Ah, groovy! The first track Die of Thirst just started to blast out of my headphones, taking me on a journey. Where is my snazzy headband and embroidered, henna-colored sleeveless jacket before I continue? This harkens back, way back in time to the druggy, psychedelic times Hard Rock was born out of blues and stuff.
Gorilla Pulp really adopt this pre-metal style in Peyote Queen, sponsored by Retro Vox Records. A style in fashion back in the ’70’s up to early ’80’s and delivered with an enthusiasm that is frankly refreshing. When listening to them I am constantly reminded of Black Sabbath and their very first contribution to the music world. Other names come to mind too: Jimi Hendrix, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, Steppenwolf, some Led Zeppelin from way back. In other words: The band served itself somewhat shamelessly from a number of influences and backgrounds. ‘Tis amply stated in their bio write-up as well. And this is actually a good thing, if done artfully.
They do however deliver their tune without the henna – we are saved by the gong – and with a twist. ‘Cause Peyote Queen is loud, very loud, dirty and heavy. The band work hard towards their battle line – and I quote: “…as a live ‘n’ loud project..”. A little like what Bear Bone Company did for their own brand of this era. Only this one does not make me wanna go to the beach, but to re-visit Woodstock. By Loki! Same as with Vinyl Hero and their 2016 album Seven Days on a Train, they play the retro card very successfully. Kind of subdued, bare bone style of times long gone.
Gorilla Pulp saw the light of day in 2014 in Viterbo, Italy (North of Rome) with a gang of already seasoned underground musicians. And I daresay with a somewhat colorful start. Just check out their very first single, a #metal laden piece, talking about the corruption of priests – employing real live porn stars. A varied Heavy Metal track with some tremolo interludes in the middle of it. With typical Italian humor, the band lathers the whole video in soap and delivers it in their unbeatable Italian accent.
And this is what permeates Peyote Queen as well, which is – in turn – decked out in typical Stoner Rock fashion or – in the band’s lingo – Tufo Rock (a typical type of rock of the area around Rome).
The album name goes with the theme. Called after a cactus – peyote – containing mescaline. Much in use by locals of Mexico and Texas and beyond for the last 5 millennia or so – to enhance the spirit so they say. And happily used by our stoned, live ancestors in the ’70’s groovily populating meadows during long summer festivals, counting pink cows or worse.
The whole album gives you this distinct impression of a band playing on stage, stepping right out of this proverbial garage. Really scratchy, crunchy, down to guitars, drums and a lot of voice. I really like the oomph of Caveman, followed by Magic Mushroom acting as a precursor to the center piece, the album title Peyote Queen.
The band released a video for the title track. This again features the priestly dude getting into more trouble than in the previous video. I always have to chuckle, seeing the Italian countryside used as Texas. With a lot of underlying, very Italian, tongue-in-cheek innuendo:
True to their style, the album features a lot of pretty good riffing and soloing. Just give their tune some time in your headphones and it will reveal its gems. For instance Road to the Temple features stellar solo straight in the midst of psychedelic, fume laden chunks of rock. Now, what else in this record? Well, it grows a bit stale towards the end. But let me mention the very last track Electric Woman for its grooviness. Not the best track, but still good.
It is not easy to find fault with Peyote Queen. The album is – as said before – very loud, but mixing and mastering are pretty well done. Gorilla Pulp sail along their set course. Straight and true over this henna-colored ocean with no sail quivering in this steady and bong-influenced wind of theirs. The genre they use is of course nothing new, but the way they crunch along puts a smile on my face. Well done.
And now I hunger for some decent Tex-Mex. Where is this next Chipotle restaurant, dammit? Do they have that over here? Or do I really have to go to Texas?