Thursday 10 November 2022

Pharm - Vortex (Album Review)

Date Released: October 29th 2022. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Vortex: Tracklisting

1.Acolyte 04:43

2.Conqueror 05:46

3.Device 04:05

4.Rat Milk, Pt. 1 01:23

5.Crystal Ships 04:39

6.Six 07:15

7.Tear at the Wall 05:58

8.Embryo 04:52

9.The Time Borrower, Pt. 1 01:00

10.Orbiting the Vortex 09:27

11.Thanks 02:14


Lucas Segall, Teagan Ramage, Matt Parson


Vortex is the debut album from Prog Stoner Rockers Pharm who primarily deal in Prog Metal excess rather than the STONER/WEEDIAN Slant their music ultimately includes. The album is bursting at the seams with manic Psychedelic Sounds that has a twinge of FUZZ ROCK and GLOOMY riffs with classic Stoner based vocals.

Pharm starts the album in a highly confident fashion with the opening track Acolyte that sounds like KYUSS and TRUCKFIGHTERS discovering Prog Rock Music for the first time. The song is a mix of Desert Rock, Stoner Rock and Prog Rock grooves that has some complex prog rhythms behind it all whilst still allowing the band to play a high amount of extended jams. Throw in some CLASSIC BLUES ROCK that can be quite freaky and funky then Pharm aren’t your standard Stoner Rock/Metal band.

Second song Conqueror opts for an experimental and progressive approach with the Stoner aspect still being the main theme for Pharm to play loud excessive sounds that have a lot of different noisy aspects in the background. Vocals are loud, boisterous and fun with Pharm doing their own wild creative thing on this track. Jazzy beats and a subtle stop-start style of riffs are quite subtle but a whole lot of fun at the same time. Excessive Trippy and Psychedelic noises appear towards the end of the song and the song descends into Noise Rock based CHAOS but with a satisfying WEEDIAN approach.

Third song Device is another funky based number with the excellent bass guitar being the dominant musical sound that you’ll hear with superb vocals working surprisingly well against the first rate Organs, Keys and Synths. Maybe Pharm is taking a creative approach that reminds me of PRIMUS and FRANK ZAPPA though if they all played Experimental Stoner Rock. The song is multi-layered and complex with many different levels of subdued STONER based madness to it all. 

Pharm only become weirder and weirder from this point on with the band taking more surreal creative choices and risks for the album on tracks such as: Crystal Ships, Six, Tear At The Wall and Embryo where the band fuse Classic Rock and Garage Rock into the mix with mostly surprisingly entertaining results. 

There is perhaps too much to focus upon on the later stages of the album with Pharm still maintaining a highly confident charm. The songs are still fun and full of wild exciting grooves and psychedelic sounds to keep the album genuinely exciting from start to finish.

I was majorly impressed by Orbiting The Vortex which remains my favourite part of the album as Pharm play a more classic style of Prog Stoner Metal. The song has cool vocals, superbly written lyrics and intense STONER riffs that I felt showed Pharm at their creative best.  Everything was in it’s right place and even the more experimental choices Pharm made on this track ultimately serves it’s creative purpose and make a whole lot of sense. 

Vortex is a uniquely different album from the Stoner Rock/Metal underground scene and it ends up becoming quite a damn good album to listen to. Full of wonderfully weird and different strands of Stoner Rock/Metal, Pharm have delivered the goods with this album.

Words by Steve Howe


Facebook | BandCamp