Nebula, Heavy Psych.

I have been having an enormous Jones recently for some good old fashion heavy metal music.Nebula, Heavy Psych

 The first time I went looking for a contemporary band playing ye olde fashioned metal I failed miserably. I have read and heard what must be a hundred reviews of Mastodon’s Crack the Skye, each one of them gushing praise. These reviewers should have their licenses revoked. What a piece of crap this album is. I hated every moment of it from beginning to end. It sounded like a pretentious rip-off of every pretentious Yngwie Malmsteen album that I hated when I was 15. And at $16.99 I felt the pain of being screwed for weeks. You’ll understand why I was skeptical when I relied on a 30 second podcast review of Nebula’s Heavy Psych as my recommendation.

 As an aside, I have to mention that the Sound Opinions podcast from Chicago Public Radio is an amazing resource.  I’ve been turned on to a ton of new music and rediscovered some old chestnuts while listening over the past few months.

 So I took a chance. I bought Heavy Psych on a trip to Newbury Comics yesterday. At $13.99 I felt a slight cramp as I signed the debit card slip. It didn’t take long to realize that I’d found a pick that was worth every penny! You can practically taste the blood and sweat of Seventies metal coming from Heavy Psych starting with the vintage NASA lunar module cover photo, the faux Houses of the Holy font, and the ala-Black Sabbath Vol. 4 grainy photo on the back. Almost before the fist note chimed I was under the spell of Nebula.

 It was an ecstatic slow grind through tracks 1 and 2 which are steeped with so many Seventies references that it’s hard to sort them all out. There’s the throbbing bass & guitar riffage of Black Sabbath, the straight ahead, full-on drive of Deep Purple, the trippy wandering metal of early Rush, Scorpions and Judas Priest. Wah-Wah’s and phaser effects abound.

 It was track number 3, Aphrodite that sealed the deal for me though. The opening riff simply tore me to shreds. It’s a cheap trick I know, but a great riff is a great riff and I never ever get tired the best ones. As with the rest of Heavy Psych, Aphrodite simply drips with guitar solos. Not the pretentious ones that drove me to hate Mastodon, but the dirty, bluesy solos of Tony Iommi and Ritchie Blackmore. To me these are the sound of someone that’s become one with the music. I can see them playing, eyes closed and improvising every note.

 After listening through 2 or 3 more times I started to pick out the things that save Nebula from being strictly a Seventies throwback. In subsequent listens I heard lots of more contemporary indie and punk references as well. In Aphrodite I heard Superfuzz-Bigmuff-era Mudhoney. In The Other Side I heard D.C. underground hardcore faves Ignition. Heavy Psych closes with an untitled quasi-instrumental track that reminds me of those old Greg Ginn/Black Flag instrumentals. Maybe it’s just me but the background screaming on the track even reminds me Henry Rollins.

 Everything about this album is great fun. I’ve been listening for nearly 24 hours straight and I see no end in site.

 Oh, one last stellar recommendation. While out on a trip to Lowe’s with my wife last night I said, “Can I play you a minute of ‘the-best-new-heavy-metal-album-that-I-know-you’ll-hate’?” I dropped the needle (figuratively) on Aphrodite and I watched her cringe (literally). Under 30 seconds in and she grabs for the dial. “Why would you do that to me? That was just mean.”


~ by spinthis45 on August 15, 2009.

One Response to “Nebula, Heavy Psych.”

  1. I love the last paragraph!

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