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Desert Wizards: Ravens

Black Widow Records have been known for years as a label that consistently churns out Italian bands who excel at creating dark progressive rock & psychedelic hard rock/doom. Add Desert Wizards to that long list, and their latest release Ravens is their second for the label and third full-length overall. Hailing from Ravenna, the band is comprised of Mambo (Vocals/Bass/Guitar), Gito (Lead Guitar/Backing Vocals), Anna (Organ/Vocals), and Dallas (Drums). They play a heavy style of psychedelic rock that's not quite prog, not quite heavy enough to be called metal, but sits somewhere in between. Listing influences as Pentagram, Hawkwind, Blue Cheer, Black Sabbath, and Pink Floyd, you can hear bits and pieces of them throughout Ravens, but the band is not copying any of these legends one bit here, and actually has come up with a style that is all their own. Haunting effects drenched vocals from Mambo & Anna float over the top of beefy riffs, jangly harmony guitars, and ominous organ on tracks like "Freedom Ride", "Back to Blue", and the slow build of "Blackbird". On "Dick Allen's Blues" the band kick into some upbeat heavy '70s styled blues rock that's not unlike what current bands like Witchcraft, Graveyard, and Horisont are doing, while "Electric Sunshine" continues that trend but adds some psychedelic/space rock ambient elements underneath some scorching lead guitar work. "Burn Into the Sky" is a great guitar/organ ripper for all fans of classic Deep Purple/Uriah Heep/Atomic Rooster, and "Vampire Queens" has a lush gothic prog feel thanks to some alluring organ flourishes and dreamy male & female vocals. Anna's insistent organ riffs battle with heavy guitar on the ominous "Bad Dreams", one of the heavier numbers here that will take you back to 1970, when the whole proto-prog/proto-metal thing was just starting to happen. Closer "Childhood's End" is quite creepy, a psych drenched hard rocker that is like a meeting of vintage Pentagram with Atomic Rooster, featuring chilling organ and biting lead guitar.

Complete with gloomy lyrics and plenty of dark atmosphere, Ravens certainly isn't an upbeat outing, but Desert Wizards have done a great job of creating dark, moody, at times heavy & psychedelic music here. A few tracks meander just a tad, but overall I like the '70s vibe quite a bit and will be keeping a close eye on this band.

Track Listing
1. Freedom Ride 7:45
2. Babilonya 5:34
3. Back to Blue 5:51
4. Blackbird 6:25
5. Dick Allen's Blues 6:06
6. Electric Sunshine 5:12
7. Burn into the Sky 6:06
8. Vampires Queen 6:51
9. Bad Dreams 6:53
10. Childhood's End 5:36

Added: November 16th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2361
Language: english

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