Thursday, 22 April 2021

STÖNER - Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4 (Album Review)


Release Date: 30th April 2021. Record Label: Heavy Psych Sounds. Format:CD/DD/Vinyl


Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4 - Tracklisting


1.Rad Stays Rad

2.The Older Kids

3.Own Yer Blues

4.Nothin'

5.Evel Never Dies

6.Stand Down

7.Tribe / Fly Girl


Band Members:


Brant Bjork - Guitar/Vocals

Nick Olivieri - Bass/Vocals

Ryan Gut - Drums


Review


If you’re a serious fan of Stoner Rock/Metal and have been living under a rock for the past few months then you should have heard of STÖNER. The new band features Desert/Stoner Rock legends Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveiri. The guys are joined by Brant’s longtime drummer Ryan Gut. The band made their debut live performance within the recent series of LIVE IN THE MOJAVE DESERT of Live Concerts and what can be classed as their debut full length album.


Not many bands release a Live Concert as their debut album but it’s good to see STÖNER do something different for their 1st official release. The album consists of 7 songs which all play to each individual member's strengths and it feels like a complete record because of this. The record features the familiar Desert/Stoner Rock grooves we expect from Brant and Nick from both of their celebrated lengthy careers. Though, the first few moments sound eerily like Brant’s recent studio output but given an “Outlaw Rock” makeover which Nick is primarily known for his solo work.


The first song - Rad Stays Rad - features classic Brant Bjork energy with that undeniable “KYUSS” Desert Rock classic aura leading it’s way through. The grizzled guitars, heavy drums and thumping bass bring a fresh 70s Punk Rock and Hard Rock flavour with the guys musical influences being used for good measure. WIth a band called STÖNER, it’s not necessarily all Stoner Rock/Metal with flashes of Punk Rock, Hard Rock and a dash of Blues Rock making things decidedly different. The lyrics are a strange affair but soon settle into a more adventurous style of storytelling with the music being the main highlight of the song.


Second song - The Older Kids - has a more reflective and mature attitude with STÖNER bringing in a pure 70s HARD RAWK SOUND to the party. The heavy bass from Nick is widely addictive and is one of his best performances i’ve heard since his QOTSA days. The song moves up a gear when the FUNK based riffs appear and the classic blend of Desert/Stoner vibes have a seedier attitude to them. The guys bring more volume and atmospherics to this song especially with the more outlandish Punk Rock and Psych Rock moments that appear towards the end of the song.


Third song - Own Yer Blues - is the perfect mix of Brant’s laid-back Blues Rock swagger and Nick’s muscular bass guitar moving the song into a more peaceful style of music. Though, you can tell by the rebellious lyrics that heavier things await and they do in the 2nd half of the song. It’s good hearing STÖNER trying a more conventional style of Blues Rock for this song. It’s not the most exciting track but it has some epic guitar solos and drum beats that make this song a real winner. The 2nd half brings a whole wave of distorted Psychedelic Stoner Rock and almost Doomed Out Desert Rock with a thumping performance from Nick.


Fourth song - Nothin’ - runs for under 3 minutes and is more BOOGIE ROCK orientated and it’s a groovy little number which could have easily came off the recent studio output of both Nick and Brant. There is a wicked 70s Rebellious Influence on this song and it’s quite easy not to be impressed by it all.


The final 3 songs on the album - Evel Never Dies, Stand Down, Tribe / Fly Girl - offer 22 minutes for STÖNER to convince you to join their Stoner Rock cause and perhaps play the best songs on the record. Evel Never Dies offers Nick the chance to sing lead vocals singing about Evel Knievel and Nick perhaps sees a kindred spirit within Evel Knievel and it’s a very cool PUNK ROCK sounding affair with some cool lyrics to match.


Tribe / Fly Girl is the best track on the album with STÖNER offering a more Prog Rock style of music with this song lasting over 13 minutes. STÖNER goes through a wide range of different sounds and genres on this track but still retains a fresh dynamic to it all. The song is quite soulful and beautifully heavy in all the right moments which ends this album on such a high note.


I felt letdown by VISTA CHINO which was the last time Brant and Nick last worked together. However, STONER is a winning album on all fronts. The band have released an album that builds and uses each individual musicians strengths to great advantage which allows the listener to be treated to a collection of superbly written and played songs.


Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4 is a must have album for everyone who claims to be a fan or follower of Stoner Rock/Metal. When you have two of the legendary pioneering musicians from the genre reuniting for a new project then you know that project demands your undivided attention.


Well STÖNER are a band to be genuinely be very excited about and this is a “must have” record to own and add to your collection.


Words by Steve Howe


Thanks to Purple Sage PR and All NOIR PR for the promo.


Live In The Mojave Desert: Volume 4 - will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl at Heavy Psych Sounds Records from April 30th 2021.


Links:


Official | Instagram | BandCamp