Earth Drive - Stellar Drone (2017)
We last heard from Earth Drive around this time of year back in 2015, with their EP Planet Mantra. If you were with us back then, you might remember how much I loved that record, along with their first album, Known by the Ancients (and if you weren't, you can read those reviews right here). Now they're back with a second full album, sounding even better than those excellent earlier efforts, blending their earthy psychedelia with hard metal power, and commanding head-banging reactions again and again.
They vary the balance between psych and metal up quite a bit across the six songs proper (plus a quick little intro track), but there's a strong sense of character and style connecting them all, as the bass thunders loud, the drums snake and smack through gnarly rhythms, the guitar wails and snarls, and the vocals coil deftly through it all. It's one of those albums that can make you think 'I should upgrade my speakers for this,' but fans of heavy psych should be able to enjoy this wherever and whatever their listening situation is, provided the volume can go high enough. Definitely a strong contender for year's best, at least in my book.
And hearing the album, it's hard to believe that the band has such a low-key presence online. The album's getting a CD release by RagingPlanet Records, but as of yet, no word on a vinyl release (even though, at 48 minutes run-time, with the title track opening up the second half, it's practically tailor-made for one). Hopefully some savvy specialty label will get their ears on this and get some LPs pressed, but don't sit on this album until that happens, grab yourself a CD or digital copy and fill your home, vehicle, or wherever with the power of this group. Get it, savor it, and spread the word.
For Fans Of; Gripe, Frozen Planet....1969, Mondo Drag, Nelly Olsen, Venus Sleeps