Brain Police

Beyond the Wasteland

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Up until the release of their fourth album, Beyond the Wasteland, in January of 2008 by Small Stone records, Icelandic stoner rockers Brain Police were quite the well-kept secret -- largely anonymous beyond the shores of their island nation, even while celebrating a full decade of activity. But perhaps this state of geographic isolation actually had something to do with preserving their pure, '90s-flavored stoner rock in all its pristine, untainted glory, at a time when, worldwide, bands involved with the once vital underground movement had largely moved on to other styles (or, more commonly, gone extinct). Not so, it seems, the Brain Police, whose songs effortlessly ride high-energy, monster grooves like Fu Manchu or Dozer ("Black Tulip"), flip on the turbo chargers à la Nebula or Unida ("Hot Chicks & Hell Queens") when needed, or simply blast off like Monster Magnet or Kyuss disciples Lowrider (see the space guitar swoops of "Thunderbird" and "Mystic Lover"). They also whip out some unexpected Fender Rhodes for "Snake" and "The Baron," then ease off the throttle for the gravity defying space walk "Leo," the more earth-bound, mighty-riffed "Human Volume," and striking opener "Rooster Booster," which shares both its deliberate gait and spacious atmosphere with the earliest Black Sabbath LPs. Needless to say, though, Brain Police aren't bringing much originality to the table here; just carrying off some tried-and true formulas to perfection, and providing a loop in the space-time continuum for those wishing to relive the '90s stoner rock scene before the rot set in. There's a lot worse one could do with their music-buying dollar.

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