Tuesday 28 May 2024

High Desert Queen - Palm Reader (Album Review)

Release Date: May 28th  2024. Record Label: Self Released. Formats: DD

Three Moons: Tracklisting

1.Ancient Aliens 

2.Death Perception 

3.Head Honcho

4.Palm Reader

5.Time Waster 

6.Tuesday Night Blues

7.Solar Rain

Band Members

Ryan Garney – vocals

Phil Hook – drums

Morgan Miller – bass

Rusty Miller – guitar


Austin, Texas based Stoner Metallers High Desert Queen earned a ton of critical plaudits for their 2022 debut album Secrets Of The Black Moon that saw the band arrive on the global Stoner Rock/Metal scene in a big way. Multiple tours and festival slots happened both within the USA and Europe where the band developed a great following on both sides of the Atlantic.

High Desert Queen have returned with their second album Palm Reader and it easily avoids the sophomore slump that has dogged so many great bands time and time again. The secret to High Desert Queen’s success is their ability to experiment with new sounds and storytelling techniques compared to their acclaimed debut release. Palm Reader does have its fair share of Psychedelic and Cosmic interludes but they added a real storytelling narrative within the lyrics and how the vocals are delivered throughout the album.

Touring with icons of the Desert/Stoner Rock scene may have helped the band along the way but High Desert Queen are still essentially delivering epic Desert Rock/Stoner Rock tracks tinged with more Emotional Driven rock on the excellent opening tracks of Ancient Aliens and Death Perception (which features guest vocals from Emma Näslund from the ace Swedish Doom/Stoner Rock band GAUPA). These two tracks alone sees High Desert Queen set down the groundwork for high voltage FUZZED UP grooves with that Texan based Desert/Stoner Rock sound merged with elements of Psych Rock, Doom Rock and Classic Hard Rock energy.

Palm Reader is quite different to Secrets Of The Black Moon when the heavier sounds appear but Ryan’s excellent vocals is like welcoming back an old friend with open arms who you haven’t seen in a long time. The music is always of the BOMBASTIC variety with the band adapting to a Blues Rock and Cosmic energy on other tracks such as Head Honcho, Palm Reader and Time Waster. 

High Desert Queen manages to impress further on the lengthier tracks of the album with Head Honcho and Solar Rain both running past the nine minutes mark. The band starts to lay down grooves with a Progressive Sludge Rock swagger that feels inspired by Mastodon and Baroness in parts. The album soon starts adding wonderful overlaps of Stoner Rock and Cosmic Rock with a touch of AMERICANA mysticism appearing within the lyrics and superb vocals allows High Desert Queen to match the dizzying creative heights and psychedelic beats of their acclaimed debut album.

The band could have easily made Secrets Of The Black Moon Part Two but they offered something more fulfilling and equally rewarding with a record that has it’s own original sound to impress listeners with all over again. 

Palm Reader is beautifully melodic and quite intense when High Desert Queen for the heavier Stoner Metal sound on the later stages of the album though the band show their tender side as well which becomes perhaps dominated by the legendary Desert Rock landscape.

This is another must-have record from High Desert Queen who have earned their reputation as one of the most promising and essential acts to come out from the legendary Texan Desert/Stoner Rock scene.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Magnetic Eye Records, US/THEM PR Group and All Noir PR for the promo.

Palm Reader will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Magnetic Eye Records from Friday 31st May 2024 at the following links below:

Worldwide: en.spkr.media
US/Canada: us.spkr.media