They're new to me, but Finland's Pharaoh Overlord have been around for a good five years now.An offshoot ofavant metal droners Circle, they'vebeen saddled with the slightly unfortunate term 'stoner rock', but don't let that put you off. These boys don't need any chemical assistance to do some very nice things to your brain; just a few strings, pedals, sticksand, er, skins.
Acouple of minutes into the opening "Test Flight" and it's clear that they mean business. Riding on a crisply insistent motorik groove, masses of electric guitars weave plangent chords, punctuated by dirty feedback squeals. This approach sets the tone for the rest of the album; "Blackout" gives us an almost bluesy single chord shuffle, while "Laivaus 17" is a 13 minute groove of almost Can-like proportions. Tomi Leppanen's drums are so in the pocket they haven't seen daylight for months, while the guitars tracepatterns of bubbling, skyscraping ecstacies orlock into tiny chordal phrases.
Things get abstract on "Autobahn" (not a Kraftwerk cover, unfortunately) as Janne Westerlund and Aki Feltonen generate distended, filthy slug trails of feedback, hum and amp-melting noise beforegetting back intoa slower-mo groove for "Octagon" and the sublime "Journey", where guitars and rhythm section drift in and out of phase like a lo-fi edition of 80s King Crimson.
If you fancy a listeningexperience that's by turns cosmic, dystopic and deeply transporting, then give this bunch a try. You won't be disappointed, trust me.