner Kebab who I know from name alone - and how could you not remember a band title like that? Their seven minute offering New Evil Through Evil opens in slow doom, becomes a bit Maiden, introduces screamed vocals that remind me of Send More Paramedics before ending in proggy whimsy. Fittingly oddball for such an odd name I suppose. It leaves me baffled, but searching for them to check out more as it feels like a nice guilty pleasure.
Elsewhere there are some real gems within. T-Rex Quiet offer a beautifully chilled Brant Bjork imitation that I fall for immediately, leading me to finding, downloading and reviewing their album individually. Oak's Mary submit Sand in the Teeth, featuring Mario Lalli, that sounds, unsurprisingly, like Fatso Jetson. It's great too, and leads down another avenue of investigation as I try to find out whether they sound this cool without Lalli onboard. The Whirlings offer a head trip of psych instrumentalism which flowers outwardly into heavier riffing, very nice indeed. DSW (which is apparently short for Dawn Storm Watchers - great name, why not just go with that?) attempt a late 90's stoner feel largely succesfully, evoking warm memories of Unida at their best.
There is a slightly surprising amount of instrumental tracks across the two discs, including the standard Karma to Burn aping stoner (Humulus), but the majority is of a psychedelic noise output, gentle flows and rhythms attached to organ and synth noises. This is showcased in particular by Ex and Helyopolis, but the more leftfield blessing comes from Al Doum and the Faryds, who mix in sax and other instruments and come across sounding like Chrome Hoof busking in a North African marketplace.
Another well curated compilation; a couple of hours listening that will multiply to many more as you pick up on the scent of leads to further pleasures. Available for free download on their site or pay what you like on bandcamp, this is well worth dipping into to reveal a scene seemingly in rude health.