Friday 20 January 2023

Strider - Midnight Zen (Album Review)

Release Date: January 13th 2023. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Midnight Zen: Tracklisting

1.Hive 03:50

2.Bystander Apathy 08:16

3.Dream with the Dreamer 05:26

4.Midnight Zen 10:25

5.Molly the Holy 06:07


Midnight Zen is the debut album from Turkish Psych Stoner Rockers Strider. From first impressions you may think that Strider are influenced from the Californian Desert/Stoner Rock scene and bands such as KYUSS. However, look beyond that influence or sound and Strider takes deeper meaning and influences from other scenes such as Psych Rock, Post-Rock and even Doom Metal for a more adventurous style of music.

The first half of the album is mostly inspired by bands such as KYUSS, Monster Magnet and Fu Manchu but you also get the band bringing a Post-Stoner sensibility along the way which becomes their main style of music on the second half of the album. Taking cues from bands such as Elder, Weedpecker and King Buffalo allows Strider to create an album of two different halves to each other for a richer and warmer experience.

The opening two songs of Hive and Bystander Apathy sees a Californian Desert Rock mentality merging with a FUZZED UP Doom based attitude with the excellent opening track Hive being a fast-paced track that is straight up classic Stoner Metal riff worship. 

Things become more interesting with Bystander Apathy where Strider starts to bring areas of Heavy Doom into the mix with a SABBATHIAN attitude being heard within the FUZZY guitars. The mood is quite intense with a solid LIGHT vs DARK delivery with their music. The instrumental work is made of extended jams and progressive Stoner based passages with Strider showing glimpses of their true creative spirit which shines right through from this moment on.

The next two songs Dream With The Dreamer and Midnight Zen is where the album really flies into different Post-Stoner and Post-Rock territory with Strider being more bold with their music. The vocals are outstanding with an emotional approach with the music perhaps having a more laid back approach whilst still bringing moments of pure blissful heaviness that ELDER and KING BUFFALO are known for. So expect a more PROGRESSIVE and SPACED OUT part of the album that has a haunting reflecting emotional feel contained within both the vocals and lyrical content. 

Strider also excels injecting different styles of Psychedelic sounds into the mix that gives the album quite an organic and all too real sound even when the album’s heaviest grooves appear.

The final song Molly The Holy is my favourite track on the album. As it’s beautifully understated with the vocals and psychedelic atmospheric beats that appear within the first few moments of the track. Though, Strider still plays areas of Heavy Cosmic Rock with a sense of guitar reverb, feedback and distortion. The song benefits from excellent instrumental work and lyrical content that allows the vocals to take the listener on a cinematic journey.

Midnight Zen is the type of album that showcases all the best elements why I love the Psych Stoner Rock/Metal underground scene. This is an album that aims HIGH and succeeds on every level. This feels like Strider’s fourth or fifth album and not their debut. Strider are super-confident with everything they do on Midnight Zen and that also makes this such an irresistible album to own. 

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


Facebook | BandCamp | Instagram