Saturday 11 January 2020

Big Scenic Nowhere - Visions Beyond Horizon (Album Review)

Release date: January 31st 2020. Heavy Psych Sounds. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Visions Beyond Horizon - Tracklisting

1. The Glim
2. The Paraonid
3. The I Was Gone
4. Mirror Image
5. Hidden Wall
6. Shadows From The Altar
7. En Las Sombras
8. Tragic Motion Lines
9. The War Years


Bob Balch (Guitar, Bass)
Gary Arce (Guitar)
Tony Reed (Vocals, Keys, Drums)
Mario Lalli (Bass)
Per Wiberg (Keys)
Bill Stinson (Drums)
Nick Oliveri (Bass)
Lisa Alley (Vocals)
Ian Graham (Vocals)
Alain Johannes (Vocals, Guitar)


Visions Beyond Horizon is the debut full length album from Psychedelic/Desert/Stoner Rock supergroup – Big Scenic Nowhere – which is made of up core members – Gary Acre (Yawning Man) and Bob Balch (Fu Manchu). Two individuals who know a thing or two about playing Heavy Stoner Rock grooves.

The guys have asked their famous friends such as Tony Reed, Mario Lalli, Per Wilberg, Bill Stinson, Nick Olivieri, Lisa Alley, Ian Graham and Alan Johannes to join them on this epic journey of dark sounding Desert/Stoner Rock weirdness. The majority of the musicians who appear on this album also appeared on their recently released acclaimed debut EP – Dying On The Mountain – which was released a few months back.

Visions Beyond Horizon is a more thrilling and different sounding experience compared to their debut EP with the band exploring darker themes and progressive ideas that I didn’t really expect for a Desert/Stoner Rock album such as this. Big Scenic Nowhere is a true creative force of nature with the different style of songs and range of guest vocalists and musicians adding their own unique spin on things.

Opening song – The Glim – is a heavy kaleidoscopic use of Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock and Desert Rock with a deep Yawning Man style of music driving the narrative home. The song is quite melodic and moody in places with a deeply satisfying Post-Stoner vibe allowing the album to demand your full attention this early on. The vocals are superb with a more laid-back feel but things do become heavy on certain parts of the song.

Second song – The Paranoid – is a more Punk driven song. This song is fast-paced and is likely to confuse listeners at first as this song is so left-field compared to the other songs on the album. This is the heaviest and shortest song on the album but offers a few moments of snarling Stoner Rock/Metal attitude.

Third song – Then I was Gone – has a more classic sounding Desert Rock approach with delicious vocals from Ian Graham (I could be wrong on this one) and Lisa Alley. The vocals complement each other superbly well. As they drift from a heartfelt style to a more rebellious and double-crossing style of vocals. The music is mostly laidback Desert Rock grooves which feels more influenced by Yawning Man. One of the standout songs on the album.

Fourth song – Mirror Image – is what you would expect from a Yawning Man/Fu Manchu project such as Big Scenic Nowhere. As the music is the perfect sounding union of these two legendary bands. The music is a distinctive style of Desert Rock. Stoner Rock and Punk based aggression. The vocals are straight to the point but with a classic hard rock sensibility. There are some epic guitar solos on this song that is quite spaced out in places but still leaves you wanting more.

Fifth song – Hidden Wall – is the most laid-back offering with a Post-Desert/Post-Stoner based attitude allowing the band to create a lush psychedelic sound with an almost “Jazz” based approach. Though this is a false narrative as the song becomes more threatening when the heavier vocals and riffs appear in the second half of the song. I did enjoy the Yawning Man influenced style chill out/ambient based music the most on this song. As it shows a different side to the whole album. The second half of this song is perhaps the heaviest part of the album.

There are four songs left but I would be here all day reviewing every single one and I feel the five songs I’ve reviewed here does more enough explaining on what to expect for the rest of the album.

The remaining songs – Shadows From The Altar, En Las Sombras, Tragic Motion Lines and The War Years – all offer have their own individual style of Desert Rock, Psych Rock and Stoner Rock to impress people with. En Las Sombras and Tragic Motion Lines are perhaps my favourite songs on the album. As they offer the most creative sounds on the album and both have an addictive quality to them.

Visions Beyond Horizon could have easily been an overblown release with the many different musicians and styles of music contained on the album. However, this is one of the most creative and highly original Desert/Stoner Rock albums I’ve heard in years. Everything about this album oozes class

I don’t know what more can be said about this album but mainly to say that Visions Beyond Horizon is an unforgettable album and is a future classic in the making.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Purple Sage PR, All Noir PR and Action PR for the promo. Visions Beyond Horizon will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Heavy Psych Sounds from Jan 31st 2020.