Monday 16 October 2017

ALBUM REVIEW: Spectral Haze - "Turning Electric"

By: Ernesto Aguilar

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/10/2017
Label: Totem Cat Records

If you are a lover of the classic sound, you will surely listen to this one often. "Turning Electric" is certain to please.

"Turning Electric" DD//LP track listing

1. Dawn of the Falcon
2. Turning Electric
3. Cathexis/Mask Of Transformation
4. Ajaghandi
5. They Live
6. Master Scorcerer

The Review:

Oslo, Norway's doom metal meisters Spectral Haze have built a ton of cred for a relatively new band. A demo and well-received debut recording, "I.E.V.: Transmutated Nebula Remains," cemented the quartet's reputation as standard bearers for psychedelic/stoner metal in the vein of 1970s' legends. You may have read some early comparisons to Hawkwind and similar groups as well. Indeed the debut won over many fans for its mystical lyrics and sound that was at once classic and yet contemporary.

For you seeking that old-school-in-a-new-school-way sound, the return of Spectral Haze is welcome news. The question out there, though, is how well the group can deliver.

"Dawn of the Falcon" kicks it all off, and fans will not be at all disappointed. What made Spectral Haze special from its beginning was its attention to detail. That love for the music is on full display here. The rhythm section launches you into the stratosphere, fittingly considering the space theme that is threaded all through "Turning Electric." Multi-layered guitars and a touch of keys and effects twirl about your mind. And, still lyrically, the group remains vivid and exceptional.

Critics have reflected positively before about how much Spectral Haze fits in with the acts that seemingly inspired what it does. For a few listeners, that approach may feel too derivative or safe. If that is you, "Turning Electric" does not venture far from this roadmap. What the listener gets, though, is a grand recording that nevertheless does the genre proud.

The title track and into "Cathexis/Mask Of Transformation" are quite impressive showcases for the bass and drums, which tend to both be underappreciated in most of the genre. With just a dash of pedals and post-production flourishes, Spectral Haze lays down a backbeat that really allows the vocal to present the vastness of a story. In creating the mood of a starscape and one's journey through space, the band allows its most arresting elements such as the songwriting to truly shine.

Spectral Haze earned praise in the past for its overall composition and song selection. "Turning Electric" continues this tradition. The deep bluesy interpretation in a prodigious "Ajaghandi" flows right into the jam-inflected "They Live," with its engrossing storytelling. Again, it is attention to those details that drew accolades for Spectral Haze. Plenty of songs by other artists can feel bloated. Here, there is a stimulating quality to the solos, the lyrical peaks and valleys and crescendos. The listener gets a clear feeling the trip is headed somewhere good, and the group makes good on such promise.

As the album wraps with "Master Scorcerer," the briefest cut on the recording, it is difficult not to wish for more output. However, if you are a lover of the classic sound, you will surely listen to this one often. "Turning Electric" is certain to please.

"Turning Electric" will be available to preorder/buy here

Band info: facebook || bandcamp