27 Sept 2021

9/10 review of Smote's Drommon by Backseat Mafia

It reads:

Newcastle has been a veritable hub for a wide spectrum of psych and noise, from the raw trio of Blóm to the relentless clamour of Pigs x7; the same city’s Smote offers a different, but similarly singular, vision of psych.

Drommon comprises the previously released titular, two-parter, bookending new material ‘Hauberk’ and ‘Poleyn’; a more cohesive offering to the psych-folk Gods than the eclectic Bodkin.

The album centres around – and draws upon the greatest exponents of – repetition: revelling in Sweden’s greatest cyclical conjurers and the malevolent alchemy of Sunburned Hand of the Men equally. Smote also marks their own firebrand form of repetition with traces of NEU! and a sinuous, Swans (circa 2012) style unravelling – as on the epic opener – that swiftly entombs the listener in it’s ever-shfting psych chasm. Said opener, through the surreptitious woodland ephemera and the overwhelming churn of monotony-leaning instrumentation, builds a panoramic, Tolkien-esque musical environment sustained consistently – though subtly – throughout.

An abundance of Fripp-y flourishes on ‘Drommon Pt.1’ and ‘Hauberk’ bleed effortlessly into the krautrock, space-y organ skyline and hammering percussion of ‘Poleyn’, demonstrating the apparent ease with which Smote combine elements throughout the album, without stepping beyond the realms of palatability...

Read the rest of the review here: Backseat Mafia