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Spectral Haze Run A Current Through Proto-Metal On “Turning Electric”

spectral haze

Over the course of rock ‘n’ roll’s history, some of its aesthetics have inevitably turned into steady constants. One of them is “psychedelia,” an all-encompassing term that has been used to label everything from Hawkwind to Blut Aus Nord. Technically, it’s a descriptor for any drug that alters the user’s perception or cognition; in musical terms, it sometimes means long, trippy jams, tons of reverb, and/or outer space as a central theme.

Off the bat (hell, right from a glance at the album cover) Oslo’s Spectral Haze tells you exactly where they land on the psychedelic spectrum with their third release Turning Electric. Opener “The Dawn Of The Falcon” is wall-to-wall proto-metal riffs, warm lo-fi (but not low-quality) production, and old school space-synth explorations taking off in the background. The band is loose, but not sloppy; one gets the sense that the meandering but impressive guitar solo changes every time they play this song. If you know what to listen for, “Falcon” even has a short and sweet nod to Iggy & the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.”

Check out a full stream of Turning Electric below prior to its release this Friday.

Blending seamlessly into “Turning Electric” and “Cathexis/Mask Of Transformation,” singer/guitarist Sondre Maeland (“Spacewulff”) flexes some muscle with a notable range, from gruff biker rock vocals to droning chants, and a higher register that doesn’t sacrifice power for clarity. The back end of the album is where all those “whoa, man” psych-rock Amon Duul II/Gong-isms really come into play, eschewing the shorter, straightforward song structures and just going for jam session gold.

“They Live” features some great Mitch Mitchell/Jimi Hendrix interplay between the drums and feedback-drenched guitars, and closer “Master Sorcerer” is an epic mountain of dark wah riffs, creepy synth ambience and Uncle Acid-style dread. It ends abruptly, almost jarringly so; this should be a ten-minute tour de force, not a quick coda. It leaves the listener wanting. If that was the intention, well played, but now we need more. Much more.

Turning Electric will be released on November 24th via Totem Cat. Follow Spectral Haze on Facebook.

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