Monday 10 September 2018

Chief Of Smoke - Rice Paddy Rodeo (Album Review)

Release date: September 28th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Rice Paddy Rodeo – Tracklisting

The Pack
Savages In The Wild
Bodycount On You
Behind The Red Curtain
Desert Queen


Omar Larabi: Guitar/vocals
Romke de Vries: Bass/samples
Tom Bak: Drums


Chief Of Smoke new album – Rice Paddy Rodeo - is an epic mix of Psychedelic Rock, Doom, Stoner Rock and some heavy Sludge based grooves along the way. The album is firmly rooted from seventies classic hard rock to the more modern sounding psychedelic stoner rock. The band feel heavily influenced by Black Sabbath and WO FAT in places. That's no bad thing as Chief Of Smoke creates an exciting album that has a cool down-tempo swamp based atmosphere.

The album is kind of a concept album as the band state: “Rice Paddy Rodeo is a record full of heavy riffs, taking bluesy sidetracks, and overcoming groovy obstacles. The LP title refers to the battlegrounds – the rice fields – of Vietnam, where a fierce war was fought in the sixties and seventies. These historical events are the inspiration and main theme of the album.”

Opening song - The Pack - takes the Psychedelic Doom Rock aspect of their music and gives it a more theatrical Fuzz Rock approach but with a dirtier element to their music as well. The vocals from Omar are good and what you expect for an album such as this. The production of the album can be too low at times but it allows the band to have a distinctive DIY feel to their music. Some people may not like the production of the album but I advise to stay the course. As Chief Of Smoke have delivered some epic riffs amongst the five songs contained on the album.

Second song - Savages In The Wild - runs for almost thirteen minutes and the band create a more disturbing sinister and heavy doomier sound. The bass guitar is especially heavy with the drums and guitars playing a standard Sabbathian sound at the start. However Chief Of Smoke shift things around and decide to offer the listener a more blues rock kind of sound especially with the vocals. The sludgy grooves remind me of WO FAT in so many ways. The lyrics are not the most original but they get the job done. As it's the music that's the main strength for Chief Of Smoke to impress listeners with.

Third song – Bodycount On You - is the standout track on the album. Swirling noises combine with a more hard-edged Fuzz/Stoner Rock sound from Chief Of Smoke. The heavy psychedelic noises work best when the band turns the volume all the way up. The song can be very trippy at times and I'm still deciding if that's down to the heavy guitars playing epic distorted riffs or the overall theme and sound of the song itself.

The next song - Behind The Red Curtain - sees the band play a more chilled out spaced out sound though still undeniably heavy. The Doom based guitars are the main focus for the first few minutes until the crushing drums from Tom takes a more commanding presence.

The final song - Desert Queen - is a more straightforward Desert/Fuzz/Stoner Rock song and Chief Of Smoke will no doubt leave you wanting more on their debut album.

I will admit the raw-sounding production and lyrics both could have done with more work. However don't let that stop you enjoying this trippy wonderful slice of Doom/Fuzz/Stoner Rock.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Chief Of Smoke for the promo. Rice Paddy Rodeo will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from September 28th 2018.