Tuesday 14 November 2023

Almost Honest - The Hex Of Penns Woods (Album Review)

Release Date: November 24th 2023. Record Label: Argonauta Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Hex Of Penns Woods - Tracklisting

Mortician Magician

Laughter Of The Deer Owl

Alien Spiders

Eyeless Herd

Where The Quakers Dwell

Amish Hex

Haunted Hunter

Colony Of Fire

Ballad Of A Mayfly

Goliaths Lamp

William Penn


Shayne Reed - Vocals/Guitar

Garrett Spangler - Bass

Quinten Spangler - Drums

Davud Kopp - Guitar


Doom/Stoner Rockers Almost Honest return with their new album The Hex of Penns Woods which is based upon folklore, history and culture of Pennsylvania where the band are actually from. Almost Honest also use their own personal experiences on this album as well. So there's quite a lot of different creative elements to this album which draws upon the Occult and various creative themes told through an exciting style of Proto-Doom/Stoner Rock. Almost Honest blend that mysticism with Funk Rock, Punk Rock, Garage Rock and Psychedelic attitudes which they've used within previous releases but none so more convincingly here.

The album has a vintage Garage Rock/Street Doom sound with a seedy Blues Rock flourish where you can detect influences such as Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath to name but a few especially within the opening tracks of Mortician Magician and Laughter Of The Deer Owl. The mood is quite upbeat despite some of the gloomy subject matter Almost Honest use for the main stories of these banging and kick-ass tracks. The instrumental work is flowing with 1970's Proto-Doom and Punk Rock energy with a sublime 1990's Grunge/Stoner Metal rhythm appearing on the heavier moments. Shades of Post-Stoner grooves elevate from the background and to the forefront of the music before changing into a loud BLUES ROCK explosion. You also have the added bonus of CROBOT's very own Bradley Yeagley sing vocals on the within Laughter Of The Deer Owl

Even though this album draws upon well-known folklore from Pennsylvania it's good to see Almost Honest using their own creative inspirations on tracks such as Laughter Of The Deer Owl and Alien Spiders which perhaps offer the most fun times with this album with a sense of freaky driven music which keeps the mood flowing between Classic Hard Rock and modern day Stoner Rock/Metal. The guitars are plentiful with a pure sense of Hard Rock excess with the reliance of OTT wicked guitar solos.

Fourth track Eyeless Herd does have a distinct early-era RHCP movement to it and it's quite a personal record according to the Press Release that came with the promo. You can tell that through the vocals and intense lyrics that accompany the track. Flashes of fast-paced and aggressive leaning Stoner grooves once again draws upon that FUNK ROCK element. The song does become more DOOM & GLOOM based which allows a more volatile Sludge Rock to appear and take full control of the whole song.

Almost Honest continue to expand within their own personal experiences and the Pennsylvanian landscape with the remainder of the album with more outlandish styles of Funk driven Doom/Stoner Rock with the album even adding Trumpets into the mix on Where The Quakers Dwell. I thought I was listening to a SKA PUNK song at one point but the heavy 90's Funk, Alt-Rock and Stoner Metal sounds keep things on course with the band still playing with a fearless attitude which brings some of the heaviest moments on the album.

The next two tracks Amish Hex and Haunted Hunter have the potential to be future classics for Almost Honest to make themselves known with. As both songs go into many different directions storywise with Almost Honest using tales of the OCCULT within the main inspiration for both songs. These tracks alone offer the most interesting sounds and extended instrumental parts of the album with a subtle Blues Rock flow becoming more DOOM based with flashes of Classic Hard Rock guitars. 

The final section of the album continues the same creative and spiritual journey but with Almost Honest trying a more experimental style when the mood calls for this. The standout tracks here have to be Colony Of Fire and Goliath's Lamp for myself. As they have the most interesting ideas especially how the music plays out. The album doesn't go the journey you expect but lLmost Honest remain true to their creative beliefs and lay down some of the funkiest, freshest and freakiest Stoner based sounds you'll hear this year.

The Hex Of Penns Woods is an unexpected and crazy delight with Almost Honest delivering one of the weirdest and adventurous Stoner Rock albums you'll hear this year. Throw in the epic sounding production values that allows The Hex Of Penns Woods to have quite a contemporary and classic sound that demands your full undivided attention.

This album is the REAL DEAL and could propel Almost Honest onto greater things within the Doom/Stoner Rock scene.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Grand Sounds Promotions for the promo.

The Hex Of Penns Woods will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Argonauta Records from November 24th 2023.


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