Saturday 18 January 2020

Desert Smoke - Karakum (Album Review)

Release date: November 11th 2019. Label: Raging Planet. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Karakum - Tracklisting

1.Smoke One 00:39
2.Darvaz 07:31
3.Solar Jam 12:07
4.Mystic Lunar Ship 06:28
5.Gate of Karakum 09:51


André Pedroso Rocha (Guitar)
Cláudio Aurélio (Drums)
João Nogueira (Bass)
João Romão (Guitar)


Karakum is the 2nd album from Psychedelic Stoner Instrumentalists – Desert Smoke – and these guys offer a heavier and dirtier blend of Psychedelic Stoner Rock. The album has quite a rich and experimental progressive sound that allows the band to drift into many different strands of Psychedelic/Stoner Rock weirdness.

The band are quite daring in places but there are parts of the album where I wanted Desert Smoke to delve even further into the dark musical odyssey they have released here. As sometimes you expect that “killer blow” but the band change musical styles for certain parts of the album. That’s my only complaint about this album. Other than that Desert Smoke bring the goods to the party with this album. The songs are long and offer many different styles of music that should keep you entertained.

Taking influence from KYUSS, Karma To Burn, Earthless, Yawning Man, Hawkwind and Black Sabbath with the trippy and epic cinematic Space Rock vibes allowing both Desert Smoke and the listener to go on all-out Spaced Out journey into the cosmos. The other thing that surprised me about this album is how HEAVY the band actually are. You can hear some epic Sludge grooves along the way with Darvaz, Solar Jam and Gate Of Karakum impressing the most.

Desert Smoke may seem they’re doing nothing groundbreaking with the standard Stoner Rock sound but appearances can be deceiving in this case. As the band have many tricks up their sleeve to make their album sound quite different to other Instrument Rock albums currently out there. The trippy and psychedelic vibes hide a dark and dangerous style of Desert Rock that feels like it has been corrupted by an unknown evil force.

The instrumental work between all 4 band members is nothing short of spectacular with the band playing a wide array of epic jams that have depth and meaning to them. The drumming from Cláudio Aurélio is one my favourite parts about the album. As Cláudio is a force of nature on this album and you can feel every precise hit of the drums coming at you from all directions. Though he’s superbly backed up by the other members of the band who create beautifully vivid guitar riffs that demand your full attention.

Karakum is a bold, daring and exciting album that demands many repeated listens to get the many different messages hidden within Desert Smoke’s dark vast world.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe