Vulcanodon Phazer

Album Title: 
High On The Fly!
Release Date: 
Friday, July 21, 2023
Review Type: 

Patrick Mytron is a nice guy from Canada, who I adore as well for his cool outfits Glessite (sludgy Doom-Drone Metal), Avitas (harsh Pagan Black Metal) or Kabexnuv (raw Occult Black Metal). Lesser known are his activities in Acid / Doom / Space / Stoner act Alien Tab, which have nothing to do with Black Metal whatsoever. And I do not dare to say that Vulcanodon Phazer is the successor of Alien Tab (quite different line-up), but for sure it is a worthy comparison.

Together with vocalist / guitarist Lex Hill, Patrick (four- and six-string guitars, drums & percussions, keyboards and Theremin) did record and release a handful of psychedelic albums as from 2018 under the Vulcanodon Phazer moniker. In 2022, a diptych got finished, consisting of Sorcerers Of Avalon and High On The Fly!. The craziest thing was (is) that the first out of these two was an instrumental one, which means that it had been recorded (and released) without the vocals of Lex. The second part however is a mutual effort once again, this time by Patrick and Charlie Handsome (lead guitars and backing vocals).

The result got released via Patrick’s Bud Metal label, coming with totally unusual cover artwork. A source of inspiration for this album is motor sports (besides psychedelics and THC; creating cannabis-infused sonic alchemy), which the cover deals with. No obscure or mesmeric visual theme, no hint to demonic or ritual aspects; just the ‘fun’ of crossing through the fields with your motorbike…

There are eight ‘songs’ on this album, which clocks forty-two minutes. And remarkable is the tempo, which is much more intense and energetic than before. This stuff is built around a monumental string-section especially, with strange leads, frenzy theremin effects, reverberating voices and monolithic percussions, and even some (semi) acoustics. I’ll come back to all of them. That string-section is extremely low-tuned in performance, heavy-weighted and roughly-produced. It’s an abundant, even decadent mass of strings, four- and six-stringed, sounding sludgy and scrapy somehow. The better part is harmonious and melodic, and with the slow tempo one cannot ignore the mammoth-like pounding power. An excellent addition is the injection of well-written and finely executed solos and leads too, once in a while referring to the cheesy-bluesy origins of the Doom scene (and then I am thinking about the Sixties and Seventies in the first place). The use of theremin adds a nice hint of psychedelic delusion, of transcendental mania. It’s limited in presence (like the few acoustic intermezzos), okay, yet it puts an essential and significative mark on the whole sensation. The ‘clean’ voices come with an echoing effect, creating purest mental bafflement and intoxicating psychotropica. The rhythm section cannot be ignored either. At the one hand, there’s that whole fuzzy rhythm guitar / bass guitar thing, which is part of that aforementioned immense, even commanding, string-narrative. At the other hand, the whole percussion-section too is radically significant. The drums are of a mostly diverse implementation, with bluesy, brutal, supportive, combative and rumbling approaches.

High On The Fly! turns out to be an outstanding successor of Sorcerers Of Avalon, which one must not take too seriously. It’s fun with an ironic angle, yet not ridiculous or hilarious. The genuinely improvisational recording duties fortify the unprompted sophistication. The unconventional sound quality is rough, even archaic and ‘proto’, mainly caused as well by the enhancement of a ‘Sunn Sceptre’ amplifier, strengthening that down-earthed depth in tonality.

Open-minded listeners with a manifest twist in their brain will adore this material. When your head is clouded in a mist of THC-induced haze, it might fortify the experience for sure…