LUNA SOL – BLOOD MOON

Rating: 3/5
Distributor: 
http://cargo-records.de/ (UK/Europe) / http://www.slushfundrecordings.com/ (USA)
Released: 2015
Buy Album (URL): https://www.jpc.de/jpcng/poprock/detail/-/art/luna-sol-blood-moon/hnum/7354571
Band Website: http://www.lunasol.us/

Luna SolBAND LINEUP:

Dave Angstrom: vocals, guitars
Shanda Kolberg: guitars, vocals
Shannon Fahnestock: bass, vocals
Pat Gill: drums

TRACKLISTING:

1. Bridges
2. Death Mountain
3. December
4. Leadville
5. Pretty Rotten
6. Operator
7. Standley Lake
8. Your War
9. In the Shadows

Review

If we said the words ‘stoner rock’, what would you think of? Black Sabbath? Orange Goblin? Kyuss? Now, how about if we said ‘high mountain stoner rock?’ Stumped? Well, set yourself down a spell and get acquainted with Luna Sol.

Veteran vocalist David Angstrom (Hermano, Superfuzz) relocated to the Rockies in Denver in 2012. Hugely inspired by his surroundings and the folklore he began hearing, he gathered together several local musicians and formed Luna Sol. The band began jamming and writing and soon came up with their debut album, Blood Moon. Angstrom was even able to call on a few famous faces: Nick Oliveri plays bass on ‘Death Mountain’ and Guns N Roses’ Dizzy Reed plays the Hammond H3 on ‘Your War’, whilst tattoo artist Christel Perkins designed the cover art. Impressive!

Some rather jazzy, folky guitar opens the album in ‘Bridges’; a sort of ‘swingy Sabbath’, if you will. Angstrom possesses a rich, impassioned yet honeyed voice with a pleasing rasp, which suits this simple and uncomplicated tune. Bassist Shannon Fahnestock uses her instrument to great, deeeeeep effect here (as in several other songs).

More Sabbath influence rears its head in track two, combined – rather surprisingly – with a grunge-y, Alice In Chains feel. ‘Death Mountain’ swaggers from your speakers like a drunk about to tip into unpredicability, all throaty guitars, sweet harmonies and cautionary lyrics telling tales of the dangers of mountain living. It’s a theme that reoccurs throughout the album, most notably on the foreboding ‘Standley Lake’ and simmering final track ‘In the Shadows’ (of which more later).

Both sides of the drugs coin are visited, with ‘Pretty Rotten’ detailing the cons (“cocaine eyes…when the crystal hits”), wreathed in a jaunty beat which juxtaposes beautifully with the lyrics and a buzzing guitar solo, and ‘Operator’ on the pro side, revelling in the pleasantness of the ol’ sweet leaf in a way that channels Sabbath at their most trippy and self-indulgent.

Interlude of sorts ‘Your War’ parps out a rich, crunchy groove and a real Sixties classic rock feel; it’s almost a shame it only lasts for two minutes. It segues directly into aforementioned album closer ‘In the Shadows’, which jettisons drums for much of the track, preferring to utilise a sort of deadly calm as an instrument. The result is a song that simply drips with menace and foreboding as it weaves a tale of a husband pushed to the limit and offing his wife (“I dug you a hole and nobody knows…you’re living in your shallow grave”). Alive with dark humour, it’s a textbook example of how to do down, dirty and ominous, as well as a rather astonishing climax to an otherwise reasonably perky album. As they say, it’s always the quiet ones you have to look out for…

Stoner rock is becoming an increasingly crowded genre, with more and more bands striving for that Sabbath-y, downtuned sound. High mountain stoner rock, whilst it may be yet another subgenre, certainly seems intriguing enough, and Luna Sol are most definitely at the forefront. We can totally imagine a field of intoxicated festival goers enjoying the hell out of this – surely the mark of a successful rock band, yes? ‘Rocky mountain high’, indeed.

Blood Moon will be released on September 11th on Slushfund Recordings (USA) and Cargo Records (UK/Europe). Luna Sol will be supporting Black Stone Cherry on their Denver date on September 4th.

Review by Melanie Brehaut
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