Wednesday 8 May 2013

Samsara Blues Experiment - Live at Rockpalast - Album Review


Samsara Blues Experiment
Live at Rockpalast

Electric Magic Records
April 2013

The songs:

1. Singata Mystic Queen
2. Hangin´ On The Wire
3. Army Of Ignorance
4. For The Lost Souls
5. Into The Black
6. Center Of The Sun
7. Outside Insight Blues
8. Double Freedom
9. Singata Mystic Queen (Unplugged)

The band:

Christian Peters - vocals, electric and acoustic guitars, sitar, synthesizer
Richard Behrens - bass guitar
Thomas Vedder - drums and percussion
Hans Eiselt - electric and acoustic guitars, percussion

Hmmm this is a first for me. Prior to Live At Rockpalast I had never listened to Samsara Blues Experiment. So what would it be like to review these Germans' brand new live album having no clue what was in store? On my part it was a revelation to hear them unleash their sonic and groovy jammed-out doom-blues. Even more so in the live format where they can go all-out and, as with so many other bands, the stage is where they seem to be at their best. Like I said though I haven't heard any of their studio efforts yet so I can't really compare....which is a good thing.

Singata Mystic Queen lives up to it's name as the song starts off with a mystic feel to it mixed with South Eastern influences and spacey undertones. In a way it's very monotonous but at the same time seductive and entrancing which is further enhanced as the song gradually builds up. And while being in trance the band likes to jam and does so fantastically good. There are some out-of-this world soloing backed up by earthshaking riffs. Once Christian Peters start to sing the band adds another element to their magic namely the Dutch space gods Golden Earring. Christian reminds me so much of frontman Barry Hay. 

He does have a rasp to his voice that Hay doesn't, still the similarity is quite apparent. And that works great for me because when Samsara Blues Experiment unleashes this ecclectic mix of sonic doom-blues, South Eastern influences and Golden Earring I'm left thunderstruck and awestruck. Hangin' On The Wire changes gear and goes full throttle in this fuzzed out riff fest. This is by far the fastest and probably heaviest track on the album. Great stuff! 

Instrumental brain frying is next up in Army Of Ignorance where SBE zapps my brain completely in a pretty fast space trip which continues in For The Lost Souls. The tempo has been brought down considerably though the space trip is still on where Christian Peters sounds totally deranged. Awesome! The band picks it up a bit on Into The Black going more for boogie-blues-doom. It works great as they bulldoze their way through galaxies on this fantastic space journey.

Slow, trippy, spacey and extremely heavy is all I can say about Center Of The Sun. One of the longest songs on Live At Rockpalats it is definitely an out-of-body experience. Weaving back and forth between psychedelic and led-heavy passages it pummels me and pulls me apart only to piece me back together. Opting for fuzzy heavy blues Outside Insight Blues they jam incessantly and do I need to say it...excellently! The live part of the album ends with the 17 mins+ beast that is Double Freedom and like the title suggests this is freedom. We come to the end of the journey as changed people and that is freedom if we have embraced SBE's healing powers. They are electric, sonic and intergalactic healing powers and presented in the way these Germans do we won't need any other remedies. Tune in to this and you will heal physically and mentally...I just love this band. Truly amazing stuff is on display here.

We're treated to a delicacy in shape of Singata Mystic Queen in acoustic form to end Live At Rockpalast. SBE utilizes more percussion on this version and there's even more South Eastern touches than before. And that's great cause it shows even more what fantastic musicians the guys are. The changes aren't many or overly profound but they are enough to show how easily SBE can tweak their songs into something different without losing the original identity. Instead the songs improve further.

This was an extremely nice introduction for me to this great band. Why I never paid attention to them before is up for debate, personally I'm going to hit myself over the head with a frying pan. Well, that was an exaggeration....instead I'm going to get my hands on SBE's previous releases and embrace their healing powers. So should you...because this is too good to be ignored.

Håkan Nyman

Live At Rockpalast is available to buy from the band directly from their official webstore here.

Thanks to Chris from the band for hooking us up. This album is fucking immense. Highly Recommended.

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