‘I.E.V.: Transmutated Spectral Remains’
Released: 7 November 2014
Do you remember that Winnie The Pooh story in which Tigger, the stupidly irrepressible tiger, and Eeyore, the ferociously depressed donkey, wander into the forest, pick a few weird-looking ‘shrooms and form a stoner metal band? No? Maybe A.A. Milne never quite got round to penning that particular tale, but it doesn’t matter – Spectral Haze have done it for him.
This new album from the Norwegian band – a follow-up to their 2012 debut EP – has all of Tigger’s energetic bounce and Eeyore’s pounding gravitas rolled into one gargantuan whole. As in the children’s classics, the symbiosis of light and dark characteristics works in perfect harmony.
Integral to their doom rock rituals, the Oslo outfit also channel the considerable powers of Rainbow, Monster Magnet, Status Quo, Black Sabbath, QOTSA and, most of all, Hawkwind, At times, Spectral Haze seem to be even more Hawkwindy than the cosmic masters themselves – a kind of ‘Eaglehurricane’ of galactic proportions.
On a largely engrossing album, Spectral Haze create strong, forceful tunes, and their admirable songwriting skills ensure that the energy levels never wane. Their meaty riffs are developed and polished until they become little gems which are delivered with passion. On a few occasions, the band rely too greatly on swooshing cosmic energy alone, rather than pushing their original concepts to the full, but generally the tide of celestial awesomeness is an overwhelming and enjoyable experience.
Each song is a step on a journey to another dimension and the album flows brilliantly, rarely rushing or dawdling. Spectral Haze seem to have an innate ability to know when to cool things down, and then when to launch into another big riff. The roaring guitars of Sönik Slöth are hot and fuzzy as if drawing energy from the sun, while Spacewülff’s spacey vocals are like the solar system’s planets: few and far between.
And the whole thing is drizzled with Winnie’s sweet stoner honey, thanks to more than a few tasty licks. Spectral Haze do things right: these psyched-out sorcerers write big, entertaining stoner metal songs that hold your attention, and they play them with a zest for doom that’ll sweep you off your feet.