Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Sons Of Otis - Isolation (Album Review)


Release date: October 16th 2020. Label: Totem Cat Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Isolation – Tracklisting

4.Blood Moon
6.Theme II


Ken Baluke: Guitar/voice
Ryan Aubin: Drums
Frank Sargeant: Bass


Isolation is the new album from Cosmic/Blues/Doom/Stoner Rock legends Sons Of Otis and their first album since 2012. This album that sees the band deliver their most potent and heavy mix of Spaced Out Blues with a Progressive Doom/Stoner Metal outlook not heard from the band for a very long time. I was disappointed with their last album as it didn’t really speak to me like previous Sons Of Otis albums had in the past. However, this album is a stunning return to form from the band and should allow the band to please both long time supporters and bring new fans to the Sons Of Otis cause.

Opening song – Hopeless – has that legendary trademark sound the band are known for but with a cosmic outlook on things with the music slowly pounding away and building upto more exciting levels. The vocals are grizzled and distorted in all the right places and Sons Of Otis will let you know they are back in business. The blues based atmosphere is one that allows the band to have a more direct approach and the band run wild with that style of music for the majority of the album.

Second song – JJ – is an interesting song with the creative choices the band have made for this track. As the song has many different musical elements that make it perhaps the standout song on the album. The song starts really slow and the band use their Psychedelic talents to bring a different layer of heaviness to the other parts of the album. You can hear shades of early-Monster Magnet on this album with both the lyrical themes and vocals but this still reminds you of being a Sons Of Otis record.

Third song – Trust – is a dirty 70's based Doom/Stoner Rock number with an excellent style of guitar riffs giving the record a more vintage lo-fi feel at the start. The band once again take time in bringing the heavy grooves to the party but there’s still a lot to admire and be excited about on this album. The eerie vocals from Ken are aggressive in all the right places but still having a commanding influence over the listener. Ryan and Frank provide superb support on Drums and Bass respectively and I was totally impressed by the more “funkier” style of music that appears on this song.

Fourth Song – Blood Moon – is the most aggressive and gloomiest song on the entire album with the band moving further into their “Doom Metal” persona that we haven’t heard before. The riffs are quite deafening in places but there is a hidden intelligence behind this song. The vocals are on point with Ken adapting a more “Devilish” style of delivery. It’s creepy and progressive which make this another standout track on the album.

The final two songs Ghost and Theme II carry on the gloomy progressive Doom/Stoner Metal sounds with the Psychedelic and Space Rock influences adding a real menacing touch to the final moments of Isolation.

Sons Of Otis are perhaps considered “The Old Guard” of Stoner Metal but them along with Lowrider have both shown they have many tricks and exciting new ideas to impress the new breed of Stoner Metal bands currently around within the scene. Isolation is Sons Of Otis best album in years and will no doubt end up on a few Best Albums of 2020 that will be appearing very soon. As you can tell it’s already grabbed a place on mine.

Awesome stuff….

Words by Steve Howe

Isolation will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Totem Cat Records from October 16th 2020.

Thanks to Purple Sage PR for the promo.


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