The Warlocks

Skull Worship

Written by: BV on 29/01/2014 22:10:57

The Warlocks are at it again – or rather, Bobby Hecksher and his ever-changing band of associates are at it again. Their newest effort, “Skull Worship”, came out in late 2013 and is one of my few remaining albums to catch up on before embarking on the musical journey that is 2014. So what new does this band then bring to the growing equation that is psych? Not much really – having been in the game for a long time though, specifically since 1998, one could argue that the band has played a role in psychedelic music’s recent rise to some sort of underground prominence and as such, they should perhaps be applauded.

However, with “Skull Worship” The Warlocks seem to be treading the waters they have been occupying for so many years as they seemingly insist on sticking to a basic formula of fuzz-drenched psych-drones that surround and engulf frontman Bobby Hecksher’s voice in a bleak sounding, doomsday prophetic swamp of sounds. Opener “Dead Generation” is a prime example of this, as this is perhaps the band’s most prophetic statement to date. The music is equally gloomy and sets the tone for an increasingly bleak-looking sonic journey – perfect for aficionados of bad trips but perhaps not ideal for those who are generally fond of a positive outlook on life.

With “Endless Drops” there is a brief respite from the sonic assault that can be attributed to the droning walls of fuzz – it is a needed one which provides the album with a much needed dynamic change that, albeit somewhat in vain, changes the mood for something still quite depressing, yet not entirely reminiscent of a bad trip. Hecksher’s vocals are once again drowned out in favor of the quite grand layers of instrumentation but unfortunately it never really comes off as utterly justifiable, seeing as Hecksher’s voice can be quite interesting when placed audibly on top of the mix.

As the album comes to its inevitable close, the experience is rounded off with The Warlocks engaging in what is, perhaps, one of their most experimental moments to date with the track “Eyes Jam”. This piece of music fully displays my recently acquired ambivalence towards the project as it goes to show that The Warlocks are skillful crafters of sound – but occasionally they lack that little piece of melody that could propel them to a much higher plane. With “Skull Worship” one could easily determine that The Warlocks haven’t made the comeback of the year – they did, however, manage to create an album that doesn’t tarnish their legacy entirely, meaning that they will most likely still appeal to a large segment of their fanbase. I, however, remain somewhat unimpressed and will probably be sticking to their older albums, in spite of “Skull Worship”’s quite interesting, albeit heavily sporadic moments of sonic glory.


Download: Endless Drops, He Looks Good in Space, Dead Generation
For the fans of: The Brian Jonestown Massacre, My Bloody Valentine, The Telescopes
Listen: Facebook

Release date 26.11.2013

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