Unfurling more psych-folk plumes for 2021, Rocket pairs their excellent Holy Family release from earlier in the year with an expanded issue of Smote’s Drommon. The Newcastle band had put out a digital release earlier in the year which featured the two movements of the title track — a sorcery-scorched twin attack of cinder and smoke that builds to a seething boil. The fogged forms of “pt. 1” encircle the speakers, working repetition into a hypnotic daze. It’s a trance that becomes a possession by the time the thunder of guitars ramps up for the collapse of its conclusion. The second part, also topping the fifteen-minute mark, creeps in with a more sinister itch. A pound of drums beats through, insistent and ominous. A jungle ambience of humidity, danger, and darkness surrounds the song. There’s a very real sense that something ancient and angry is just beyond the reach of mesmerizing swells of drums and guitar. Unlike the first part, it doesn’t explode, and a constant creep of tension sweats out of every measure. If danger lurks, its patient and omnipresent through to the anxious end.
To push the record into a full LP release, Smote add in two additional tracks. What for some bands would feel like padding out the potency of the title tracks, Smote use as an opportunity to build out their world of psychedelic seance. With a bit of curious flute on “Hauberk,” and a churn of guitars that picks up from the opener, the record takes on a touch of prog that deepens the colors of Smote’s cinder n’ smoke aesthetics. “Poleyn” continues the straddle between wooded psych and the citadel of prog, adding in organ ripples to their works, playing with ‘70s colors that dredge up the Swedish undergorund, moving from Bo Hansson to latter day disciples like Sagor and Swing in the process. It’s an excellent first offering for the band as a full-scope LP and lands nicely among the fare at Rocket Recordings, home to more than a few artists who work that alchemy in wondrous ways.
See the review here: Raven Sings the Blues