Saturday 13 April 2024

Red Mesa - Partial Distortions (Album Review)

Release Date: April 19th 2024. Record Label: Desert Records / Majestic Mountain Records. Formats: CD/DD/Vinyl

Partial Distortions - Tracklisting


2.The Assertion

3.Dying in the Cold Sun 

4.12 Volt Shaman

5.Desert March

6.Witching Hour 



Brad Frye - Rhythm and Lead Guitars, Lead and Backing Vocals

Roman Barham - Drums, Lead and Backing Vocals

Alex Cantwell - Bass Guitar, Lead and Backing Vocals, Additional Rhythm Guitars


Partial Distortions is the fourth full length album from Doom/Stoner Metallers Red Mesa who have gone from strength to strength with each passing record they’ve released since their acclaimed 2014 debut self titled album. This time round sees Red Mesa adding music from the NOLA Sludge scene with their music being reminiscent of bands such as Crowbar and DOWN with their trademark Stoner grooves being the main dominant part of this album.

With each member vying for “LEAD VOCALIST” and “LEAD INSTRUMENTALIST” on different stages of the album, this is a great collection of tracks full of harsh atmospherics and free-flowing Sludge/Stoner Metal movements that feel quite different to their previous releases which you’ll hear within the epic opening track of Óðr.

The song Óðr is highly volatile and feels like a powder keg waiting to explode with Red Mesa’s heavy down-tuned grooves acting as the riff fuelled ignition that allows the album to fully branch out into other areas of Doom/Stoner Metal. The vocals are quite aggressive which once again feels fuelled by the NOLA scene which becomes a recurring style played throughout the album. The music can be deliberately slow, which allows Red Mesa to play a more seedy FUZZED out style of Sludgy atmospherics.

Second song The Assertion has a subtle Blues Rock and Psyched Out energy which gives way to a more powerful Post-Doom or Post-Sludge flavour of instrumental jams that sees the music become more fast-paced. There’s a deft Post-Metal sound starting to emerge with the subtle Psychedelic moments with harsh vocals and growls leading the creative charge and narrative of the whole album.

Third song Dying In The Cold Sun is perhaps one of the best tracks that Red Mesa have written yet with a raw sounding atmosphere allowing the band to branch out into other areas of music such as Progressive Sludge Metal and bringing a fresh take on the classic NOLA sound. The wicked instrumental solos show you how far Red Mesa has progressed as musicians since their last album. The song can be quite bleak and highly solitary at times with its icy cold musical demeanour that left me quite emotional in places especially when the heartfelt lyrics start to take hold. 

The second half of the album sees Red Mesa take a step back from that NOLA sound and focus upon playing their classic blend of Doom/Stoner Metal with a “less is more” style appearing within the remainder of the tracks: 12 Volt Shaman, Desert March and Witching Hour. The music is always highly volatile full of vigorous Psychedelic energy and stripped back Sludge Metal aggression especially on tracks 12 Volt Shaman and Witching Hour.

Red Mesa have outdone themselves with Partial Distortions and even though the album can be quite outlandish in places, the record is full of magical WEEDIAN moments that sees the band become masters of their own creative domain and release an album full of classic sounding Doom/Stoner Metal tracks that any band would be proud to call their own.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Desert Bloom PR and Red Mesa for the promo.

Partial Distortions will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from Desert Records (US) and Majestic Mountain Records (UK/Europe)


Facebook | BandCamp | Instagram