Sungrazer "Mirador" (Elektrohasch, 2013)
There is a massive gaping void in the slot that pioneers like Kyuss, Gruntruck, and Green River used to fill. The Stoner Rock of years past has all but dissipated. The iconic larger than life so-called Desert Rock is sorely missed by this writer. There are numerous bands that try to emulate the forgotten nuances that set it apart from the laughable Rock acts of its day, but they fall tragically short. Even Queens of the Stone Age are arguably beyond the genre of Stoner Rock now. There is little special or unique out there that isn’t lured into a box of tried tricks.
Through the forgotten dimension of Stoner Desert Rock I’ve been made aware of an anomaly. It’s the next stage in what I’ve been longing for, called Sungrazer. It’s precisely where the beloved genre left off, and where it needed to be picked up again. This three piece Dutch collective has found a balance in the chaos of Stoner Rock and a matured, subtle delivery that gives it a very thoughtful, artistic quality. They let their tracks grow and bloom organically while giving us that classic crunchy grind that the nineties Grunge heads went ballistic for. It has an ethereal quality as much as raw and brooding. Some tracks will have you banging your head from the get-go while others take time to reel you in. “Octo” and “Sea” are excellent, back-to-back examples of that, coming off their sophomore album Mirador. The entire album flows seamlessly with its interchanges between weight and melody.
The thirteen minute track “Behind” commences with a gentle whisper of guitar, then accompanied by a second spaced out, jangly guitar it turns over with an army crawl. The vocals are calm―relaxed―unhurried. The melody builds with drums until it takes a dip into a grungy filter and stomps about angrily. The vocals remain calm, as they seem to do through the entirety of the album. The grungy melody turns over to reveal a calm, relaxed and, dare I say, jazzy guitar line that continues on until it drifts into a spacial dimension all its own. The grunge filter gets tipped again and we’re rocking into oblivion once more. It’s back and forth plays between style and substance like this that keep each track absolutely intriguing.
Sungrazer are a unique outfit because they took something that was uniquely American during the nineties and gave it a facelift for the decade or so it’s been absent. They take their name from comets that graze past the sun, most of which completely fall apart on their journey past. Some that are just big enough survive the journey, remaining intact for the most part. It seems a fairly radical metaphor; taking Desert Stoner Rock beyond the millennium and, actually, bringing it back to us in better shape than they found it.
Review made by Hunter Gatherer (The Forgotten West)/2014
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