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Sundrifter - Visitations

Label: Small Stone
Format: Download
Released: 2018
Reviewed By: Jack Mangan
Rating: 9/10

Sundrifter’s 2018 “Visitations” album is 100% unfiltered badass. Their neck pickup guitar sound has more tube to it than the London Underground. Singer/guitarist Craig Peura is Iommi/Osbourne, Page/Plant, Cornell/Thayil, Staley/Cantrell, and Josh Homme, all wrapped up in one. The Homme connection is the strongest; Sundrifter stand squarely on the shoulders of Kyuss and Queens of the Stone Age. The riffs, tone, leads, and vocal styles all definitely recollect the best of the “Blues For the Red Sun” and “Songs For the Deaf” albums, with - - of course - - some Black Sabbath touches. I’d also add Cream, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, The Sword, and a pinch of The Doors, wrapped up in a contemporary Doom revival package.


We’ll talk a minute about the amazing things Peura does with his guitar, but I don’t want to bury the lede; his vocals are really the shining feature of the record. He hits some inventive Major electric leads over the distorted, Bluesy Doomy power chord riffs, which really pop, thanks in large part to his tubey tone. But, getting to the point, his powerful, clean Metal voice drives each song through sensual, magnetic vocal melodies. No grit needed, just pipes of steel.
I will say that the album is a bit front-loaded. The first 3 songs, “Sons of Belial,” “Death March,” and “Lightworker” are pure Doom magic. The ensuing songs are still pretty good, but definitely a drop-off. The other two that catch my ear are “Hammerburn” and “Fire in the Sky” (killer drums), but I also have to give a nod to the dreamlike ethereality of the finishing track: “I Want to Leave.”
Don’t miss this one.

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