Let’s hop on a time machine. Back to the rocking ’70s, where the groove ran high and times were wild. A different brand of wild, compared to today, mind you. Where scratchy lyrics and lo-fi sounds were all the rage. Then throw in some Southern Rock for good measure. Oh, and break out those jeans, will ya. You know, the ones with them wide tubes and flowers stitched onto them. That groovy enough? Not quite yet, I agree. Because now we will need some substances. Any chemical of that era will do. And loads of cigarettes with bottles of bourbon – lots of bourbon. Now we are ready to burn down this fuzzy road into the sunset where the cacti dwell and the groove lives.
This is where the Swiss rock trio Hey Satan and their self-titled debut album comes in. They feature some sort of stoner-laden Heavy Rock, a brand of no-nonsense, down-to-earth rock’n’roll that will just warm your heart and soul. And the stoner bug really bit them hard. The band filled their disc with a very powerful brand of Stoner and Hard Rock, spurted out through two screaming guitars and honest drum work. No bass, though, ’cause bass is for wusses. Right?
Now their style somewhat blatantly mixes Led Zeppelin with some Clutch, plus a whiff of Rainbow and Deep Purple or two. Prop some of their Italian contemporaries like Gorilla Pulp or Smokey Fingers on top and you get the idea. All this calling of names in vain also tells you that their style for sure sports some serious déjà-vu. However by delivering the goods on hot lava rocks, this wave of sludgy, punk-infested, yet still kinda bluesy Stoner Rock really takes the cake. And this, ladies and gentlemen, makes all the difference.
I really like the downturned, heavy riffing with the occasional solo that suddenly blasts off into space like Karate Kid on a roll. The harsh, yet still clear voice infested vocals add nicely shaped ballast to steady all this heavenly fuzziness buzzing around the record. Unfortunately Hey Satan definitely joined the loudness war and deliver their tune like a friggin’ horse kick at every corner of this pathway, bricked up to a relatively high level. And this is a pity, as it takes the crunch a bit far at times.
Hey Satan rocks out the door with the controversial and sludgy Fallon City Messiah. And I love the video they made. Who would have thought in the American West they use French to set ground rules on buildings and the road signs don’t look like proper US brand neither. Hoots! But I really got a kick out of the two mormon geeks goofing off in the hotel room. But why don’t you check by yourself:
Legal Aspects of Love, Sunshine Blues and In Cold Blood are all of the same vein, meaning good solid Stoner Rock with a few screamy scratches. And I still wonder where the blues in Sunshine Blues hides.
So, you kinda sit there and wonder if they shot all their powder already, until 1991 kicks off. By Loki, this record is like an oyster. Hey Satan hid the pearl straight in the midst of the pink flesh. The divine heaviness with the rough riffing at the beginning jerks you awake at a time where you just wanted to doze off and enjoy the ride. Damn. But I really like the raw punch of this track. Plus the slight nod to Uriah Heep at around 2.24 following the somewhat woozy riff-goes-solo interruption a short while earlier. Sublime.
Now the following track Song for a Lost Mariner will not be lost on you neither. It’s Zep-ish antics again did a lot of good to this here cold metal heart. And you even get a pretty sturdy additional solo on this one too, albeit a shortish one. The only track out of whack with the rest is Black Flags Down. Genuine punky angriness emanates from this one, almost slipping into Hardcore to get the point across. Looks like someone really stepped on their mutual whang for this chunk of rock.
In the end, Hey Satan created a spicy dish of sludgy, red-hot Stoner Rock, dripping with fuzz and injecting a whiff of a cheeky punkiness. But it is their no-nonsense style and hard bitten, honest rock’n’roll that takes the trusty fans to groove nirvana in the end. The band may be relatively new (they formed in 2014), yet the experience on stage clearly is not. And this shows throughout the album. Well done, cool record.