Beyond Vision

Blues Funeral
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. One Light Second Away
02. Mind's Eye
03. 90 Seconds
04. Electro Magnetic
05. Destination Psych
06. Beyond Vision
07. Color Trails

If it's quality not quantity you want, ACID KING are a solid benchmark. Lori S.'s stoner doom crew have been a recognized name in stoner rock and doom circles since the early '90s, popping up every now and then to deliver a large dose of eyebrow-scorching psychedelic heaviness. Early records like debut "Zoroaster" (1995) and "Busse Woods" (1999) were as hazily potent as anything the scene threw up during its first rush of fertility, and everything the trio have released since has hit similar heights. Only their fifth full-length album, "Beyond Vision" arrives eight years after the widely praised "Middle of Nowhere, Center of Everywhere" and gives the band's current lineup a chance to add to their leader's illustrious (if sporadic) legacy.

You don't have to be stoned to enjoy this record, but don't knock it if you haven't tried it. After a syrupy, bubbling ambient intro, "One Light Second Away" is an instant reminder of ACID KING's uniquely woozy signature sound. Lori's tone is dark, deep and cavernous, the loose-limbed swing of that new rhythm section provides a crusty-eyed counterpoint, and the subterranean hum of ancient, malevolent forces binds it all together. When they spiral off on what sounds like brief moments of improvisation during "Mind's Eye"'s brutal doom, you can almost hear Lori's eyes roll into the back of her head.

Next, ACID KING stride further into the unknowable mists. "90 Seconds" begins as an amorphous, gathering storm of caustic bottom-end, before a sluggish, grief-stricken pulse emerges, dissolves and mutates into another detuned, SABBATHian subversion. "Electro Magnetic" is an immersive, quasi-FLOYDian sprawl, adorned with cinematic atmospherics and bursts of lobotomized doom. The title track is the most traditional thing here, with Lori's desert-dry vocals floating over lissom, unison riffing, while the closing "Color Trails" is a supercharged space rock odyssey that spirals and twists inventively around a single, two-note riff.

Five albums in 30 years may not seem like a lot, but when those albums are as good as "Beyond Vision", the notion that ACID KING have used their time wisely, not wastefully, is hard to argue with. More bands should take an eight-year hiatus. Just an idea.

Author: Dom Lawson
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