[Review] Smokemaster – Smokemaster

Smokemaster is a Psychedelic/Progressive Rock band born from Cologne in Germany, whose sound is influenced by the masters of the genre such as Pink Floyd, The Doors and Color Haze, with a modern and personal touch. Their debut album “Smokemaster” released on April 24th 2020 for Tonzonen Records, a label always careful in the search for bands with great prospects. Containing 6 medium to long-lasting tracks, it confirms expectations by offering massive and well-structured sounds with instrumental and vocal parts of fine workmanship that bring us back to the golden years of the genre. The “Solar Flares” opener begins with a soft guitar arpeggio and a slow rhythmic session, creating a lysergic atmosphere in constant evolution and with the intensity that increases with the passage of the song. In the second part the electric guitar takes the stage with powerful and acidic inserts, supported by penetrating bass lines and layers of keyboards halfway between Prog and Psychedelia. A good introductory track that immediately immerses us in what will be the Psychedelic tune of the album. “Trippin ‘Blues” is a song with a clear late 60s sound, straddling Psychedelia and Hard Blues with the guitar as the protagonist and a tight and engaging rhythmic session. The vocal is warm and aggressive and goes well with the music, while in the long instrumental part in the center of the track alternate guitar and organ solos, bringing the sound to a higher level. With the return of the vocal for the last verses it accompanies us to the closing. “Ear Of The Universe” is the longest song on the album, and begins with a massive interweaving of guitar riffs, a distorted and harmonic organ on a powerful and taut rhythmic session with the addition of percussion. Very close in style to the Heavy Prog songs of the early 70s, both in drafting and in execution, with a valuable tempo change that concludes the first part and leads us into a more Psychedelic segment. The guitar is the protagonist in the central part, well supported by layers of keyboards, which at ¾ of the song create another change that takes us to the final part, where it increases the intensity and depth of sound, and then ends with synth effects. Note the excellent bass lines, powerful and massive, the true backbone of the song. “Sunrise In The Canyon” as the title suggests, the atmosphere of the song gives us the impression of being in the middle of a canyon. With a drum that beats the times well, the layers of far-west style guitar, on the always solid bass lines, deep and incisive, guiding us in this journey of just over 4 minutes, pleasant and entirely instrumental. Heavy guitar riffs, a hypnotic and repeated bass on which imposing organ melodies are drawn and a warm and expressive vocal characterize “Astronaut Of Love.” Here too we are halfway between Psychedelia and Heavy Prog of the early 70s, a powerful song with a Jim Morrison-style vocal, while the sound is reminiscent of Uriah Heep, with more Psychedelic veins. Excellent organ inserts that characterize the instrumental part that will guide us to the end, one of the best songs on the album. The “Astral Traveler” album ends with a softer and more melodic beginning, with intertwined guitar and keyboards and a deep and penetrating bass. At 1:20 a sudden change with the drum that accelerates, guitar and organ become heavier and the intensity increases with the passing of the minutes, developing the theme between Psychedelic openings and more progressive passages. All the instruments have the space to express themselves and a sonorous union is born, rich in tempo changes and well-constructed sound weaves that pleasantly conclude this good album. A good debut for the German quintet, which offers a solid sound, showing clear ideas and a good technique both in the compositional and executive phase, mixing the influences of the groups of the past with a personal and modern touch. A listening definitely recommended for lovers of Psychedelic sounds made of intertwining between guitar and keyboards with forays into Prog music, another good band released by the Tonzonen Records team, a certainty for lovers of certain sounds.

Tracklist

  1. Solar Flares 7.30
  2. Trippin’ Blues 4.24
  3. Ear of the Universe 10.23
  4. Sunrise in the Canyon 4.13
  5. Atronaut of Love 7.05
  6. Astral Traveller 8.42

Lineup

Tack Tack / Organ, Synths, Keys 
Lukas Bönschen / Drums, Percussion, Vocals 
Tobmaster / Bass Guitar 
Jay / Guitar
Björnsen Bear / Vocals, Blues Harp 

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Author: Jacopo Vigezzi

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