Tuesday 29 September 2015

Old Man Lizard - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: September 25th 2015. Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Old Man Lizard – S/T - Tracklisting

1.Cold Winter Blues 05:58
2.King Clone 05:40
3.Fawza Falih 04:45
4.El Doctor 06:32
5.Old Hag 06:15
6.Craniopagus Parasiticus 08:51
7.A Gruesome Mess 06:29

Band Members:

Jack Newnham - guitar/vocals
Gav Senior - bass
Dan Beales - drums/percussion


Old Man Lizard return a year or so later with their new S/T album. They released their debut album Lone Wolf vs Brown Bear last year. This S/T album is a slightly revised version of a previous EP released back in 2012. It’s an EP that made me aware of Old Man Lizard’s talents.

5 of the 7 songs here on this album are from that EP but they’ve been re-recorded and they sound a whole lot better. It’s good to see that Old Man Lizard have included two new songs (Craniopagus Parasiticus and A Gruesome Miss) to give this album a more rounded and better sounding experience.

How do you describe Old Man Lizard’s sound. Parts Doom, Sludge, and Stoner with a neo-country folk twinge. If you dig TAINT, H A R K , Torche and even EARTH then that will give you an idea of what to expect on this album. This album shows that Old Man Lizard is one of the different breed of UK Sludge/Stoner Rock Bands currently out there.

Opening track – Cold Winter Blues – is a Sludge/Stoner driven song with traces of country based folk. It’s a strange sounding experience for the first few moments or so but when Old Man Lizard unleash a heavy riff you will be right at home as the atmosphere will consume you. Jack’s vocals whilst not the most polished hold their own with some of his more famous contemparies within the Sludge/Stoner Rock field.

Second track – King Cone – sees Old Man Lizard opt for a more stripped back approach with impressive prog rock guitars with the heavy pounding drums adding a claustrophobic semi-acoustic feel at times. The sound can be described as very rustic as the country vibe more than holds it’s own against the heavier sludgier rock rhythms.

Third track – Fawza Faith – carries on with the addictive Sludge/Stoner/Doom hybrid sound with Jack’s vocals drifting in and out at different times. It’s quite a bass heavy affair with the riffs becoming noisier and more distorted as Old Man Lizard could give Torche a run for their money.

Fourth track – El Doctor – is one of the albums stand-out tracks with the band offering another semi-acoustic number mixed with the heavy Sludge/Stoner Rock riffs. It’s almost 70% instrumental with Jack’s vocals only appearing for brief moments. It’s perhaps one of the albums most reflective and psychedelic tracks and that’s one of the albums strengths as it doesn’t play by the rules.

Fifth track – Old Hag – is one of the loudest songs on the album as the vocals and riffs can be ferocious at times. Sometimes Jack’s vocals are drowned out by the loud distorted riffs and you can’t tell what he’s singing. Not to worry though as the music saves the day once again. The 2nd half of the song holds some of the albums most exciting riffs as Old Man Lizard become a dangerous power trio that makes for a thrilling encounter.

Sixth track - Craniopagus Parasiticus – is the first “new” song on the album and it’s good to hear actual new material from Old Man Lizard. This is a deliberate slow-paced song that takes time for the heavy riffs to arrive. It’s a bluesy/rustic style song as the Sludge/Stoner Rock atmospherics are there lurking in the background. Jack’s vocals are heartfelt especially when he sings at the top of his lungs.

The last song is – A Gruesome Mess – offers one final round of distorted noisy Psych based Sludge/Stoner Rock rhythms. It’s perhaps the least entertaining song on the album. That’s not to say it’s a bad song. Far from it. I just didn’t feel the emotional connection that I did with the other songs on the album.

Overall, Old Man Lizard has made a wise choice re-releasing their debut EP from 2012. It sounds better than ever and it’s still a unique sounding experience that got the band noticed in the first place. If you haven’t heard Old Man Lizard before then this is the best place to start. Check this album out now. You won’t be disappointed. Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo. Old Man Lizard – S/T – is now available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Heavy Psych Sounds.