Live in the Mojave Desert Vol. 4 - Brant Bjork and Nick Oliveri Return in a new project
The below is a review of Vol. 4 of the Live at Mojave Desert Series – Stöner. Please see Mr. Void’s review of Vol. 1 – Earthless.
California Desert Wizards Association, normally responsible for Stoned and Dusted Festival, put together a very remote and viewer transformative streamed concert, and album series from the Mojave Desert. A feast for eyes and ears, that was a welcomed experience, as we’ve all felt a little deprived of our “live” vices during this pandemic.
While the series was filmed and recorded back in October 2020, CDWA released the stream on a staggered basis starting in January and left a highly anticipated new band for the last viewing stream in March. This project is Stöner – featuring Brant Bjork & Nick Oliveri.
It was almost ten years ago since the legal battle over band name rights between former Kyuss members had Oliveri leave Bjork and Garcia in the Kyuss Lives! line-up (that eventually became the short-lived Vista Chino) — ten long years since stoner metal fans have gotten to see and hear Bjork and Oliveri in a full-fledged project together.
Long-time brothers in music, Oliveri and Bjork enlisted Bjork’s solo band’s drummer, Ryan Güt, to form the trio that is Stöner. The result in my opinion; textbook, nostalgic stoner rock – the kind that only founding fathers to the Palm Desert scene could execute with that stamp of ease.
How’s The Sound?
This album clocks in at 43 minutes, which includes quick under three minute tracks to the album ending song that is over thirteen minutes. For most of the songs, the overall sound is very crunchy guitars by Bjork, melodic bass lines by Oliveri (who incidentally appears to be having the time of his life in the livestream), and a very tight and punchy, ala 70’s style, drum kit at the hands of Güt.
Bjork sings throughout with catchy hooks. Overall, the album is quite reminiscent of Mankind Woman, with the exception of the very different sounding percussion.
Even on a first listen, by the time the audience is at the third song, they could easily find themselves humming and singing the refrains, “Go ask the Older kiiiids” or “Own Yerr Blues”.
“Evel Never Dies” is a desert rock sound “break” with the track. This is a skater punk sound tribute to daredevil Evel Knievel.
Vol. 4 then returns to the more traditional desert sound. The final long track, “Tribe Fly Girl” aptly rounds things off with the lyrics, “Welcome to the age to get down…. we found our tribe. We found our sound.” It seemed to this listener, an appropriate nod to musicians reuniting and having a very crafted and impactful sound.
Why is this album worth listening to?
If you’re a fan of Desert / Stoner metal, missing this project featuring two of the original Kyuss members is borderline sacrilege.
The album is very solid and enjoyable. The live stream out of the desert was done exceptionally well – the environment and light show were very escapist and psychedelic.
Very high “rocking out” factor.
In what situation should you listen to this album?
This is a top-down in a convertible car delight, but anywhere else works too.
Anything particular to note?
This is the fourth album in a series of five acts/streams, otherwise including Earthless, Mountain Tamer, Nebula, and Spirit Mother.
Stöner already announced their debut album, ‘Stoners rule’, will be out, on June 25th, through Heavy Psych Sounds. And they released today the first single, ‘Nothin’:
Own Yer Blues
For Fans Of
Kyuss (of course), Brant Bjork, Truckfighters, Fatso Jetson
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