Monday 24 February 2020

Stone Cold Fiction - Strange Times (Album Review)

Release date: October 09th 2019. Label: Magic Moustache Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

Strange Times - Tracklisting

1.Mary 03:15
2.CCTV 02:52
3.Slowburner 02:43
4.Avoiding In A Way 07:00
5.Mind On Trial 03:26
6.End 03:58
7.Landscape 10:33
8.Catatonia 04:16


Matt, Alex, Stephen


Stone Cold Fiction is the debut album from Stoner/Blues Rockers – Strange Times – and it’s music is steeped and influenced by sixties and seventies based Classic and Hard Rock. The album has a certain vintage feel but the band is still quite a loud, brash and heavy experience that allows the band to explore the different sounds of music that the band have lovingly crafted for this album.

Opening song – Mary – is a gloomy Blues Rock offering with the band adding slight Occult/Doom Rock vibes to their full-on Classic sounding Psych/Blues Rock grooves. The song starts off rather quietly and mellow before Strange Times adding different layers of Heavy Rock and the vocals offer a cool narrative and are never too forceful which allow them to have an easy-going free-flowing nature to them. Despite the heavy riffs leading the way.

Second song – CCTV – carries on the Blues Rock vibe with the band exploring a more upbeat style of Stoner Rock whilst maintaining their Blues Rock identity. The instrumental work can be quite complex in places but still easily addictive. The lyrics and vocals have a slight Alternative feel but Strange Times still manage to hold my attention on this song.

Third song – Showburner – has the same structure and details of the opening two songs and you can feel the rest of the album will follow this path. Though, that’s no bad thing as Strange Times prove on this song they add a lot of variety to their music with distinctive Loud and Heavy Stoner Riffs merged with their usual Blues Rock sound. The vocals yet again are superb and you can feel the tension coming from both the vocals and grizzled heavy riffs being played here.

Fourth song – Avoiding In A Way – opens with a distorted riff that airs on the cautionary side of Occult/Doom Rock. This is song is slowly played but you can feel a heavier environment is about to arrive and it does which sees a slightly different side to Strange Times. The song is in no rush to reach its final destination with almost seven minutes of pitch-perfect Blues based creepy Occult/Doom Rock tones with a strange Stoner based environment creeping in at different parts of the song. This is perhaps the standout song held on the album.

Strange Fiction carry on their almost creepy mission on the second half of the album with the ten minute plus epic Landscape being the major highlight of this part of the album. This is a soulful progressive journey which Strange Times excel in bringing different strands of Psychedelic Rock, Stoner Rock and Blues Rock. Maybe influenced by All Them Witches on this song but the song has got its own style and vision that the band fully excel at.

I missed this album first time round when it was originally released back in October last year. I’m quite pleased I’ve managed to listen to the album and I’m happy to report that is a superb sounding album that has the potential to surprise you in many different ways.

This album is getting a vinyl release from a new record label called Magic Moustache Records and I can see this album doing very well within the Stoner Rock Community who seek an album with a lot more variety than you wouldn’t expect.

Words by Steve Howe