very excellent Italian stoner rock from Herba Mate.......just a hunch, just MAYBE, I suspect these
guys just MIGHT have heard a Kyuss album or two in their day........whatever, being known as the "Italian Kyuss" is likely better than being called, say, the Italian Ratt or Posion or something. Moral: If you TOTALLY wear your infleunces on your sleeve proudly, be certain your influences don't suck.
So, from 2011, we have "The Jellyfish is Dead and the Hurricane is Coming", which I believe is their only effort to date. Herba Mate are bassist/vocalist Alessandro Trere', Guitarist Andrea Barlotti, and drummer Ermes Piancastelli. Again, highly influenced by Kyuss/Queens of the Stone Age, this is an album that is FULL of stoner jams, not a whole lot of vocals (the vocals that do appear are in English and Trere' has a fine stoner-growl)......quik recap (just listened to it), the intro is entitled "Machumba" and is for my money pretty much a throwaway, the Herba Mate sound kicks in on the second track, "Imargem", a blasting instrumental that is strong enough to basically be one of the album's centerpieces, rare praise for the sometimes misses-the-mark category of instrumental stoner rock.....a good one though, lots of distorted guitar, tempo changes, throbbing bass.....kinda like, well, Kyuss.
My personal favorite track on the disc is "Aragosta vs Panther", which is the first time we hear Trere's vocals.....this track is all over the place, turning into another fine freeform jam before returning to it's original groove.....good track. Up next we have the first of two untitled instrumental jams, this one is labeled as "XX" so that's what we'll call it, again, I often think that stoner instrumentals leave something to be desired, but this works, a solid workout by all three members in a breezy four and a half minutes. "Nicotine" and"Bugs" are also damn fine stoner instros, I know there have been a few instro-only stoner bands such as Karma to Burn which I generally approach with caution, but these dude COULD HAVE, I think, pulled off an all instro disc, actually high praise coming from me.
Up next we get another vocal track, "1 to 65", featuring perhaps the best of the albums limited vocals, followed by another untitled instrumental, (this one labeled on my copy as "(XXX)", another highlight for my money, the album's heaviest track, souding somewhat like a bizarre interbreeding of Kyuss and Tool........the last track, "Sputnik", is basically not that great, a bit too "experimental" and maybe not the greatest idea these guys ever had, they should really remember where their bread is buttered.......interested in any future releases they may issue, though, their instrumental chops are
A-1, myself I could stand a BIT more vocals (because they are really good), and this here was really one of the lesser-known gems of 2011.
Give this a try, PLEASE, especially YOU Mark Eveleigh (MIA?), stoner rock fans ought to freak over this one.......a very enjoyable experience, hope it equates to a pleasant discovery for a couple of ya at least!
THE JELLYFISH IS DEAD AND THE HURRICANE IS COMING-01 Machumba/02 Imargem/03 Aragosta vs Panther/04 XX/05 Nicotine/06 Bugs/07 1 to 65/08(XXX)/Sputnik
All I ask for is a comment, I have a hunch that MOST of ya aren't familiar with this one (unless you are maybe from Italy), so if you check it out PLEASE let me know what you think, the free exchange of opinions about the music I post IS the lifeblood of this blog. Also, please, as always, reqeust anything you may wish for, chances are I MIGHT have it......