Psychedelic/prog-rock act Mondo Drag have had a pretty busy last year and a half. Between recording & releasing their self-titled sophomore CD, relocating from Iowa to Oakland, California, and then working on their third platter of retro sounds, The Occultation of Light, the band haven't had much time to catch their breath. The somewhat manic schedule however seems to have really inspired the band, as The Occultation of Light is a fantastic document of a group firing on all cylinders, fully immersed in the psych sounds of the late '60s San Francisco scene as well as the British prog & Canterbury movements of the early '70s. Hints of Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Eloy, King Crimson, Egg, Atomic Rooster, and Iron Butterfly permeate The Occultation of Light, as jagged guitars collide with swirling Hammond organ, dramatic Moog, and mysterious Fender Rhodes electric piano, the rhythms intoxicating, and the lead vocals haunting.
Kick off track "Dying Light" is straight out of Haight Ashbury with a touch of Deep Purple, while both "In Your Head (Part I & II)" and "Incendiary Procession" allow for heavy, menacing prog to meet exploratory space rock, like a wild midnight jam between Pink Floyd, Atomic Rooster, Hawkwind, and Yes. The magnificent keyboard lines, colors, and tones from vocalist John Gamino provide for the perfect foil to the twin guitar attack of Nolan Girard & Jake Sheley, as the three lay down some tasty stuff on the pulsating "Initiation", while the rumbling rhythms of bassist Andrew O'Neil & drymmer Ventura Garcia crackle under the heavy riffs of "Out of Sight", a must hear for any fan of Atomic Rooster, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, and Iron Butterfly, with its driving Hammond organ & guitar riffs. "Ride the Sky" goes for a looser, hard rock/psych vibe, again reminding of those great late '60s San Fran bands, complete with memorable hooks and wild organ flourishes to go along with tasty riffing. Alluring wah-wah guitars, Moog synth, and drifting atmosphere seep through the psych/prog gem "Rising Omen", and the ominous closer "The Eye" recalls not only the menacing Italian horror soundtracks of Goblin, but also some of the playful, jazzy material of many of the Canterbury bands of the early '70s.
The Occultation of Light shows a band that is gaining more and more confidence, as Mondo Drag seems to be making a statement and announcing to the world that they are ready to climb the modern prog ladder. This is dramatic, adventurous, at times heavy & catchy, and quite atmospheric material, dripping with '60s & '70s influences for that retro feel but still rooted in the present. Progressive rock & heavy psych fans will need to explore this one immediately.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1) Dying Light
2) In Your Head (Part I & II)
3) Incendiary Procession
5) Out Of Sight
6) Ride The Sky
7) Rising Omen
8) The Eye